March 21, 2008

The Real Actual 2200 Year Old Rosetta Stone From Egypt - What Does it Have to Do with Good Friday? opposed to the new-fangled language learning software program by the same name.

We saw the Rosetta Stone! Yesterday! That's the back of my head on the left in the photo.

Did you know that the Rosetta Stone is housed at the British Museum in London? I only just found out a week or two ago. I decided it would be a sad thing to live an hour from London all this time and never actually visit the Rosetta Stone, so we went yesterday after school.

First reactions:
- It's much THICKER than I imagined from the photos I'd seen
- It's much BIGGER than I thought (again, from photos)
- The writing is much SMALLER (they sure fit a lot on that piece of rock)
Here's a 12-question quiz for you, with the answers below:

1. How many languages on the Rosetta Stone?
2. What are those languages?
3. When was it made?
4. When was it found again?
5. What country was it found in?
6. What nationality found it?
7. Of what profession were the finders?
8. Then what nationality did it pass to?
9. Why?
10. What does the Rosetta Stone actually SAY?
11. Why is the Rosetta Stone important?
12. What does the Rosetta Stone have to do with Good Friday?

1. 3
2. Hieroglyphics, Demotic, and Greek (Bonus: Demotic was the everyday language of the Egyptians at the time; hieroglyphics were used by the educated priests; Greek was the governmental language)
3. 196 B.C.
4. 1799 A.D.
5. Egypt (Bonus: in Rosetta, or El-Rashid, at a French fort)
6. French
7. Soldiers
8. English
9. Napoleon surrendered Egypt to the British in 1801, and the Rosetta Stone was among the treasures gained.

10. It's a long Egyptian priestly edict about Pharaoh Ptolemy V, upon the one-year anniversary of his coronation, when he was 13 years old. It lists all the great things he's already done, and affirms the nation-wide deity and worship of this particular pharaoh:

"King Ptolemy, living forever, the Manifest God whose excellence is fine
[...] he being a god, the son of a god and a goddess
[...] he having the heart of a beneficent god
[...] there should be produced a cult image for King Ptolemy, the Manifest God whose excellence is fine
[...] King Ptolemy [...] and [...] the Father-loving Gods, who brought him into being, and [...] the Beneficent Gods, who brought into being those who brought him into being, and [...] the Brother-and-Sister Gods, who brought into being those who brought them into being, and [...] the Saviour Gods, the ancestors of his ancestors
[...] a statue should be set up for King Ptolemy, living forever, the Manifest God whose excellence is fine [...] together with a statue for the local god
[...] a procession festival should be held in the temples and the whole of Egypt for King Ptolemy, living forever, the Manifest God whose excellence is fine, each year, [...] with [...] burnt offerings and libations being performed
[...] it should be made possible for the private persons also who will (so) wish, to produce the likeness of the shrine of the Manifest God whose excellence is fine, [...] and to keep it in their homes and hold the festivals and the processions which are described above, each year, so that it may become known that the inhabitants of Egypt pay honour to the Manifest God whose excellence is fine [...] and the decree should be written on a stela of hard stone, in sacred writing, document writing, and Greek writing, and it should be set up in the first-class temples, the second-class temples and the third-class temples, next to the statue of the King, living forever."
Here is the rest of the actual text, translated into English. It taught me a new word: uraeus - A cobra emblem worn by the pharaoh as part of his headdress. The cobra was meant to protect the pharaoh by spitting fire at his enemies. A symbol of kingship [...] symbolizing sovereignty, royalty, deity; symbol of divine authority.

11. Back in 196 BC, the Egyptians wrote the hieroglyphics on the Rosetta Stone (and lots of other places!), but by the 4th century AD, knowledge of the language had died out. 1400 years later, the discovery of the trilingual Rosetta Stone enabled the deciphering of the hieroglyphics via the Greek so that they were understandable again (though it took 20 years to work it all out). No wonder the language-learning programs are named after it - only they promise faster results.

12. On the first and actual really Good Friday, a sign was written in three languages, one of which was Greek. The other two were Latin and Aramaic (the local daily language, much like Demotic on the Rosetta Stone). But this sign said "Jesus, King of the Jews" and it was fastened to the cross to which Jesus was nailed. It talked about One truly worthy of worship, who laid His life down for His people and bought our freedom. The One who after his death truly did rise again and lives forever. The one whose Father said, "Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God" (Lev. 26:1). Because Jesus is already a solid and sacred stone in Himself: "I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed" (Isaiah 28:16).

