Posted in 7th Grade, History 7

H7 L32 – Colonial America

          In the early times of the colonies the it was very different for what we see today in say, DC.  They did not have many of the things we do, such as power and plumbing.  Their games were different form ours, and even what they ate and what technologies they had.  The difference is enormous, and it just keeps growing. 

          The colonial cities were originally made as seats of power for the government or as trading ports for foreign ships like England mostly and France, who gave a good price for products.  That was how they got most of their currency, not printing currency like nowadays.  They used to play different games too, like nine pins, which is a lot like tiny tabletop bowling, and there was hoop and stick, which is rolling a hoop with a stick and not touching the hoop with your body.  Some other games that we still play today are cup and ball, jacks, and checkers.  One of the more common games we play is based off one of their basic games: baseball! 

The kids played these and many other games on their free time, but in between, the whole family ha plenty of chores to do.  Some of these included washing and shaking out the mattresses, washing dishes by hand, carrying water for the washing chores, laundry by hand, and taking care of the farm animals.  That’s much more than we currently have to do – we can simply throw the clothes in a machine that injects soap and water to spin it around and wash them.  Other chores are eliminated by other technologies around the house today.

               The normal house had just one room – the keeping room.  There was no bedrooms, or kitchen, or dining rooms, or even a family room – that was all incorporated into the keeping room.  Very few houses other than shops had attics, and any that did the attics likely went to storage purposes.  The houses were different from today’s houses too, being that the colonial houses were boxes that were perfectly symmetrical, and then had a small add on later which looked like a windowless sunroom on the back of the house.  This often became storage, leaving more room for people in the house.  The government house was fancier, of course, looking more like a U-shaped box than a rectangular, small box. Most had more than one chimney, and ones that had more than two had the others smack dab in the middle of the house. 

          The government itself was a lot more righteous than the current government, and ruled honestly, not constantly scheming the downfall of the president just to become the president for the power, influence, and money involved with that position.  The politicians at that time worked for the good of the people not their own good.  This allowed the people and all their occupations to thrive instead of being restricted by rules, rules, and more rules made by government. 

          The many occupations at the time each had its own importance, ranging from the tanner, to the blacksmith, to the clockmaker.  Some of the occupation incorporated a job that is normally a separate job today; the blacksmith was the town dentist and the barber was the town bloodletter, as shown by the legendary barber’s pole: red stands for blood and the white stood for bandages. Some other occupations were the cobbler, who made shoes, the cooper who made barrels, the farmer, the hatter, the miller (ground farmer’s grain), tailor, and wigmaker, who was always a popular man (wigs were common at the time.) The workers’ houses were normally above the shop, on the second floor so they could open quickly instead of traveling a few yards to work.

           The colonies were very different from the Americas, what with everything being handmade, not manufactured, they had real, physical games instead of a bunch of little squares changing color to make a digital picture.  The food was real, and was stuff like corn, squash, vegetables and beans were the fruits/ veggies, and the men went hunting for meat.  The drinks were raw milk, beer, cider, and water.  We should not take for granted what the men and women worked for years on years to gain us what we have today.

Posted in 7th Grade, History 7

H7 W31 – George Whitefield

          A long time ago, in the 1600s, the colonists of North America were becoming very lax in their beliefs.  As they became more and more robotic with their spiritual duties, many just weren’t following their beliefs anymore.  as the colonies lost faith, four great preachers were influential in helping along the movement called the Great Awakening, which brought the colonies back to Christ.  One of those preachers was named George Whitefield. 

          George, whose name was pronounced with a silent ‘e’, was supposedly the greatest of the four.  He was able to speak to thousands and they could all hear him perfectly clearly.  It all started while he was at Oxford as a server, and he joined a group called the Holy Club.  They went through the motions of being a Christian, but he never really felt a relationship until that one time he threw himself down a cried out to God one day.  That was supposedly when he gained his speaking ability.  He decided to go preach in America.  When he arrived, he was deeply disappointed at the state of the church in America.  He saw the need for, and started, an orphanage and then gained funding through his preaching for that orphanage.  Benjamin Franklin went to one of Whitefield’s speeches and the two became good friends.   Whitefield had haters, but he just ignored them and preached about God.  After a time, he told them of George’s idea that he could place a bishop over America. 

          George Whitefield was one of the most influential men during the time of the Great awakening, along with Cotton Mather, Theodore Frelinghuysen, and Jonathan Edwards, and his preaching brought many back to the Christian faith. 

