Since the monkeys and I started school nine weeks ago, I have done a poor job documenting our year in pictures. And by “poor” I mean I think I’ve pulled out my camera only 3 days this year. So when it comes to choosing pictures to share on the blog, it’s slim pickin’s. However, I did manage to find a handful of shots that I took of some recent history lessons.
Our first 20 or so history lessons this year have not been fun reads. You see, volume II of the Mystery of History begins with the ascension of Jesus and the 300 years of horrific Christian persecution that follows. Throw a catastrophic volcanic eruption into the mix and you have a very somber few weeks of history lessons.
The monkeys have had some difficult questions about why God would allow such horrible persecution to happen to His children. I certainly don’t have a definitive answer for them, but I do try to stress to them that God was, is, and always will be in control of world leaders and events, and that He can even utilize evil for His glory. We also have discussed that our purpose on this earth is not that we live a life of ease and comfort but that we offer up ourselves to be used for His glory and trust our lives to Him. And throughout our studies of the persecution of the early church we were encouraged to see that all the tortures and murders didn’t stifle the Gospel one bit. Quite the contrary! The Christian community grew from just a handful believers to nearly half of the population of the Roman empire! Now if that doesn’t bring God glory, I don’t know what does.
Every now and then I try to include some hands-on activities to supplement our history lectures. I really think it helps the monkeys retain the information we’ve covered when we have some sort of physical activity to tie our lessons to. For instance, the monkeys may not remember when I ask them who invented the first written language, but when I ask them what we were learning about when they wrote with sticks in clay tablets, the monkeys quickly tell me all about the Sumerians and cuneiform.
So during our lesson on the Dead Sea Scrolls, I let the monkeys make salt crystals much like the ones that litter the landscape around the Dead Sea.
Basically all we had to do was mix up some Epsom salt and water, pour it over black paper, and set it in the sun to dry. After a couple of days, the monkeys were thrilled to find jagged, glittering crystals covering the paper.
It just so happened (thank you, Jesus) that this Dead Sea history lesson coincided with our science lessons on density and buoyancy. It was the perfect opportunity for us to experiment with various objects sinking and floating in fresh vs. salt water.
As I alluded to earlier, the monkeys have also studied the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and the devastation of Pompeii. We were intrigued to learn how modern-day archaeologists were able to cast molds of humans and animals whose lifeless forms had been trapped for centuries, under piles of ash of rock.
To help her understand a little more about the excavation process, I had Lucy experiment with making molds using Play-Doh.
Any excuse to use Play-Doh is a winner with Lucy. Tacy observed big sister’s studies from nearby, while nibbling on a slice pizza.
That’s really the only school pictures I have taken this year. I guess I’ve just really been more focused on sticking to our schedule than on snapping pictures, which is good for our studies, but bad for the blog, I know.
It’s not always school, school, school around here. In between teaching and housework, I’ve been busy adding autumn touches to our home, both inside and out. I’ve spent a lot of my free time lately scouring Pinterest, filling my mind with fall décor inspiration. I hope to post a few pictures of my autumn decorating soon, so keep your eyes peeled.