Tuesday, April 29, 2014

We Have a Vision Therapy Graduate!

Last Friday my daughter graduated from a year of Vision Therapy! It has helped enormously! Her eyes track better and work more efficiently than before.  We've also been working on spatial reasoning skills which has improved her higher level thinking skills.  There is still a bit of work to do but she has homework to help her master the final skills. Then she will be checked at a follow up visit in a few months. I am a believer now in Vision Therapy! 

At first we did not see any results.  Then improvement came bit by bit as we could see during homework sessions that she could finally move her eyes up, down, over, across, in this corner and in that. Bit by bit we labored and struggled until finally 10 months into the program we could see significant results of more efficient eye tracking.  Last semester of college she tended to do her homework (which often took 1.5 hours because we did everything) at least 4 times a week. She usually skipped 1-2 days of homework because she was succombed by college work.This semester she didn't miss a single day. She was still busy with college work, but she didn't have any trouble fitting her vision therapy homework into her busy college schedule.  Also I could tell she was understanding higher level concepts much easier than before. Now if she wanted to talk about something difficult that she didn't understand, we might have 5-15 minute talks instead of 1 hour or more talks. =)

When the vision therapy doctor sent us a Christmas e-mail of great activities to do at home, he said the worst one to do was technology based.  Now, she has used some technology in their office, and has 2 computer programs to work on eye tracking, however those are exceptions. Most technology do more harm to the eyes than help. Two dimensional worlds in technology exacerbate problems for kids who are struggling anyway. Nor do they develop skills in average or above-average learners either. Great Books, the great outdoors, and hands-on projects yield tremendous positive results.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

World War II Rhetoric History Presentation

A week ago we had our WWII history presentation!  It's taken so long to post because I've taken extra time to turn our color photos into sepia tone! Actually this isn't all that hard, but I've been busy and exhausted and tonight I seem to finally have a bit of mental acuity to do this without falling asleep! Without any further ado...
Presenting my son who portrayed.a 2nd Lieutenant, recently graduated from West Point, on his way to the Pacific Theater. I portrayed Rose Valland of the French Resistance, while working in a Paris museum...while spying on the Nazis.  My daughter portrayed one of the Andrews sisters!
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Now to set the stage in color! We read these books for our WWII studies...

We used this for our music. We used the Glenn Miller CD for background most of the evening, then sang to various songs from both CDs.
I pulled out all the 4th of July decorations I could find.  In the basket I put sheet music for the swing tunes we'd be singing later.

We recreated the Hollywood Canteen, one of many such places where the military were treated to a grand send off before they left for their next assignment of military action.

I decorated the set with vintage posters that I bought while visiting various museums over the years. I bought this one at the Museum of the Marine Corps and we used it at our last USO show too!
This one I found last week on top of the bookcase in the original package. I have no idea where I bought it but I still think it's great! It's my favorite! It's technically 1920, but I forgot all about it so we just used it. Besides it will remind us of the Polish Cavalry who fought the Nazi tanks!


I got the newspapers at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum!


I served typical food found at USO shows and canteens during WWII. In fact, the British soldiers liked trying that American novelty, hotdogs, that President Roosevelt served to the king and queen when they recently visited America.

I created a Victory Garden centerpiece...

All the cold stuff went on ice...not that igloos are period accurate.


To begin, I welcomed everyone to the Hollywood Canteen. My son got the idea to use Newsreels, so I heavily incorporated that into our presentation.
To introduce the Canteen I showed:
Show-Business at War
Christmas Eve at the "Hollywood Canteen"
Hollywood Canteen with Dinah Shore and Lana Turner

After watching The Andrews Sisters at the Hollywood Canteen, my daughter gave her presentation, as one of the Andrews sisters!

Then we watched this modern clip on The Monuments Men, which led to my story as Rose Valland. She worked in a Paris museum when the Nazis stormed into Paris. Her boss told her to secretly watch the Nazis, who were stealing treasures from the museum. Eventually she was the only employee left at the museum. Being such a quiet person, the Nazis knew they had nothing to fear from her.  However she was secretly gathering information for the French Resistance!

Then we watched West Point Sends 409 New Officers into the US Army. This led into my son's story of his persona, that of a 2nd Lieutenant recently graduated from West Point, on his way to the Pacific Theater. He told us some of MacArthur's story, then we watched this clip from the Pacific Theater.

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Then we all sang to some Swing Music from Glenn Miller!

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Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree...Chattanooga Choo-Choo...

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Moonlight Serenade...

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Then we listened to Taps..beautifully and poignantly played on the harmonica...to remember the fallen troops...

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Now it is time to report back to duty...

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Fahrenheit 451-Technology...and Raindrops

My son and I have recently finished Fahrenheit 451 in our literature studies.  Today we discussed how Ray Bradbury's 1953 predictions for the future were in many ways, eerily spot-on.  Have you read the book? I'll never forget when I first read the book four years ago. I was emotionally moved by the accuracy in future gadgetry...and the foreseeable results.

Earbuds...quite similar to today. Um, is anyone listening or interacting with the real people around them anymore?

Four-walled interactive televisions. I'm reminded of Parade of Home Tours in Texas where there were flat screen tvs in the media room, family room, kitchen, patio, master bedroom, and master bathroom! Today viewers can phone-in votes to a television show that is instantly graphed on the show. Skype allows immediate face-to-face interaction during television shows. Wii games provide the ultimate interaction with a television environment, minus the reality. It's all perception. While not all of this is bad, how much is beneficial?

