Sunday, May 29, 2005

Wish List

I would like to add this book to my wish list. I get all giddy and short of breath just thinking about reading it. It is A Natural History of Latin by Tore Janson. I know that I spent over $100 on books alone last month... But really, is reading such a horrible obsession? The next time Leif needs some drachenfutter, maybe, just maybe, he will remember reading this and bring me such a gift. =) I can hope, right? 256 pages (80 of which are vocabulary and expressions) - $27. CDB (Christian Book Distributers) has it for $22, hardcover.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Cur trepidi?

Why do we get nervous? Today we had our first elementary Latin vocabulary bee. The 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders have been faithfully learning their vocabulary all year and today was they day they got to demonstrate that to their parents. Now, all year we have been quizzing and testing and chanting vocabulary. We have had class bees and have even had official class bees with prizes. So why, today, did they get nervous? Parents were there - but these were the same parents who have worked with them all year to learn vocabulary. The event didn't count on their grades, so that wasn't it... And why, when we are nervous, do we forget what we know so well on any other day? The kids did great. They had fun; they had wonderful attitudes when they missed a word and had to sit down. The students who worked to learn their words well during the year are the ones who did the best and won. Parents were happy to see their kids reciting individually in front of a group. But isn't nervousness a weird human reaction? Even I was nervous. And I all had to do was say "correct" or "incorrect" after reading the word. But a vocabulary bee is more than that for these kids. And it was more than that for me. This was a display for the parents of what I taught the kids this year. It was a reflection on what I spent months of my time doing. For the kids, this was the first time they'd had to stand in front of a group of adults and recite. They were scared! But they did it. And they did well. They had fun. And next year it won't be so scary.

I'm excited for these kids who are learning as 8 year olds to stand and speak confidently in front of a group. Our goal is to prepare kids to do whatever God has planned for them. It's not to make them into politicians, or writers, or teachers, or engineers - it is to help parents turn out well grounded children who are capable and open for whatever God chooses to do with them. As I heard my students express their fears at doing poorly in front of the parents, I was reminded of Moses, who, when God told him to speak said, "I can't, God - send someone else." And I was proud of my students for stepping out on that limb, even though they weren't sure it would hold. They are one step closer to being ready and willing for God's call, whatever it may be.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Wikipedia Pages on Latin, English, and Language

Here are some Wikipedia links on Latin, English, Anglo-Saxon... Hopefully these will prove useful as I think through my introductory lessons for next year. I want the students to be able to see the profound influence historical events have on the formation of language.

Dual number (not directly related to Latin, but adaptable given the declensions of duo and ambo)
Old English (and how it was influenced by Latin, etc, to become modern English)
Yogh (Interesting article on why night, cough, through all have different 'gh' sounds)
Eth (again, why 'th' is pronounced as it is)
Wynn (runic beginnings of our 'W')
Germanic and Latinate Equivalents (Excellent list of words and roots)
Latin Proverbs (use as quotes)

Home Sweet Home?

Deo volente, this could be the new home of Petra Academy. What an incredible opportunity and a beautiful location!

Sword Fights and Bread Baking

This week our school had its first annual Renaissance Fair for the secondary students. There were chess, sketching, and costume competitions, authentic Renaissance games, a great feast, and ... a sword fighting tournament.

It was this sword fighting that the boys were most excited over and the girls most dismayed. Our egalitarian culture dictates that men and women are equal, which means that the opportunities presented to one ought to be presented to the other as well. It was not a popular notion when the girls were not allowed to participate in the sword fighting.

Prior to the Renaissance Fair, some of the girls asked nicely why they couldn't participate, some demanded scriptural proof that females sword fighting is sin, and some even went so far as to draw up a petition to convince the administrator that they should be allowed to sword fight with the boys. The administrator stood firm, though, and other events were planned to occupy the girls' time while the boys were learning to fight. The girls helped decorate the lunchroom and then set off to prepare food for the next day's feast.

When the sword fights got underway the next day, the girls were completely unprepared for what they saw. The boys, though friends, went after eachother like enemies, fighting one-to-one. There was no mercy; it was one of those events where the testosterone was allowed, and even encouraged, to flow in full force. They had wooden shields, and foam-covered dowel swords. Even with the padded swords, the boys were vicious. The girls watched in amazement - that is not how they would have fought. This became one of the beautiful moments of the day - the girls began to really see how God wired men and women differently.

When God designed humans, he created two genders: male and female. He created them equal, but gave them different roles to fulfill, and so wired them to think in a way conducive to filling those roles. Men are protectors, leaders, and fighters, both physically and spiritually. Our culture, in its declaration of "equality," has stripped men of their masculinity to push them toward a more gender-neutral role. Satan has twisted the equality of respect and importance found in Scripture into an equality of role, so prevalent in our culture today. Culture says, "There is no difference between men and women." and our children have bought into that lie.

On Friday, the girls of Petra Academy were given the opportunity to clearly see the difference between men and women. One girl commented, upon leaving the tournament, "I would bake bread any day over doing that." There is a difference between men and women, and our children ought to be taught that. Boys should be taught to grow into MEN, real men, leaders, heros, protectors of faith and family, not into the emasculated men of the sitcoms. And women must understand the role of men and the importance it holds so that they do not usurp that role from the men.

In Bozeman, MT a corner of the cultural blindfold has been lifted from the students, simply by allowing men to be men. It is my prayer that the blindfold will keep coming off, and that these students will influence the next generation as they model their roles in their families - that these men will be MEN, and the women will be WOMEN, confident and strong in the roles God has given them, glorifying Him with their lives.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Texts for Prose I

These are the texts from Bolchazy-Carducci that would be needed for Latin Prose I in 9th grade. The first is Cicero's In Catalinam I. I have a Latin text only copy of this already. There is also a parsed version that would be very helpful as a teacher resource. Caesar's Invasion of Britain is also required for that year. This is a graded reader, not straight from De Bello Gallico.

And THIS is just a book I would like to have. More reading, fewer sentences...that's what I say.