Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Remember the Ladies CW EFT

     The award winning Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trip recently featured "Remember the Ladies."  Made affordable by Homeschool Buyer's Co-op, the EFT focused on the roles of women across various levels of society in 1774.  Additionally, the EFT web activities taught how those roles changed through the course of time.

    Because the kids and I enjoy dressing up in historical costumes and "re-enacting" historical events (for family), we usually do a presentation in colonial costume of lessons learned in the EFT.   However, we are currently in the middle of a move.  To top it off, the kids were further dismayed to miss the live broadcast on Thursday, since paperwork caught us between closing on the sale of our house in Texas and the purchase of a house in Virginia.  On the bright side, this review will show that the Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trips are a worthy educational investment, that can be used with great flexibility according to time and interest for each student!

    Earlier in the week, we read the historical background in the lesson plans provided by the EFT. Then we looked at primary source pictures of the era and discussed their meanings, according to a lady's role in society and men's opinions (sometimes expressed through art work) when they felt women overstepped their traditional bounds.  We also read excerpts from gazettes (18th century newspapers) that "told a story" of either a woman's role or status in society.  We learned not only what was expected of a woman in a traditional role, but when they were permitted in the eyes of society to step out of traditional bounds.   

    Much to my kids' chagrin, they did not get an opportunity to e-mail a historical person. I could not figure out how to reset my internet e-mail from my now defunct Outlook Express account from Texas to my current on-line gmail account. When it was too late, it finally occured to me that all I had to do was cut and paste the e-mail address into my gmail. sigh  Also we forgot to do the on-line vote. We could have posted on the forum to have a CW historian answer a question. Actually this option is open the entire year.  Alas I keep forgetting about this. (Perhaps I can claim that my brain is on real estate overload.)

    As I previously mentioned, we missed the live broadcast on Thursday because of housing paperwork. For those who have a house...and a television...and a VCR...the live broadcasts are also shown on PBS stations and therefore can be taped.  My kids enjoy the live Q&A so much that they can never get enough of it. Neither can I.  =) Fortunately the broadcast and previously taped 2005 Q&A can be seen on-line any time throughout the year.  We got to view it the next day. My favorite question from the "Remember the Ladies" 2005 taped broadcast was, "Why do women do all the work and the men don't?" =) Additionally, one can always order a DVD from CW which includes the broadcast and the best of the Q&A. We have most of the DVDs from this year (we are merely waiting for a permament address to order the rest). The questions are called in, sent in via videotape, and e-mailed by the students. One of my son's questions made the cut on the "Make History Live" DVD and was answered by Gowan Pamphlet.  

     The on-line computer activities are also available anytime throughout the year.   One was a game show with Abigail Adams (who, in 1776, wrote to her husband to "remember the ladies.") where the kids placed milestone moments for women on a timeline. My kids did a terrific job!  They played as a team since we have access to the one laptop.  They scored nearly $600 (points)! Then Abigail Adams asked if the player was a boy or girl. Hmmm, my kids are one of each and played together. We thought there was one bonus question to come so my son said he'd answer it. We clicked on "boy."  Abigail Adams said that he got all the points, but if a girl had played, she'd only have "earned" a fraction of that amount, because that's how wages were tallied in the 18th century. My son did the math and figured that for the same game, his sister would only have earned $400.

     Another activity was to create a movie timeline of the changing roles of women throughout history. We watched each of the clips and we laughed the hardest at an old commercial from the fifties where a man and woman did ballroom dancing around appliances.  I told the kids when we get our own house and they get their computers back, they can each create their own movie timelines.  Ah, a house of our own. I am looking forward to that! In fact, when that moment comes, I may feel like ballroom dancing around my appliances. ;)Thankfully the Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trips are fun, educational and flexible enough to fit any schedule...even a house hunter's schedule! 


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Young Earth Timeline-Unwrapping the Pharoahs Book Review

Making timelines are a great way to correlate key events in history. When we studied Ancient History, we ran into a huge problem trying to coordinate timelines for ancient civilizations. After marking up our beautiful books, we discovered in a few weeks that something was wrong. Most historians for ancient cultures use an Old Earth/Evolutionary time frame that does not coordinate with Young Earth/Creation logic. I have written extensively about Young Earth v Old Earth here, along with providing resources. In short, there is no scientific evidence to support Old Earth timelines. Evolutionary scientists, when cornered, admit that there is no logic to it, but the only alternative to evolutionary theory is creation theory, which demands a belief in God, which evolutionists who are atheistic refuse to do. (Not all evolutionists are atheistic. Most people are evolutionist because that is what they were taught, they took it as authoritive and never questioned it. However scientists who are evolutionists have to know the reasoning behind it.) They'd rather mislead the public than admit the possibility of God. Of course, even creation theory is a theory, but it is the only theory that is supported by credible evidence, as documented by similar scenarios after the eruption of Mount St. Helens, where gorges, peat bogs and petrified forests were created in days and weeks, not millions of years. Furthermore, a problem is that there is no written documentation for beginning of time events, especially before the Great Flood. If there had been any documentation, it was wiped out by the worldwide flood. The oldest documentations found in ancient civilizations are those of Mesopotamia and the literary piece, Gilgamesh. (That is why most history books start with the Mesopotamian culture. This is near the area where the ark apparently landed, and Noah's family began a new civilization, which resulted in dispersal after the Tower of Babel incident.) Nevertheless, a dating system wasn't established until later. By the time of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, documentation and a regular dating system are established. What to do about the previous dates? I made all of this information a history lesson on dating to my kids, the week we studied Creation and the Flood in our Ancient History studies. When in doubt, I told my kids to make their best educated guess which they could support with the most authoritive souce they possibly could , like any historian would need to do, given his resources. My kids had fun with that. One book we used in Rhetoric that helped us tremendously in dating Ancient Egypt, was Unwrapping the Pharoahs: How Egyptian Archaeology Confirms the Biblical Timeline. He admits his theory is theory, but he backs up his theory from his archaeological research. (Evolutionists rely on carbon dating to "prove" their theory, but carbon dating is reknown for errors. Apologia General Science, as originally written by Dr. Jay Wile, does a great job teaching this from a scientific standpoint. Another resource I recently found that coordinated ancient cultures to the timeframe of Biblical events was http://bibletimeline.info/