Posted in 7th Grade, History 7

H7 W30 – The Thirteen Colonies

          Over the last week I have been studying about the foundation of the thirteen original American colonies.  The first one was started in 1607 and the last in 1733.  The first was Virginia, the last Georgia, and in between the east coast British colonies known today as America. 

Virginia was the first colony established, starting in 1607 as the town called Jamestown.  The James towners were mostly initially treasure seekers just wanting to catch some wealth in the Americas and then quickly sail back to America with thousands in gold.  The problem was, these treasure hunters did not want to work so in the first few years many died of hunger, cold, and disease.  After a time, a new governor came to town and he said, “If a man does not work, neither shall he eat.”  The colony then flourished and was the capital of Virginia for almost 92 years, until it was changed to Williamsburg, another VA city.

          Massachusetts was another starter colony.  Founded in 1630, this colony was a refuge for the Puritans and Quakers being persecuted in England.  The native Massachusett tribe was the inspiration of the name of the colony, but then the Englishmen had some problems with them.  Massachusetts was the first to start a mint.

          New Hampshire was initially part of Massachusetts but the got cut out of the Bay colony.  New Hampshire found itself at the front lines of many wars, and they supported themselves on the timber trade, despite the English taking all the best for royal Navy masts. 

          The beginnings of Maryland were surprising, being that Lord Baltimore started it as a Catholic safe haven during the times of Catholic Persecution under Cromwell.  The nearby Protestants eventually overthrew the Catholics, but otherwise the colony flourished with the tobacco trade.

          America’s beginning was small, but the colonies grew quickly and the trade was making piles of money.  The first traces of revolutionary spirit started there, and the colonies eventually spread to become more colonies and states, covering the continent to become the country we know today.

Posted in 7th Grade, English 7

E7 L160 – Takeoff

Packing for flight is a burden,

Finding the parking’s no fun,

Waiting, waiting, waiting ‘til time,

To finally get on the plane!

Waiting on the plane is annoying,

Until the plane starts moving along. 

The undocking was slow,

But the plane sped up

As it raced down a runway

Towards my Gram and Pop.

The plane slowly angled

Its nose into the sky,

And as the plane released

The long-embraced ground,

The air turned into gelatin.

Over the thundering sound,

I’d always imagined being

On top of the sky

As the flocks of sheep-clouds

Flew quickly on by.

As the hours passed,

Three books I finished,

And lost track of the time.

Trapped within an earnest conversation

With my neighbor,

Confused about the travel time

and he lost me halfway through.

As I settled down to read again,

A light flashed on and said,

“please stow devices

In the secure places.”

As I obeyed, the plane banked left

And threw my water sideways.

I retrieved my water

As the plane banked right

To align itself

With the runway. 

As the nose dipped,

My ears began to pop

And the air became gelatin again.

As we passed through the fluffy white clouds

They grew dark and heavy

and icy rain pounded

on my window.

It always rains whenever I fly,

So I had packed an umbrella and coat.

As everyone left, I sat still

And waited for the Minors’ guide.

She arrived when everyone else was gone

And took me to a counter

Where they asked me for my grandparents’ name. 

They called her on the loudspeaker,

And she arrived to take me home.

Posted in 7th Grade, History 7

H7 W29 Review – Divine Right of Kings

           Over a long period of time within England the kings of that country believed in a doctrine called the Divine Right of kings.  In short words, the Divine right of Kings doctrine says that God ordained the Kings of England, and that they are accountable to none other than God Himself.  Using some weird and hardly understandable logic, some kings came up with the idea that the doctrine said that they could do whatever pleased them.  This allowed them to abuse their power, and some took it so far, they were beheaded (Charles I)

            The Divine Right of Kings was a philosophy that taught that the king was ordained by God and accountable only to God.   This meant that the people were now the servants of the King, not the King helper of the people.  Henry VII was the first to teach this, and it spread quickly.  Some of the kings took this Divine Right and took it to the point of tyranny, and some even to the tip of dictatorship.  For instance, Louis XIV, James VI/I, and Charles I.  Charles started a series of wars trying to force religion on Scotland and disbanding Parliament.  Parliament won, and Charles was beheaded as his son was exiled.

            The philosophy had a huge impact on the stability and overall commonwealth of England, mostly being that the economy became more stable as the Kings lost the battle over who ruled, so a King basically was just a Parliamentarian with an extra vote or something like that.  This allowed for better decision making, rather than on the King’s whims.  Thus, most of the laws benefited the people and the people no longer rebelled, and the stability increased.  The laws became better, the people were happier, there was no longer tyranny, and all religions were allowed for a time.  That was the perks of the Divine Right of Kings. 

