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28 August 2017

If Thy Brother Offend Thee

Living in families and communities can be tough. People don't always do what we wish they would do, things don't always get communicated clearly, and even when everybody is trying hard to do right, sometimes things get tense. People get hurt. It just goes with the territory in this life. Happily, the scriptures teach us how to handle this sort of thing gracefully, with attention to both justice and mercy. A recent misunderstanding has left me wanting to make sure that I thoroughly understand the Lord's standards and methods for conflict resolution.

My starting place has long been this:

And if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess thou shalt be reconciled. 
-Doctrine and Covenants 42:88

In rereading this verse, I was reminded that it's part of a much more comprehensive passage instructing us about what to do when conflicts arise:

And if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess thou shalt be reconciled. And if he or she confess not thou shalt deliver him or her up unto the church, not to the members, but to the elders. And it shall be done in a meeting, and that not before the world.
And if thy brother or sister offend many, he or she shall be chastened before many. And if any one offend openly, he or she shall be rebuked openly, that he or she may be ashamed. And if he or she confess not, he or she shall be delivered up unto the law of God.
And if any shall offend in secret, he or she shall be rebuked in secret, that he or she may have opportunity to confess in secret to him or her whom he or she has offended, and to God, that the church may not speak reproachfully of him or her.
And thus shall ye conduct in all things.
-Doctrine and Covenants 42:88-93

The Lord's prescription when there is a conflict is simple and straightforward: First, talk it over, and try to work it out, just the two of you. Don't go running to the Bishop or other authority right off the bat: the first conversation should be with the person you are irritated with. Only if you can't work it out on your own should you start looking for a mediator-- and that quietly and discretely. Apologies should take place at the same level of public that the offense took place at. This is part of the process of growth and reconciliation. 

President Kimball expanded on this passage's counsel:

It frequently happens that offenses are committed when the offender is not aware of it. Something he has said or done is misconstrued or misunderstood. The offended one treasures in his heart the offense, adding to it such other things as might give fuel to the fire and justify his conclusions. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the Lord requires that the offended one should make the overtures toward peace. He says:
And if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess thou shalt be reconciled  
D&C 42:88
To the Nephites the Lord said:
. . . if ... thy brother hath aught against thee—
Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you  
3 Ne. 12:23-24
And to the disciples in Judea he said:
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
Leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift  
Matt. 5:23-24
Do we follow that commandment or do we sulk in our bitterness, waiting for our offender to learn of it and to kneel to us in remorse?...
Brothers and sisters and friends, if we will sue for peace taking the initiative in settling differences—if we can forgive and forget with all our hearts—if we can cleanse our own souls of sin, accusations, bitterness, and guilt before we cast a stone at others—if we forgive all real or fancied offenses before we ask forgiveness for our own sins—if we pay our own debts, large or small, before we press our debtors—if we manage to clear our own eyes of the blinding beams before we magnify the motes in the eyes of others—what a glorious world this would be!
-Elder Spencer W. Kimball, Except Ye Repent

I think that it's important to acknowledge that it does sometimes happen that the person who is wrong, even when you go to them privately, refuses to reconcile. This makes things more difficult, but the same high standards of forgiveness apply, perhaps even more so: seeking help from the Lord to achieve forgiveness in this case will protect us from bitterness and anger. It is possible that, when the other person refuses to reconcile that finding forgiveness anyway may be even more important to our own spiritual health: it's been said that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick. We need to forgive.

"Forgiveness requires us to consider the other side of the Atonement—a side that we don’t think about as often but that is equally critical. That side is the Atonement’s power to satisfy our demands of justice against others, to fulfill our rights to restitution and being made whole. We often don’t quite see how the Atonement satisfies our own demands for justice. Yet it does so. It heals us not only from the guilt we suffer when we sin, but it also heals us from the sins and hurts of others."
-Brother James R. Rasband, Faith to Forgive Grevious Harms

Most member of the Church will be familiar with the story of Thomas B. Marsh, how he had been ordained the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, but then fell away, and swore out an affidavit that contributed in no small part to the circumstances that culminated in the Missouri Extermination Order, and the violent expulsion of the members from Missouri and the suffering of that period. He was excommunicated and remained outside the Church for almost 20 years, but eventually did return, apologized to the people, and was received back into the Church in full fellowship -- not an insignificant act of forgiveness on the part of the families of those who had died as a result of his actions.

What is interesting to me, in contemplating this situation, is that forgiveness, reconciliation, and consequences from the Lord all seem to be individual matters. When Brother Marsh was rebaptized his sins, as all new members' sins are, were washed away, and he was clean again. I greatly admire the courage that it took to return, to face the people that he had betrayed, and to live his final years among them. Brigham Young let him speak to the Church, and then had a show of hands from the congregation to see if they could receive him in full fellowship, following his apology and other remarks about his apostasy and return, which they did, "not a hand was raised" when Brother Brigham called for objections.

