Friday, September 28, 2007


Catherine did her first spelling test today. She doesn't quite get the idea of a test as she kept asking for clues or 'freebies'. Despite that she managed to get all but one right. Math was simply drills.

History was Chapter Five of Story of the World, 'The First Sumerian Dictator.' I think I mentioned before about the similarities between the babes-in-baskets stories of Sargon and Moses. We'll be finding more similarities between ancient Summerian and Hebrew tales as Gilgamesh is next on the agenda once I find a good version. In it we get a first glimpse of the serpent from the Garden of Eden and the prototype of Noah with Utnapishtim, a man who survived an epic flood.

In science we moved on to Helium. We did up our periodic table card, stuck it up on the wall and then carried out an experiment I found on the website of the PBS show, Zoom. It's about creating 'Flinkers', ballons that neither float nor sink.

We had a little bit of a problem finding helium ballons because the regular shop we go to for those was out, "due to the worldwide helium shortage." Story here. I suspect helium prices were just too high for the little shop. A nearby national grocery chain had oodles of it and we managed to get our balloon.

Then I gave Catherine the balloon and explained her challenge. Make it a Flinker.


"What now?"

"It didn't work."

"How can I do that?!"


In the end, with lots of help from me, we got it hovering in the middle of the kitchen but I'm now in the process of googling the bejezus out of "problem solving skills" in search of more activities that will get her thinking.


concernedCTparent said...

Synchronicity... my daughter and I were talking about the babes in baskets just today (creepy twilight zone music plays in the background). We were listening to the audiobook of Arabian Nights in the car just today. In the story of The Talking Bird, the Singing Tree, and the Golden Water, 3 babies are sent away in baskets. Here's a link to one print version:

That got us talking about Sargon and Moses and how similar the stories are. Then we found this:

The tale of the basket
The story of the infant Moses being set adrift in a basket bears remarkable similarities to an old Babylonian myth about a great King called Sargon who was discovered as a baby in a basket in a river.

Between 600 and 300 BCE, Jewish scribes in Jerusalem set out to record all the old tales of their people, handed down from generation to generation. What if the scribes had wanted to add a bit of spice to their tales to make them more interesting? Could they have used the myth of Sargon and made up the tale of Moses? It's certainly possible as we know the Jews were captured by the Babylonians in 587 BCE and held in exile in Babylon (modern Iraq) for some time. They could have picked up the Sargon legend there.

Egyptologist Jim Hoffmeier studied the original Hebrew text. He found that key words in the story - bulrushes, papyrus, Nile, riverbank - were all ancient Egyptian words, and not Babylonian.

But what about the name 'Moses'? It is an Egyptian name meaning 'One who is born'. It uses the same root as 'Ramses'. It's hard to believe that a Hebrew scribe, one thousand years later, could have come up with a story using authentic Egyptian words.

Well actually there are many stories of babies being put in baskets and exposed or put in water. This was an ancient way of putting a child out to the fate of the gods. Today people put babies in baskets and put them on church doorsteps.
Jim Hoffmeier, Egyptologist

I'm really loving this homeschooling thing...

kitten said...

Sounds like she is really into learning this year. Yeaaaaaa!

Dawn said...

ConcernedCT - I just finished a TTC lecture series on ancient Egypt and learned much of the same about Moses! I've been to prepared to write off biblical stories as completely mythical but it's intrigueing to learn there may be some kernals of truth. Though, as the lecturer I heard (Bob Brier) put it it may originally have been 60 people and has likely been greatly exagerrated.

Your Babylonian theory sounds damn cool! I hadn't given much thought to where they would have gotten the Summerian tales but that sounds likely!

Dawn said...

Kitten - Yup, she's into it, just a little rusty on how to think through a problem!