Monday, March 6, 2017

Our Week in Review

In recent years the ratio of amount of school work done for classes at home versus the amount of work done for classes elsewhere has shifted.  Our high schoolers do about half or more of their work for classes they are taking at our co-op, so they are turning in work and reporting to other teachers.  I love keeping my hands in a few choice subjects at home, but also appreciate the accountability our children must learn by being responsible to teachers other than me.

Son C is taking biology at co-op, and he had an assignment to make a cell model of any kind of cell.  He chose to make an edible eukaryotic cell.  He used marshmallows for the cell membrane, and red twizzlers for the cyto-skeleton.  Into this he poured jello (for the cytoplasm), a truffle (for the nucleus), gob-stoppers (for the vesicles and vacuoles), and gummy worms (for the mitocondria).

Believe it or not, he ate this after class! (at least parts of it!)

We took a week off our curriculum-assigned reading for history, and just read tons of library books about the Revolutionary War.  It was wonderful!  We read this gem of a book about one of the three delegates to the Second Continental Congress from Delaware, Caesar Rodney.  Are you familiar with his story?  I had not ever heard it before.  The delegates believed that the decision to break away from Britain needed to be unanimous.  That meant for the Declaration of Independence to be signed and sent to Britain, each of the 13 Colonies needed to vote in the affirmative, or abstain from voting.   Delaware was a "swing" colony, meaning that one delegate intended to vote yes, and one intended to vote no.  The third delegate was Caesar Rodney.  He was called to his home in Dover, Delaware, 80 miles away from Philadelphia, the day before the vote was to be taken.  A courier was sent after him with an urgent message to return to Philadelphia for the vote.  He set out in a small buggy from his home, with rain threatening, and rode as fast as possible toward Philadelphia.

The rain began falling and before long the roads were so muddy they prevented Rodney's buggy from traveling any further.  He left the buggy behind and continued on horseback.  He rode through a terrible rain, thunder, and lightning storm, all day and ALL NIGHT LONG, reaching Philadelphia in the afternoon of the next day, July 2, 1776.  Still wearing his riding boots and spurs, he strode into the State House just in time for the vote!  Caesar Rodney voted for independence, putting his colony of Delaware in the "yay" column.  Twelve of the colonies voted for independence, with New York abstaining (New York later cast its support behind the resolution).  It was unanimous!

One more amazing substory in the incredible history of the making of our country!

We also read about David Bushnell and the first ever submarine that he invented (used in the war, but not responsible for the sinking of any Britian warships), Polish engineers Thaddeus Kosciuszko and Casimir Pulaski who made victories at Saratoga and West Point possible with their brilliant ideas for fortifications and defenses, such as a "great chain" strung across the Hudson River to prevent British ships from sailing up it, the determined Henry Knox who transported 59 cannons 300 miles from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston, finally routing the entrenched British soldiers from that beleaguered city, and the brave Nathan Hale, who was captured in New York as a Patriot spy, and famously said as he was about to be hung by the British, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."

These people were made of strong stuff!

It was a good week, and I am looking forward to next week's in depth look at the making of the Constitution.  So timely for my boys right now!

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