Footnote: while at the British Museum, we also took a brief look at the Elgin Marbles (many sculpted pieces and friezes taken from the Acropolis in Athens), in preparation for our upcoming trip to Greece, and we now know something they have in common with the Rosetta Stone: the country they were found in wants them back, but the British Museum isn't budging!

March 21, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 04, 2008

Fun Stuff Via Angie

Courtesy of my cousin Angie, some fun educational sites:

Wow, a lot of different empires conquered the middle east in the past 5000 years! Animated visual representation of the different empires and their reach)

Play tetris with countries or states or régions de la France, or counties of the UK etc. Japan looks very challenging...I wouldn't be able to name a single county or whatever they call them there. Andrea? This would be a good one for you and your kids!

An interesting interactive tutorial in identifying 3 constellations - big dipper, orion, and cassiopeia - it's easy to cheat, but try not to)

Some interesting animated games - including a food chain one where you guess the chain, then you get to watch it in action...)

Helpful quiz for working towards an excellent SAT score...vocab learning - better than the rice game, since it gives definitions and context, not just synonyms.

Apparently you can print out stuff that lets you build amazing models out of paper, such as the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Tower of London, Sphinx, etc).

March 4, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 05, 2006

Map Games Locator

This post contains no new material. It is for my own use, so I can find these games more easily when I want to, which is fairly often. I am a geography lover. Feel free to look, though! Or have your kids do so if you want them to know where more places are. To replace some education not happening in the public school this week, I had my kids do a few.

* North Africa + Middle East (drag & drop map game, with the best UI of any I've seen, including instant feedback on your placements)

* Europe & the U.S. (All kinds of quizzes available in four languages, with tons of links and general knowledge as well as geography)

* The departments of France (Drag them all onto the map. This is practically impossible; well, okay, it takes a REALLY long time. But it feels like a good challenge. Semicolon, maybe your daughter can spend her time practicing this until her classes start up again...)

* Whole World (drag & drop, good UI)

* Countries and Capitals (multiple choice quizzes, with maps)

April 5, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 01, 2006

Plans for Tuesday

Madame, Monsieur,
En raison du mouvement de grève du mardi 4 avril 2006, les cours ne seront pas assurés dans la classe de votre enfant. Une garderie sera mise en place par la Mairie (exclusivement réservée aux enfants dont les deux parents travaillent, de 7h30 à 18h30).

Today Emily brought me home another one of these slips of paper. The kind that tell the parents that last Tuesday's strike resulting in a cancelled day of school was not enough. They're going to do it again this coming Tuesday.

Jason's teachers, likewise, are doing the same as last week: Math and English will still be taught, but double French and double Sports are being scrapped (two thirds of the day). Most likely. They'll know for sure on Monday. There go my plans to go to the anglophone Bible study that only happens every two weeks.

So I told the kids this is getting old and we'll need to do some school of our own at home to replace all these lost days. Maybe we'll study that puzzle I showed you and get in some U.S. History (which they certainly aren't going to get any other place around here!). Maybe we'll play some geography games online and learn the countries in Africa, or the départements in France. Maybe I'll get the kids to read some short biographies (they don't tend to think they like those for some reason; they're more into fictional spies, mysteries, magic, fantasy, and science fiction). Maybe we'll watch a movie in French to try to get some more idiom into their vocabulary.

April 1, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 06, 2006


Really cool art history hands-on project...

Speaking of homeschool versus what we have going at the homeschooling you actually get work done. Here in French public school, Emily watched a non-informational movie the last day before vacation, again the first day back from vacation, and one of Jason's teachers is striking again tomorrow, resulting in two hours less of school time (again). The post office is also going on strike tomorrow. How glad I am I picked up our two weeks of held mail TODAY instead of waiting any longer.

Update: Now Jason tells me another one of his teachers will strike if the library workers don't show up for some reason. Apparently David was warned of the strike through the office as well, and told not to be surprised if other domains strike as well. They tend to do it in groups.