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Geography Based Bible Tool

When studying the Bible as history, there are a multitude of map projects with few answers. The difficult lies in ancient locations in the Bible as compared to modern locations in most accessible resources. I recently found this link which could be quite valuable in finding obscure places. The neat thing is that it is linked to Bible verses. At the site, find any verse with a geographical reference, click on it's link and it will take you to the location on an ancient map. It looks like it works like google map, where you can zoom in and out and pan around as much as desired. There are also longitude and latitude settings. This could also be helpful when doing salt dough maps, because the user can choose between typical physical features of a map (brown for desert, green for fertile areas). A satellite option is also available. I thought this would be great for Bible students of all ages. http://www.biblemap.org/

Monday, March 23, 2009

What's in a Name? Lafayette, George Mason, and Gunston Hall

My eighth grade English teacher instilled a love of the *right* name in me.  I suppose I never realized how much she influenced me in this way until we started house hunting in Virginia. 

Coming from San Antonio, I have been spoiled by logical, creative, thematic names.  I imagined the street names in Virginia would be incredibly exciting, considering all the history of the area. 

However I have been surprised. by some of the hopeful and less hopeful prospects.  The real estate agents have been laughing at my perspective of street names which has become a running joke.

After all, who wants to live on Tongue Ave? (Yes, there is really a street with that name.)  Hmmm....

We drove by Lauriann Woods subdivision with the main street named Lauriann.  Wow!  Wouldn't that be cool, to live on a street that bears my first and middle name?

I found a house on a street with my son's name...too bad, that was a short sale.

I found a street named Tapestry. Hey, I do a lot of sewing with various fibers! That would be perfect for a future sewing business!  

On a map I found Lafayette Crossing! What is that?  A subdivision? A town?  The site of Lafayette crossing a creek?

Then we drove by Saratoga Heights where the main road was named General George Washington. Now that looked exciting! Suspiciously I asked if there was a Benedict Arnold Ave lurking somewhere. No, the agent informed me that none of the other streets had actually had anything to do with General Washington or Saratoga. That was disappointing, that the streets did not keep with the theme. Well, we had come to look at 2 houses listings on General George Washington Drive. However the agent couldn't bring up a current listing of the first...it sort of disappeared. The second was a short sale. Sounds traitorous to me.

We finally found a house on Gunston Hall Drive.  How unromantic. After all, what is a Gunston Hall?  Is it a place where guns are stored? Nevertheless, the floor plan of the house we looked at was incredible and had a terrific price, so we put an offer on it. That night as we drove up I-95, I saw a brown sign (as in historical landmark): "Gunston Hall, next exit". My daughter suggested that Lafayette slept there, since he visited everyone in America.

That night I googled Gunston Hall and discovered George Mason lived there! He lived on the peninsula south of Mount Vernon and was a fellow burgess with George Washington. He wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which is featured in Revolutionary City at Colonial Williamsburg. The burgesses in Virginia met in Williamsburg and agreed to independence from England and then sent delegates off to the Constitutional Congress to agree on independence while the Declaration of Independence was being written by Thomas Jefferson. And guess who were guests at Gunston Hall?  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Lafayette (of course)!

While we were putting the offer on the house, we got to meet our friendly finance officer, Rick. He asked for my cell phone number and when he heard it he exclaimed, "You're from San Antonio!"  He then told me about his dad who lived near Max Lucado's church.  When I replied that was Oak Hills Church, Rick got more excited. He said his dad lived across from there in the Dominion.  Oh that's where a lot of the San Antonio Spurs live! He told me David Robinson lived there. Oh I knew that! Everyone knows that! He asked if I knew the name of the street he lived on.  No. Admiral Way!  (His nickname was "The Admiral" because he attended the Naval Academy.)  I laughed and told Rick that street names are really important in San Antonio and he agreed. The agent was laughing because of all my previous comments about street names.  Then Rick told me to guess David's house number. Okay it had to be the number on his jersey. I said the number and the agent was laughing and laughing while Rick told me I was correct.   

Alas, someone else got the Gunston Hall house. I am really sad about that. That would have been too cool to tell people I live on Gunston Hall Dr. While I was looking up the floor plan, I discovered the builder is located on Lafayette Circle. sigh