26 January 2008


So, I'm just thinking out loud here, so don't go getting crazy on me or anything, but here's what I'm pondering tonight:

Sunday School this week covers the rest of Nephi's Vision, including the discovery of the Americas. Go read this.

Now, in light of the information in this book, I have to wonder, was Christopher Columbus perhaps included in the "other Gentiles" rather than being the man the spirit "wrought upon?" I haven't looked too treribly closely at what our book says about Columbus, but the author seems pretty adamantly clear that the European explorers knew to one degree or another that someone had already been where they were trying to go.

Something to ponder.

24 January 2008

And Here We Go!

Alright. I'm really looking forward to this book. I recently went out and got it and have now read through the entire Introduction. I really like the tone so far. (it seems an accessible sort of history book) Hehe.

However, in just the Introduction, I have decided that I need a Book of Centuries. Otherwise I will never keep all these dates straight. Also, once I got started thinking about it, having this to reference would be very cool in general. I think I would actually be able to remember dates for a wide array of things. Consequently, today over lunch I am going to brave the cold and go out in quest of a notebook to create a Book of Centuries in.

20 January 2008

"Doing History"

I ran across this interesting article today about what it is to "do history." As our book is a history book, I thought it relevant enough to mention here.

To study history is to do history. And the only way we can do history is to examine the available records from the past and then write about them. So, doing history means writing history.

I like his reasons! He gives a number of reasons why writing should be an important part of the study of history: it helps you understand & remember it better, and gives you the chance to put your own opinion out there. Sounds a lot like joining the "great Conversation" that Susan Bauer talks about in her two "Educated Mind" books. It makes sense to me. I think when this book is all done I'm going to write a bit about it. I always did like doing papers anyway. This will give me the chance to control the length, content, the whole kit and caboodle. Sounds like fun to me! Anyone care to join me?

15 January 2008

The Forbidden City

The book starts out with a fabulous scene at the brand new Forbidden City. Well, I didn't know anything about the Forbidden City, except that it was the Imperial Palace in Old China, so I went and looked up a bit about it in Wikipedia. Fascinating. It's the world's largest palace complex, and has been declared a World Heritage Site. I'm off to look at some pictures of this place - it looked beautiful in the little pictures on the Wikipedia article!

Check this one out - a lovely curved river. This one has several pictures from Beijing, plus shots of the Great Wall. One of the thrones. Sounds like there are several. That's Some Seat!

Chinese Pronunciation

Last time I studied Chinese history I had an awful time because I couldn't hold people's or places names in my head. So this time I thought I'd try checking the pronunciations as I go along. Maybe if I know how to say it I'll find it easier to keep the various people and places separate from each other. I looked for Pinyin since the author says that's what he's using. Mostly.

Pinyin Pronunciation

Apparently Pinyin is for pronouncing Mandarin. I found some very interesting information about it here. It's really interesting to hear the difference between the various (5) tones that they've got. It sounds like singing on the webpage. I'll have to look around and see if they have any full words, because so far all I've seen is just syllables with pronunciation examples that you can listen to. But it's extremely melodic, even just broken up into syllables. Ah, here are some words with pronunciation both at speed and broken down slowly.

14 January 2008

It's Not OUR Book...

but it's a really good read, and it's online for free at Project Gutenberg. I've been reading Just David, and it's a great book! I haven't quite got to the end yet, although I think I'm getting close, but it's made me both laugh and cry & I just love the language the author has used!

Let's Go Ahead

I'm going to begin looking for the book. Doesn't look like anyone's got any objections, so I say lets DO it! I'm really excited to get looking at this book, the excerpt on Amazon is a nice read, the topic is interesting, I'm thinking this could be just the thing our blogging needs.

Race ya to the bookstore!

09 January 2008

Last Call for Objections

So, if nobody is going to object, I think we should read 1421: The year China discovered the world.

Book of Centuries

I mentioned to MissKate that I plan to use my Book of Centuries while we read 1421 (since there doesn't seem to be any objections), and she wanted to know what it is. So I was telling her about it, and it seems to me that maybe Emma & FifeMOM would like to build one too if we're going to read very many history books. I learned about Books of Centuries from some homeschooling stuff. Here's an explanation and a link to a place where you can print out some prefab pages. I did some things a little differently than the file they offer on this site: I started moving by 50 years at a time starting in 1500, since starting about then there's more recorded history and events start happening closer together. But it's basically the same thing. It's pretty fun to be able to see things like the traditional date of the founding of the Japanese empire (660BC) is on the same page as Lehi leaving Jerusalem (600BC) because they happened very close to the same time. Could make for some very interesting speculations. Anyway.

A Book of Centuries is like a timeline in a notebook. As its name suggests, each two-page spread in the book is devoted to one hundred years — a century — of history. Each student creates his or her own book, recording historical events and names of importance, along with pictures, poems, quotes, and anything else that makes the book individual. You can also add written narrations, illustrations from the Internet, or titles of books you’ve read that are set in that time period.


04 January 2008

Looking at New Books

Well, I propose that we quit with the Brain on Music already. Nobody is enjoying it, and we're not posting about it, and I think it's time to move on. I dug up an old post from when we were last deciding on what book to read - we'd discussed doing some sort of biography. There weren't any comments on that post, so I don't know if you guys thought any of those people were even slightly interesting or not. I also saw a book over at Barnes & Noble a while back that looked interesting: 1421: the year China discovered the world. Or, I picked up America's God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations not too long ago, and that's got a ton of interesting quotes in it. Maybe it'd spark some interesting conversation as we (ahem) gear up for the whole Presidential Circus Elections thing. I've heard good things about George Washington's World, although I haven't actually read it myself. Hmmmm. That's another history book. I think I'm detecting a theme here. Maybe someone else ought to suggest a book if ya'll want to do something besides history, LOL! I'm completely open to that other stuff too. Just can't think of any of it right this very minute, if you know what I mean!

Useful Article

From the Well Trained Mind.com:
Educating Ourselves: Classical Education for Adults

Begin the habit of keeping a learning journal in which you jot down ideas, facts, questions, material that you're learning. The great writers of the eighteenth and nineteenth century are marked by their diligence in writing down what they were learning from their reading. Don't organize these notebooks too elaborately, or you'll find that you're spending your study time tidying your filing and notation system, rather than studying. Just head each page with the subject that you're learning, and write down facts that strike you and your reaction to them. You'll find that these learning journals expand into series of notebooks that chronicle your intellectual journey. Make it a habit to dedicate a week of study time, once every six months or so, to reading back through your own notes on your learning. (emphasis added)

You know, I've been keeping a journal for a while now - it's getting close enough to full that I realized the other day that I was going to have to get another one one of these days. But I don't think that I've done a whole lot in the way of going back through the notebook and looking over the things that I read or the thoughts that I had while I was reading. I'm going to have to do that over the next little while!