Meow! I am an adorable, lovable, cute kitten named Myoky in ancient Egypt. People in Egypt love cats so much that they worship them. Some cats even get to wear hoop earrings like me. In this story, my owner Cleopatra falls in love with two emperors, Julius Caesar, and Mark Antony. Cleopatra was born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 69 B.C. She was queen more than 2,000 years ago. But before she was queen, a man named Ptolemy, a general, became king after Alexander the Great died.
Cleopatra is very smart, charming, and kind, and this is how she won back her kingdom from her brother and fell in love with an important Roman General. In 51 B.C. her father died, and that left the throne to Cleopatra and her younger brother. Her younger brother was Ptolemy the 13th, and he was not interested in being king so that left Cleopatra to the throne. But Ptolemy the 13th’s advisors did not want Cleopatra to be queen, so they kicked her and me out of Alexandria. Cleopatra went into Syria. Suddenly, a Roman general named Julius Caesar suspiciously entered into Alexandria. When Cleopatra found out that Caesar was in Alexandria, she returned to Alexandria. At Alexandria, Cleopatra decided to visit Julius Caesar. But how would she get to the castle to talk to Julius Caesar? Then I Myoky, gave her an idea because of course I am the smartest, cutest, and most sneaky cat in all of Egypt. That night a friend that Cleopatra trusted rolled her up into a rug and got into Alexandria as if the rug was a gift to Caesar. Cleopatra and Caesar had a whole night to talk. Caesar understood Cleopatra’s situation and he decided to help her. He wanted to end the fight and make Cleopatra and her brother co rulers again. Caesar and Cleopatra went into war with Ptolemy. After a dreadful, downer, and defective fight, Caesar and Cleopatra defeated Ptolemy’s army and drowned Ptolemy in the Nile River. Sadly, a Roman Senate stabbed Caesar at a meeting on March 15th,44 BC and Cleopatra was heartbroken.
Hooray! Another school year has begun and our family is again at it with what I consider the best way (short of divine services) to learn truth, beauty, and goodness. Today we started rehearsals for a December Performance of a show called Celestial City about the life of John Bunyan and his great spiritual classic Pilgrim’s Progress.Tickets are now available here for December 2022 shows.
Of the making of books there is no end and much study wearies the body.
Another calm before the fall storm. My brilliant wife suggests squeezing at least one last trip to the beach in before the crazy fall schedule prohibits us. We go with the three youngest children and our baboushka (“little grandma” in Russian) to Old Silver Beach on Cape Cod, one of the few west facing beaches just over 1.5 hours from Boston. It’s like our back-to-school beach, as it works well to drive here on a mid-afternoon and stay until sundown. A last minute surplus from our local food pantry leaves us well supplied with road food and a picnic supper.
I had my first full week of teaching this past week. After over six months of pandemic restrictions of various degrees, it was invigorating to see several classrooms full of eager faces, albeit masked and socially distant faces. Our family continues the same hybrid model of classroom and at-home education which now, strangely enough, has become almost the norm under COVID-19. As classical Christian educators, we continue with an ancient method of learning that has been baptized and re-contextualized in the light of divine revelation. It is the relationship between these two terms, classical and Christian, which I propose as my topic for this year’s back to school post.
For my yearly Back-to-School post, I would like to reflect on our family’s love for out loud reading. Good strength to all in your September return to learning. God bless your studies in this new school year!
It is not enough to love good books. It is not even enough to promote literacy among our youth. For what good is literacy if our exercise of reading is confined to the private, self-contained world of silent reading. Reading, especially to children, should be an event, an out-loud occasion for bonding around a shared narrative. Continue reading →
Do you ever daydream? I do. Many of my daydreams are possible now and some are possible later. Girl scouts is a dream possible now, and becoming a doctor can wait for later.
Girl scouts is one activity I enjoy doing now. In girl scouts, there are 6 levels: Daisy, Brownie, Junior, Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador. In all these levels, there are different badges. A scout can do different things for these badges by making goals. One of my goals is to make 400 refugee and school kits. Since my friend, my sister and I enjoy traveling, we want to travel around the world as a troop. Continue reading →
But in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.
― C.S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism
Of all the children’s picture books we have read or reviewed for our yearly Best of the Best, none stands out more dearly to me this time of the year than a tale about a family in the early 20th century in the American Wild West. They settled in one of the most desolate regions of the West, the open, wind-swept prairies of Wyoming, and the story opens with their yearly ritual at the onset of winter: saying goodbye to their community schoolhouse, buying gobs of paper and pencils at the town store, and raiding the local library for pounds of books to last them through the isolating months ahead of closed roads and home-bound activity. Continue reading →
“I mean, like, with culturally relevant teaching…[?]…” her high-pitched voice droned, lilting upwards at the end of the phrase as if everything said was more of a question than a statement. Was she really that unsure of what she was saying or was it a habit learned from an academy which no longer believed truth to be something definitive? I was sitting through yet another required teacher training seminar wondering if I was the only one in the room more interested in the message than in these interminable lectures on teaching methods. Yet this particular post-modern drill sergeant took the message/method dichotomy a step further than I had ever heard it taken. She delivered a conclusion to her talk that can only make sense to a brain thoroughly washed in ideology and completely abandoned by common sense: “It doesn’t matter what we teach our students…[?] as long as we teach them with the right method.” Continue reading →
Earlier this month, the older members of our family screened the Boston premiere of the first feature-length documentary on homeschooling, Class Dismissed. I had high hopes that it would be at least as engaging and inspiring as all the recent films covering the charter school movement like Waiting for Superman and The Lottery. I am happy to report that this new film exceeded my expectations in multiple categories. Continue reading →
For our annual back-to-school post, I would like to highlight a new homeschool program we have joined that has brought back great memories for me of learning things by heart when I was a young man. Congratulations to all students on the commencement of a new academic year, and kali dynami or good strength to all in your studies!
Finish this verse: “Watch that wobble, see that wiggle…”
“Cool and fruity, jello brand gellatin…”
If you could complete this little ditty or many others like it without even thinking about it, you have become an unconscious evangelist for a marketing campaign. And if we are so good at unconscious proselytizing for products, could we not consciously put to memory songs and words which ennoble our souls and not just fatten our bodies? Continue reading →