March 6, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 09, 2005

Husbands, Shakespeare and The Right Caller

Amy can't keep herself limited to seven things that attract her to her husband. In regard to my own, I couldn't either.

Amanda tells the impressive tale of reading Shakespeare to her young kids.

Melene is so excited she forgot to title her post, because she only has 21 hours to go before her husband gets home from six months away on military duty overseas.

I've been hearing on the radio lately "Be the right caller and you win" - thank goodness it's not that way with God. Any caller will do. What a relief. You mean I don't have to be #7?

December 9, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 25, 2005

More Map Games

More fun map games where you click and drag: countries in Africa, Asia, South America, Europe, Middle East, US capitals, etc. It's a great way to memorize where things are.

Then if you really want a challenge, try these maps games in French:
- A map game of European Union: click on "géographie" and then drag and drop the stars on the center of the countries.

- This one is really really hard: Place the departments of France on the map. This takes a long time, even with all the hints turned on (outlines of the departments and rivers drawn in, names, post codes and capitals shown...)

* * *

Good things to know when shopping on
broché = paperback
relié = hardback

November 25, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 12, 2005


Hmmm, somehow five days went by since my last entry...but I know where they went:

After that night of shivering, I had a night of sweating, then a night of aching, then maybe one more night of exhaustion, and then I was okay again. Now it's Jason who's sick, but with something entirely different. He has been in bed the entire day. I never did that, I just went to bed at 6:30pm one night (got 11.5 hours of sleep), 9:45pm the next night, and then took a nap from 5-7pm the next night, before my full night's sleep. Now I'm back to a more normal schedule.

Let's see, there was our open house two days in a row, my birthday, mother's day, my mother-in-law's fabulous concert with about 85 senior citizens singing away with great talent and energy, accompanied by an incredible pianist of the same age. There was a visit to my mother-in-law's church (our first time) and a special brunch in Santa Cruz, topped off by a visit to the Wharf featuring a host of sea lions (and a baby one). There have been a bunch of potential buyers popping in and out of our house at will, necessitating an immaculate presentation at all times within five minutes' notice, while attempting to homeschool full-time and fill out 1,001 real estate forms with questions I don't understand (never mind know the answer to). Do you hear any oxymorons in here?

Tomorrow is supposed to be Offer Day. I'll let you know if our house sells. We sure have enjoyed living here.

May 12, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 31, 2005

K12 Expos

For anyone interested in a very well-designed, fun, thorough, packaged homeschool curriculum (this is our third year using it), you can visit Furthermore, if you live near Seattle, San Antonio, or Raleigh, you can see and touch the curriculum and hear speakers describe its development at a K12 Expo conference:

Seattle, WA - Saturday April 16
San Antonio, TX - Saturday, April 30
Raleigh, NC - Saturday, May 14

We attended one of these conferences in San Jose 2 years ago and it was a blast for the whole family. I don't know if there will be similar activities in this year's versions, but when we went, the kids got to see a super-cool professional juggler, make great crafts, participate in a puppet show, write letters to encourage soldiers, and make new homeschooling friends. The adults got to meet Dr. Bill Bennett (former Secretary of Education and founder of K12) and listen to him speak (a real treat; he's clear, funny, and insightful). These conferences have separate tracks for people just considering the idea of homeschooling and those already homeschooling but interested in checking out a new curriculum. It's free.

March 31, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 29, 2005

Pistils, Stamens and Sepals

If I weren't homeschooling, I don't think I would ever have thought to look for the stamens in an iris bloom. I've been enjoying irises for decades, and never felt I was missing anything. But today I discovered where they hide their stamens; and it was cool. They open up like snapdragons. Did you know that?

For those of you who never knew or have forgotten, flowers have a lot of intriguing parts beyond the stem and petals and leaves. The sepals are the part you see before the bud opens up, which protect the flower until it's ready to bloom. They are usually green, but not always. The stamens are the male parts of the flower, several little filaments that come out of the center of the flower, and carry pollen at their ends, on pads called anthers. The pistil is the female part, also coming out of the center, with a sticky part at the tip, called the stigma.


On these fuchsia blooms, the sepals are pink instead of the more usual green, the petals are purple, and there are about eight stamens, with one longer pistil, all hot pink. A perfect specimen for demonstrating the basic parts of a flower to my second grader. Lilies are great too.

March 29, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack