Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

Apologia General Science - Chapter 10 Rabbit Trails

General science chapter 10

Because my daughter is in the 7th grade this year, she is doing Apologia's Exploring Creation with General Science. I've used this program with all of my other children. My struggling readers used the text along with the available DVD. The older kids successfully finished the program and went on to Physical Science and other high school science programs in the Apologia Family. I guess I would count us as successful. Two of my children were able to CLEP out of science requirements for college. Noah's school gave him six credits for Biology alone. 

The General Science course is a smorgasbord of scientific topics. The text opens with the history of science and then quickly goes over scientific theory and what makes a good science experiment. Quickly after that, it covers archeology, geology, paleontology, and simple machines. None of this is covered in any great depth, but just enough to hit the highlights of each topic and perhaps whet the student's appetite for more. 

This is where I think my role as a teacher comes in. I don't want to just regurgitate the book back to the students. I try to find something interesting that we can dive into a little more with each chapter, and I try to find interesting rabbit trails for us to explore a little bit.

See past posts here, here , here, and here. 

Last week we tackled Chapter 10 which was a very basic introduction to scientific classification and biology. I started the class by asking my students if any of them had a desire to go into the health, medical or scientific fields and much to my surprise, no one raised their hand!  I didn't even have a potential nursing student!

Nonetheless, we plunged into basic classification systems. For example:

Here is the taxonomy information for human beings:
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Hominidae
Genus: Homo
Species: sapiens

Then we concentrated on the five different kingdoms (Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Monera and Protista).

While none of my kids are planning careers in health, they all learned something about each of those kingdoms, particularly Monera and bacteria.

In some ways then, I was glad that I chose the rabbit trail of food safety and Typhoid Mary. Everyone should know something about food safety in the kitchen!  These short films from Central District Health. They were short, to the point and chock full of useful information. I learned a thing or two myself, particularly about cooling temperatures.

I do have some history buffs in my class - three of them actually. So I do try to delve into some historical aspects if possible. Typhoid Mary is a fascinating case - a harbinger of bacteria who herself was symptom free, and yet spread death from household to household by contaminating food from her job as a cook!

Younger kids might enjoy this book on the topic!

But Rosie, who enjoys historical fiction, is adding this to her reading list!

Next up - Apologia General Science lumps the skeletal sytem, muscles and skin into one chapter! That's going to be challenging.