            The Divine right of Kings had a negative impact for a long time, but the Parliamentarians made it all well and good, and the result was a happier England.  We can learn from this example and be Jenny Geddes, the milkmaid who started Scotch rebellion under the oppressive crown.  And that’s all on the Divine right of Kings.

Posted in 7th Grade, English 7

E7 L155 – The Odyssey Books 9-12

In the time of Homer, one of the two major books were the Odyssey, a story about the adventures of Odysseus on his way home from Troy.  Over time, he runs into a cyclops names Polyphemus, a witch named Circe, his battle comrades in the land of the dead, and even Athena herself.

In book nine, the story is picked up just after the fall of Troy, which is when the Ciconiids attacked the retreating Greeks.  The Greeks fled in their twelve ships.  Sadly, the Ciconiids managed to light one on fire, and that ship did not get away.  The other eleven, however, made it out to sea, where they were battered around by a three-day-long storm that put them right on the edge of Cyclopes’ territories.  The sail through cyclopes territories was smooth up until they landed at the other side of the Cyclopes territories, at the very last island within those territories.  The men landed, and they found a good cave to shelter in.  Much later, the men see a figure walking in the mouth of the enormous cave, and the figure closes a boulder in front of the cave, as a door.  As the figure starts a fire, the men are revealed, as well as the identity of the cyclops.  The Cyclops introduces himself as Polyphemus, and two of Odysseus’ men are immediately eaten with much carnage and sheep’s milk.   As the men are eaten, Odysseus notices a pole in the back.  He then comes up with an idea.  As Polyphemus is out herding his sheep for the day, he sharpens the end of the pole and hides it in the dust in the back, then prepares wine for the cyclops.  As Polyphemus eats his two men for the night, Odysseus introduces himself as Noman, and offers the wine to the cyclops.  After getting it drunk and asleep, he helps his men pick up the pole and stab the cyclops’ eye.  They then tie themselves to the undersides of Polyphemus’ sheep, and ride them out in the morning to escape. (the cyclops felt the tops of the sheep as they passed.)  As they escape the now-blinded Polyphemus, their ship is blown off course by Neptune (Poseidon), who hears a prayer from the Cyclops and prolongs their suffering.

After their encounter with Polyphemus, they arrive at the island of Æolus and gain a bag containing the adverse winds to their journey home.  Odysseus makes it within sight of Ithaca, but he is immediately blown way off course by the gods stirring up the bag so the winds escape.  He blown near a desert island, and when they land, Odysseus decides to go exploring.  He reaches the tallest point on the island and sees mostly desert up until the edge of a forest, where he can see a blue curl of smoke.  He heads back to the ship and a group is chosen to explore the area with the smoke.  When the group gets there, they see a palace.  As they enter, a beautiful woman is singing.  This woman introduces herself as Circe and gives them a feast.  After they eat, she uses a spell that turns all the men at the table into pigs, which is what she says all men are.  Only one man, who was suspicious of this feast, waited at the door, and when he saw the men turned into pigs he ran back to the ship and told Odysseus.  When Odysseus arrived, he meets the god Mercury (Hermes), who gives him a plant called Moly.  This plant made it so Odysseus could not have a spell laid on him for a day.  As he entered after eating the plant, she attempted to lay the same charm on him as she did the other men, and when she fails she attempts to lull him into getting into bed with her as the spell laid on her by Mercury would cause her to love him when he threatened her.  The rest of his men then come under the hospitality promised by Circe, and as they leave one of the drunk men falls off the roof and kills himself.

After they leave the island of Circe, they go to the land of the dead to find out what route to take home.  The journey is smooth, and so is the sacrifice, up until Odysseus sees his mother within the lot.  He has a long chat with her and some of his old battle comrades, and he and his men leave for Ithaca.

As they sail Odysseus home they make stops at countries which give them much wealth to take with them, and only a day before they reach Ithaca, they land on a beautiful island with what looked like the cattle of the gods.  And indeed it was.   They refrained from eating it for almost a week, as they starved from lack of other foods.  The men eventually starved themselves into eating a dozen of the cows and drinking the milk.  This angered Zeus, as the cattle were his son Apollo’s.  As the sailors left without Odysseus, they were hit by lightning out of a clear blue sky.  Some other country’s ships happened to sail past and see Odysseus, half starved to death, and bring him to their king’s palace.  He was then treated well and given gold and a ship to sail him home.

The story keeps going after book 12 on Odysseus’s revenge on the suitors for his wife while under Athena’s disguise, and ends with him home again as recognizable as can be.