Thursday, January 11, 2007

Why Study Gladiators?

This year in our homeschool we’re studying ancient history using A World of Adventure. This is a fantastic curriculum that includes most subjects – it only needs the addition of math, typing, and a foreign language. It took me three years of trying curriculums to find it. The only adaptation I’m finding I need to make is a way to make it a bit more accessible to my 2nd-grader. (It is geared toward 4th – 8th graders.) Enter lapbooking.

On our agenda (after Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece) is Ancient Rome. In preparation for this part of our studies, I discovered that Hands of a Child has a project pack on Gladiators, for grades 4 and up. Now, I have two sweet little girls, ages 9 ½ and 7. I was skeptical as to whether this particular project pack would be appropriate for us. On the other hand, I also have a 13 ½-year-old nephew who is homeschooled. “Perfect!” I thought! He is unofficially ADHD, bright, and very creative, but not too interested in anything but skate- or snow-boarding, video games, and hanging out with his friends. He did have a ton of fun in an air-gun battle with his visiting boy cousins over the holidays.

So, I asked my sister if she’d be interested in having her son try the project pack. “No, but thanks for thinking of him,” she replied after I briefly explained the concept of lapbooking. The minimal organizing of supplies needed to complete a project pack scared her. If we lived closer, I’d have had him come to our house to do the project. So, I proceeded to review the pack myself, keeping my nephew AND my sweet little girls in mind as I did.

I had already learned something new before I’d even finished the first information page! And the suggestions for adapting a project pack for younger or older students are wonderful. All three of the kids could definitely do this!

All of us have heroes. This study would be a great way to introduce a personal study of heroes – who they are, why we think they are heroes, and what we can do to be a hero to someone else.

The story of Spartacus and his leadership of the slaves’ revolt would make a fabulous introduction to a study of personal rights and freedom or could lead into a study of Martin Luther King (Hands of a Child has a project pack for this!) and civil rights.

Athletic training, protective gear, and competitive games in front of an audience – who knew that it all began with the Gladiators!

Add that to the creative options for individual expression and opportunities for short Charlotte Mason-style learning sessions, and I need no more convincing that my nephew as well as my sweet girls will definitely enjoy this project pack.

Now I just need to find a way to convince my sister!

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I’ve wanted to get into a new blogging habit, because keeping in touch with family and friends IS important to me. Too many life circumstances, and my emotions twirling at hurricane speed, have been conspiring against me. We’re working toward discovering what our “normal” life is now meant to be. I will endeavor to make more frequent communications a part as we press onward.

Some of you are aware that my mama has been battling a rare form of melanoma since the fall of 2000. Last Saturday evening (January 6, 2007), we celebrated her life and loves at my sister’s family’s home in Southern California. Mom passed peacefully through the veil from this life into the next just after one o’clock in the morning on New Year’s Eve. My sister’s family and mine were with her, and my brother’s would have been if flights and weather had cooperated.

Woody called her RoboMom. Her name is Joy. She was.

The legacy she left us is as amazing as her name. I am proud that she chose to share that name with me. Two of her granddaughters also share her Joy, as they are also her namesakes. As I fight to focus on the awesome, heavenly, cancer-free life that she is enjoying now rather than on how much I miss her, I remember the JOY that she brought and that she expects us to continue to share.

Mom was a doer and gave of herself through her service to others. We are not all able to give in the same way she did, but we can all give of ourselves for the benefit of others. She was truly an example of Christ-like love – giving and doing with no thought or expectation of anything in return. Her endless drive made me crazy sometimes (mostly because I couldn’t keep up with her!) but I will always love and miss my wonderful mom.

Life here on Earth cannot be the same without her, but it wasn’t meant to be. As our family continues on to learn our own life’s lessons, my hope and prayer is that I will be able to live up to the example she left. I know I can’t do it her way, so I will strive in my own way to follow Christ in serving others.

Thank you, Mama.