Media immersion has so consumed society in Fahrenheit 451, that people no longer think for themselves. Montag's wife is consumed with her "television family" day and night. Unable to sleep, she takes sleeping pills, then overdoses without realizing it, requiring the services of unmedically qualified personnel to remedy the situation. There are too many cases to keep pace with. It is common problem. Routine. Ho hum. Hire the masses to deal with the situation. She'll never remember the treatment and will continue through life comatosely involved with her television family, returning to her sleeping pills at night. Life goes on...or does it?
When my kids were little, I saw how brain numb they'd become after watching a few television shows or a movie. Quickly I started limiting all media input and had them do more hands-on creativity and outdoor activities, along with reading books to them, all of which would stimulate their brains.  Mongtag, the fireman, meets Clarisse who challenges him to think, ponder, imagine...even taste the rain. "And she ran off and left him standing there in the rain. Only after a long time did he move. And then, very slowly, as he walked, he tilted his head back in the rain, for just a few moments, and opened his mouth..." (p24)
The sole duty of firemen in this society is to burn down the houses that illegally harbor books that allow people to think and debate. Debate is bad, so censor the books. Interestingly, every book and author mentioned in this controlled society is on the Great Books list of Classical works: Plato's Republic, Gulliver's Travels, Schopenhauer, Einstein, Schweitzer, Aristophanes, Jefferson, Lincoln, Machiavelli, Paine, the Bible.

Concurrently we've been reading the true story of Brother Andrew in God's Smuggler, who in the 1950's and 1960's smuggled Bibles behind the Iron Curtain. These countries, of course, were run by dictatorships who did not want people to think for themselves. Thinking is dangerous to tyrannists.

In both the Communist countries of Cold War reality, and for Montag and others in Fahrenheit 451, the Bible was the turning point to freedom. 
"Montag's hands picked up the Bible...'Would you like to own this?' Faber said, 'I'd give my right arm.'" (p88)
"'What have you to offer?'
'Nothing. I thought I had part of the Book of Ecclesiastes and maybe a little of Revelation,  but I haven't even that now.'
'The book of Ecclesiastes would be fine. Where is it?'
'Here," Montag touched his head.
'Ah.' Granger smiled and nodded.
'What's wrong? Isn't that all right? said Montag.
'Better than all right; perfect!...If anything should happen to Harris, you are the Book of Ecclesiastes. See how important you've become in the last minute!'" (pp150-151)

Media devices have consumed our present day society, whereas academics is losing ground. Here is an NBC News report on "students who don't know much about US History." Sadly, I'm not surprised. One top notch college my son visited last summer required only one year of high school history.
How eerily does Fahrenheit 451 fit into our lives today? How consumed are we by technology and media?  Are we reading? Are we thinking? Are we reading Classics from the Great Books list that make us think...that cause us to yearn to think...and taste the raindrops?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

1942 Black Hat with White Roses

I have recently made, and worn, a WWII era hat to go with a dress I had recently sewn.  For ideas I looked at lots of WWII homefront images. I found lots of lovely hats in all types of styles.  Since I had sewn a white and black dress, I decided to go with the same color theme for a hat.  I looked everywhere I could think of for a black hat.  At a loss, I finally mentioned something on my Historical Sew Fortnightly group and Lauren from Wearing History gave me some wonderful ideas...including finding a hat for me on Etsy! Thank you!
When the hat arrived, I was quite surprised at how small it was. Here it is on top of the 1940's dress I had just finished sewing.

I was imagining a much larger hat, but Lauren had specifically mentioned smaller hats were also the style. I puzzled for quite sometime as to how to decorate the hat, since the possibilities are limitless. This hat has a brim on one side but not the other.  I even read through this 1944 booklet I found about how to make and decorate hats! Basically, anything goes! There was no one set style in the early 1940's, and that is certainly true of all the images I had found.  My favorite of all the smaller hats was one that I found on this blog.  Look at the sixth fashion plate down, the hat on the left: small black hat with red roses!  Fortunately the hat making booklet also said we can wear the hat any way we want, either on top of the head, on the back, or even jauntily to one side!  They encouraged that we play with the hat until we found something that suits us best, both in styling and in how we wear it!
I rummaged through my millinery baskets and found white paper roses and sheer black ribbon. 


Ta da!

Ta da!


Now for the HSF details:

HSF 2014

The Challenge: #7 Tops and Toes

Fabric: straw hat

Pattern: analysis of extant hats


Notions: paper flowers, ribbon

How historically accurate is it? not sure

Hours to complete: 5

First worn: history presentation

Total cost: $10

Monday, April 14, 2014

Admitted Student Day at PHC

We've been quite busy around here! Last week we took a trip to Patrick Henry College for Admitted Student Day!






Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Wedding of Pocahontas and John Rolfe

Today I attended the wedding of Pocahontas and John Rolfe, which actually happened on this same day 400 years ago, April 5, 1614.

Before the wedding party arrived we listened to early 17th century music...

The soldiers arrive...

One fine soldier with whom I've made aquaitance many times before! =)


The brothers of Pocahontas...


Ah, I recognize this most kind minister!

Pocahontas and John Rolfe...

I was most excited to hear, for the first time ever, a 17th century Anglican wedding ceremony! This was the one thing I highly anticipated.  Just as this minister (whom I also recognize!)  started the ceremony, he softened his voice to only mouth the words, so that, as scripted, various members of the wedding could speak out for all to hear their doubts and concerns as to this most unlikely match in marriage.  Alas, I understand this was for educating the audience, for in truth their were obviously concerns, and the actors did a brilliant job, however I was most saddened I did not get to hear the beautiful marriage ceremony, itself. =( 



It seemed that the only happy people, nay, joyous people at this grand event, was Pocahontas and John Rolfe! In fact, Mr. Rolfe voiced his exuberant joy over his bride at the end of the ceremony! Many blessings upon their marriage!

And I just found this great article on how the descendants of Powhattan were involved in the reenactment!

And I just saw this great story of the wedding with pictures, from the Washington Post come through my fb newsfeed: