Sunday, May 20, 2012

Why I am a Christian:

Why I am a Christian? After all, many would say all religions contain elements of truth—a higher power or consciousness of good, the need to reconcile or align oneself with the good and deny, suppress, or fight the bad, the consciousness of something wrong that needs to be corrected. So many of the ancient myths and stories contain these themes—some go so far as to have a virgin mother figure, a messiah like figure or war hero. All usually contain some teaching on love, forgiveness, righteousness, and justice. So why am a Christian, and not anything else or nothing at all? Because Christianity remains rooted in the historical Christ who can be said to have fulfilled not just the Jewish law and prophecies, but also the myths of the Norse and Romans, the philosophies of the Greeks, the suffering and self-denial of the Buddhists, the monotheistic holiness of the Muslim, the ethics of the Confucians, the Nirvana of the Hindus, and He is the answer of the human heart in a living breathing complex reality, and not just in a remote idealism. He was the God-Man, the fulfillment of all priestly figures of all religions. He came down and lived the truth in a flesh and blood way that we can understand because truth just cannot be spoken—it must be lived out. The Incarnation is the supreme crux that makes all the difference. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. . .

Friday, March 23, 2012

Invertebrates (to tune of Bingo)

This is another one of the memory songs I wrote. Hopefully, this will help kids learn the taxonomy of the invetebrate part of the animal kingdom. One great way of helping kids learn this is by repeating it each day of your unit on invetebrates while showing pictures or flashcards of the animals within each phylum or class.

The Annelid group includes earthworms
With their segmented bodies,
Invertebrates, invetebrates,
Invertebrates have no backbone!

Sponges are the simplest animals,
These Porifera filter feed.
Invertebrates, invetebrates,
Invetebrates have no backbone!

Cnidaria are stinging creatures
Like jellyfish, anemones, and corral,
Invertebrates, invetebrates,
Invetebrates have no backbone!

Echinoderms are marine animals,
Whose arms radiate from a center,
Invertebrates, invetebrates,
Invetebrates have no backbone!

Mollusca is a group of snails and slugs,
Bivalves, and cephalopods, (Bivalves-oysters, clams)
Invertebrates, invetebrates,
Invetebrates have no backbone! (Cephalopods-squid, octopus)

Arthropods with exoskeletons,
Are many--break them into classes!
Invertebrates, invetebrates,
Invetebrates have no backbone!

Arachnids are eight-legged creatures,
You think of them as spiders!
Invertebrates, invetebrates,
Invetebrates have no backbone!

Crustaceans have hard outer shells,
And sometimes claws like lobsters,
Invertebrates, invetebrates,
Invetebrates have no backbone!

Insects have three parts,
Six legs, and an antennae,
Invertebrates, invetebrates,
Invetebrates have no backbone!

(NOTE: There are 8 other phyla that include various types of worm-like creatures. There are also five other phyla of various other kinds of sea creatures with which most people are unfamiliar. The ones in the song are the most common types.)

Monday, March 5, 2012


I've always been partial to the classical model of education. It has influenced my teaching philosophy in many ways. I especially like the focus on memory skills in the grammar stage (which is the elementary years). After having worked with this age group for going on 11 years, I think the modern teacher's disregard for memory work is sad--especially since so many of them beat their head against a brick wall in trying to teach abstract "higher-order thinking skills" before some children are really ready. I am not against teaching higher-order thinking skills in moderation as children are ready; however, memory skills are important too. When I was homeschooling, I noticed that good poems and songs to use in memory work were not always easily found, so I often made my own. I decided it was time to share my work with all who would like to use it for non-commerical purposes.

MEMORY WORK PIECE #1 SCIENCE--A Piggyback song about "Vertebrates"

(Sing to tune Jingle Bells)

(CHORUS) Vertebrates, vertebrates, creatures with a backbone,
There are five groups of them by which they can be know,
Amphibians, reptiles, fish, and mammals too,
And then there's the final group called birds,
but let's give each one its due

Amphibians lay eggs--in the water yes,
They breathe through gills when young,
They must stay moist I stress;
Their skin is smooth and damp,
And cold-blooded though they be,
These toads and frogs, and salamanders, are oh, so lovely!


Reptiles have scaly skin, and it's also dry
They are cold-blooded as well,
On this I wouldn't lie;
Lizards and crocodiles fit,
In this group with snakes,
Alligators and turtles too, oh for goodness sakes!


Fish live within the water, and breathe through their gills,
Cold-blooded creatures also,
These facts I must instill;
They have fins upon their bodies,
No arms, legs, wings or claws,
Their scales are such a grand design,
That we give to God applause!


Mammals have fur or hair and they're warm-blooded, yes,
Most grow within their mother--no eggs for them, you've guessed,
They also have four limbs, and mother's milk they drink,
There are 11 groups of them,
Oh my, this makes me think!


Birds are made to fly, at least most of which we know,
They have feathers, wings, and efficient lungs,
And from eggs they grow;
Their beaks God made to help them
Grasp and eat the food they need,
Warm-blooded like all the mammals,
They are unique indeed!