Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oak Meadow Civics

One of our successes this year, at least from my perspective, is Oak Meadow's 8th Grade Civics. Noach is doing this with 3 Boy Scout badges, Citizenship in the Community, Nation and World.

Last week, Week 5, was the Bill of Rights. He wrote an essay on the pros and cons of the First Amendment. Can you think of any topic more timely? We have had some wonderful discussions. The Supreme Court is considering a case involving the obnoxious Fred Phelps and his "church". The speech is hateful but legal. And I for one cannot condone limiting it. (Now I don't feel the same for Koch Industries but that's another post.)

Yesterday there was the case of the young activist stomped on the head/neck at a Rand Paul event. In the past it was common to have protesters at political events but the people who swear they love the Constitution have a problem with tolerating free speech.

This curriculum is rigorous, just ask Noach. He has one long and 2 short essays to write this week on freedom of religion. He is working on a 3 or 4 week paper, begun last week, on the Fred Phelps case. Also he has an ongoing project collecting news articles that illustrate the Bill of Rights. I had to resubscribe to the local newspaper for the year and I have to admit that I have enjoyed reading it daily. I just wish I could justify the expense of the NY Times. Many of the assignments are discussions rather than essays and he will be going to City Council meetings later in the year.

I highly recommend this. And it is especially relevant during an election cycle. PRM

Saturday, October 23, 2010

2010 Trip

On September 25th, JP, Noach and I flew from NC to Denver, loaded our stuff into a rental SUV and began a 20 day tour of Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. The sites were wondrous, Yellowstone, the Black Hills, the prairie. I always try to imagine what our early European settlers must have been thinking when they saw the Rockies, when they looked out over prairie that seemed to go on forever. Some highlights -

Wildlife. We saw many bison but they never failed to be awe-inspiring. A bald eagle. As a birdwatcher I enjoyed Western and Mountain Bluebirds, Pinyon Jays, Western Meadowlarks, a Trumpeter swan and so many more. Mountain goats, elk, pronghorn, deer, I could go on.

Museums. We especially enjoyed the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman and the Journey Museum in Rapid City, SD. The unexpected delight was the Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron, NE. We found ourselves spending the night in this little town on our way back to Denver. Before leaving the next morning, we checked out this little museum which had a huge collection of guns, textiles and as well as the tools of the early fur trader.

Geology. I had purchased the Roadside Geology of Wyoming before we left and we consulted it repeatedly as we drove through the state. Sometimes not only could you see for miles but also for eons.

Mountains. The Grand Tetons, the Rockies and the Black Hills. Truthfully I was relieved to get out of the mountains after several days. Noach and I are both prone to motion sickness, JP less so. Thus I had to do much of the mountain driving with Noach riding shotgun and poor JP in the back.

History. Little Bighorn Battlefield.Minuteman Missile Silo. This is a relatively new national park and not exactly well organized but as children of the Cold War it was engaging nevertheless.

Homeschooling. I had a list of chemicals in my purse that I was planning to order so they would be waiting on us when we got home. One morning in Billings we drove by this as we were looking for good cup of coffee. I saved on shipping.

That's just a taste of what we saw and enjoyed. We loved Bozeman but not the flies. Actually there were flies almost everywhere. The Aspens were turning. The weather was beautiful except for rain and mist when we were at Mt. Rushmore. Fortunately it lifted in time for photos. PRM

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Coloring in the states

We are home from a 3 week jaunt around the West. We can color in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. The weather was lovely. We saw some wonderful things. More later but here is our updated map. PRM

visited 29 states (58%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

Wednesday, October 6, 2010