Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Latin and Language Fun - free and fun

I stumbled on this site today (thank you, FaceBook ad). It's a free site that has so many resources and it's by Classical Academic Press so it's the perfect resource for Comm Central students. Best of all, it's free! I find it's always nice to have some activities in my "bag of tricks" for mama sick days that do not require my complete mental presence. Plus, Baker loves to do almost anything on the computer so I can hold this out as a bribe reward. Enjoy; I know we will!
Headventure Land by Classical Academic Press

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Jefferson Davis Monument {& other sites in Kentucky}

Julie writes: I decided to post this oral report with hopes that in the event that someone travels to or near Kentucky for the holidays they would seek out one of these places.  The first 25 years of my life were in Kentucky and I didn't know there was Jefferson Davis Monument there until recently.  It's HUGE.  And I'm happy to post reports from other students.  :)

My name is John Isaac and my report is on the Jefferson Davis Monument.

I drove to the Jefferson Davis Monument last week with my dad while I was in Kentucky.  Jefferson Davis was the President of the Confederacy during the American Civil War.  His monument is located in the small town of Fairview, Kentucky - really, in the middle of nowhere.

I recognized a line from Hamlet's soliloquy that we memorized last year,  in the last few words in this quote.
"...a consummation devoutly to be wished."  Jefferson was a Shakespeare fan!

The Jefferson Monument is similiar to the Washington Monument except it is 200 feet shorter and made of concrete instead of marble and granite.  They have the same white shape of an oblisk.  Inside of both are elevators and for emergencies there are steps.  There was a giant party in 1924 when the last piece, which was a pyramid, was lifted onto the top of the Jefferson Davis Monument.  An interesting fact about Davis: when the US Union was hunting him after the Civil War he gave all his treasury to his wife and only took a $50 bill with him.  And we inspected the $50 bill when we toured the museum.  I also purchased a coin at the museum.

{Julie interjects - if you'd like an interesting book that compares the lives of Jeff Davis and Lincoln, then read Bloody Crimes: the chase for Jefferson Davis and the death pageant for Lincoln's corpse.  The two men's lives had many odd similarities - starting with Kentucky births!  This book is written by the same author of Manhunt, about the chase for JW Booth.}

Two other places I scrutinized in Kentucky were Daniel Boone’s gravesite and the capitol building in the capital, which is Frankfort.  Daniel Boone’s grave reminded me of the Jefferson memorial except that it was only about seven feet tall.  The capitol building was a huge building like the capitol building in Little Rock except some of the marble in one of the rooms was fake.  We also glanced at but did not enter the governor’s mansion.
Daniel Boone's Gravesite

Capitol building in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rice Bin {for toddlers & preschoolers}

At the beginning of the school year I was stressing out about how I would teach a 3rd grader while keeping a toddler from tearing down the house.  Deciding to make a rice bin for my 2.5 year old I bought the bin and lid then ran out of steam (or was it courage?).  The bin sat in the garage for a few months.
This week I found rice and split peas on clearance and bought about $4 worth.  Amazing investment.
The first day we only used rice.  Both Brother and Sister have enjoyed playing.  Of course you could use a smaller bin, but I wanted one large enough so that she could get inside if she wanted.  And she did.
She asks everyday (and all day) if she can play "rice and beans."  We reserve it for school time only.  Except last night, we had some 4 year old friends over and they played in it, too.
She's pretty good about keeping it all in the box but after the first day, I decided to lay a table cloth underneath.  It helps to contain most of the mess.  The remaining mess is so worth the freedom from whining, distraction, and other messes while I work with big brother.
If you're afraid of the mess, take it outside!  Leave it on your deck or in the yard.

Anastasia: the Riddle of Anna Anderson

Gina Junkans writes:

I’ve recently finished reading a book: Anastasia: the Riddle of Anna Anderson by Peter Kurth.  The author makes a strong case that Anastasia did indeed survive.  It’s non-fiction and was an interesting read. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Nicholas and Alexandra {Romanov Family: Living Book}

Before our first son was born, because of infertility we pursued a Russian adoption (then abandoned it weeks before our first flight because I found out I was pregnant!).  It was during that time I became interested in Russian culture.  {Actually in high school a 75-year old-missionary taught a 6 week class on the Russian language but sadly, it didn't interest me.}

While my husband and I chased the paper trail to bring home a Russian orphan a friend recommended that I read Robert Massie's Nicholas & Alexandra.  Interestingly enough, the author was compelled to research the royal family after his son was also diagnosed with hemophilia. {I'm probably partial to Massie because he was born in Kentucky.}

Nicholas and Alexandra shines light on the Russian noble culture while exposing some of the randomness of Rasputin and delves into the mystery of the murdered family.  Did you know it is rumored that one of the Romanov daughters survived the assassination plot?

After dedicating much of his life to the 300 year rule of the Romanov family, Massie won a Pulizter Prize in 1981 for his biography of Peter the Great.  In 2011 finished another book on the life of another significant Russian figure, Catherine the Great.

You can borrow this book from CALS and also the original 1967 edition.  Not interested in reading this work of non-fiction?  Check out the Academy Award-winning film of the same title (I've not seen the film).