"Intellectual distinction is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for election to a Rhodes Scholarship. Selection committees are charged to seek excellence in qualities of mind and in qualities of person which, in combination, offer the promise of effective service to the world in the decades ahead. The Rhodes Scholarships, in short, are investments in individuals rather than in project proposals..."

Friday, April 15, 2011

A few book suggestions

I went book shopping at Border's Going-Out-of-Business sale.  I didn't expect to find much (and neither did my husband, which is why I think he let me go ;-) but I did.  I saved 60%.  I've only browsed most of them, but started reading Here's Looking at Euclid by Alex Bellos, which is a fun, Right-Brain way of looking at Math.  Anyone who loves Math will love it, too.  I'm only through the first chapter so far and loving it (I love Math, though!)

CAUTION! CAUTION! CAUTION!  The following was a book I bought for me.  I do NOT recommend it, but I cannot return it and thought that I would warn you so you don't make the same mistake as me (even though you probably wouldn't.) It is NOT for children's eyes as I realized after I got it home that it has some adult language in it.  The book is called X-Treme Latin: All the Latin You Need to Know For Surviving the 21st Century by Henry Beard   I'm not a visual person, so I did not even notice the picture on the front was of Roman soldiers making several offensive hand gestures.    See, I told you you would never make that mistake.  Seriously, I am so not a visual person that just missed me.  What sold me was the chapter entitled "Latin for Trekkies" as my kiddos and husband are big Star Trek fans.  While it is a shame I cannot return it (due to the foul language and cover art), there is some really funny stuff in there that I WILL give my kids to translate as they get further on in their Latin studies because they appreciate humor like this for when we're studying Roman History (like the books never written in Boy's Life Magazine):
Semper, Gallia C. Iulius Caesar scripsit (translation - Toujours, Gaul by Julius Caeser)
E Troia Viri, Ex Graecia Feminae Oriuntur P. Virgilius Maro scripsit (translation Men Are from Troy, Women Are from Greece by Virgil)
Let's just call it making lemonade out of lemons, shall we?

Next is for my son, who when he approaches his fellow scouts with a particular look on his face hears, "Nate's random fact time!"  We all know the look.  And I just gave him some more material.  My education background is in Physics (lasers and fiber optics, actually).   So, anything that will get my kids interested in Physics is a go, especially when it's 60% off.  The Instant Physicist: An Illustrated Guide by Richard A. Muller is a hoot and information packed to boot.  My kids found out that organic food causes cancer because the produce that is naturally resistant to bugs (cause it kills the bugs and pests that eat it) is because it contains certain poisons, that when we eat enough of them build up in our system.  Produce naturally resistant to pests contains natural poisons as a protection mechanism.  While eating a little won't kill us (because we're a lot bigger than a bug), eventually it might.  So, see?  You just learned something to!

In high school, I did everything I could to avoid biology.  Not because I didn't want to dissect a frog.  I did that in Anatomy and Physiology along with cow eye balls, fetal pigs and some-animal-I-can't-remember hearts.  I did it because it was a repeat of what I had learned in 7th and 8th grade Science (and I knew already.)  I am a Science girl, if I'm anything, so I just really didn't want to take it.  I took Ecology instead of Biology.  That was fun because we mucked around in ponds and creeks taking fish samples.  So, I really appreciated both the conciseness of the following book and the humor.  Painless Life Science by Joyce Thorton Barry (for which I can't find an Amazon link, so I used the Biology link instead) is a hoot.  It's totally right brained with funny illustrations, hints and quizzes.  It will be our 7th/8th grade Science class next year before we move into serious Science.  I will use that and the Earth Science book.

There are more I will have to chronicle later.  The trip was a treat because I brought a good friend with me who also home schools her five children.

Lastly, I did want to tell you that I just finished Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo  I loved it.  As a Catholic, I was not surprised that this little book that tells the story of a boy's three minutes in Heaven with Jesus, would not talk of Purgatory.  However, it's credible (putting on my logic glasses) as it's clear in the book that God's time is not the same as Earth time.  I really enjoyed the story.  I will be reading it aloud to my kids and we will be discussing it within the framework of Catholicism.  It's an easy read and the chapters were short, making for a good read-aloud book in our house.