He was never reinstated to the Apostleship; that privilege was gone. Permanently.

Hopefully, we will never experience the type of betrayal that the early Saints received from Brother Marsh, but I think it is instructive to look at the pattern for the Lord's dealings here when we experience an offense at the hand of an unrepentant sinner: friendship is a position of trust, and the Lord does not always restore those who return to the positions of trust that they previously held. If we, in counsel with the Lord, choose to hold those who have injured us to a less intimate, less trusted position in our lives than what they previously held, it is not necessarily a symptom of a lack of forgiveness. Enforcing strict boundaries with those who are toxic in our lives is not a sin: it's a safety measure. He does not ask us to be doormats, but we are expected, commanded, required to forgive: "until seventy times seven." If we do not, the Lord categorically stated greater sin is in us... not them. Regardless of the sin under discussion.

Our very salvation depends upon us being willing to forgive others. As Christ taught:
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. [Matthew 6:14–15]
That our own forgiveness should be conditioned on forgiving others can be a hard doctrine, particularly if the sin against us is horribly wrong and out of all proportion to any harm we’ve ever committed. Even harder, the Lord has indicated in modern revelation that “he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin” (D&C 64:9). This is a very strong statement: if we refuse to forgive, there remaineth in us the greater sin.
-Brother James R. Rasband, Faith to Forgive Grevious Harms (emphasis original)

 Hopefully, offenses will be few and reconciliation will be possible. But regardless, forgiveness, trust in the Lord's ability to handle it, to heal us of the pain we have experienced, is a must.

25 August 2017

See Well to Draw Well

My first job in high school was doing odd jobs at a family-run assisted living place. One of my coworkers was one Jay Fullmer, and he could draw anything. Seriously. Among other things he's done, he had his work in the Birds in Art exhibit at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum one year. His birds look like they're ready to take flight off the canvas. In the quiet afternoons, he would sometimes work on this or that while he watched over the elderly residents.

I could barely draw stick figures; I was in awe.

One day, after I'd watched him work on a painting of songbird -I still remember vividly how the bird's head was turned to the side, so you could see the beak and one eye- I asked him, "How'd you do that?!" --and he told me:

Continue reading at The Homeschool Review Crew's blog.

23 August 2017

A Wasp that Does Not Sting

Found the coolest bug the other day; it freaked me out. I mean, check out that "stinger" -- the thing looks like a scorpion, for crying out loud! I almost didn't take the picture, but it was just sitting there, and had been sitting there, and I was feeling a bit brave. So I risked getting close to that thing to get the picture. And it didn't even wiggle when I put my phone up (kind of) close. Turns out, I didn't need to worry: they don't sting, crazy hind end notwithstanding.

Then I didn't think too much more about it for the moment, because I was watching kids. And the kids were watching the animals in the little farm thing in the park. And it was good. We pondered llama fur and frolicking piggies. Discussed why we shouldn't try to feed them. The llamas are new to the little zoo thingy, and we happened to stop by a while back when they were brand new, and you could see how uncomfortable they were, last time we visited. This time, they were chill. One of them was sitting down. The other was snacking. Neither one gave us a second glance. It was cool to see how nicely they'd adjusted to having kids come and ooh and aaaah over them. Mine sure did!

Later, we saw this cool caterpillar. He could really move! I forgot to ask Facebook what kind he is, but I think he's cool, even not knowing what he'll grow up into.

 I did go find out about the big black scorpion-looking wasp thing. The nice folks on the Facebook bug group told me it's an American Pelecinid Wasp. And it does not sting. Which blew my mind, what with a huge singer-looking thinger there at the back. The one I saw is a female, and that huge abdomen is for probing the ground-- she's looking for grubs, and if she finds one, she nails it with an egg. I don't feel sorry for the grubs. Eww.

Turns out, Pelecinids are cool wasps: the overwhelming majority of them are female. (Can I just say here how little I ever expected to think that any wasp is cool??) The nice folks who gave me the ID also pointed out this site, which says that there are so many females that scientists wonder if the species manages to mostly reproduce without the males. Apparently, you mostly see them in late summer. And that's when I saw mine. At a city park. The article makes it sound like that might be less likely, but it's one of several "wild" parks in our area, with a lot of trees, so it probably looks like "woodland edges" to the critters that live there. I love our wild parks: just perfect for our nature study.

I haven't done it yet, but I'm planning to use this photo to put the Pelecinid Wasp in my nature book. It's just too cool to forget, and drawing it will help me to remember. Our walks are so nice. Even when we don't get our notebooks out, I always feel like it's time well spent when we get out and go look at nature.

But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:  Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? 

-Job 12:7-9

18 August 2017

Morning Lessons and Long Afternoons

I've seen people talk about having mornings reserved for lessons, and long afternoons for kids to enjoy their own pursuits... and I've often wondered how people get all the work done in the morning! For a long time, I thought that maybe it was our odd schedule -- my husband's previous work was on a second shift schedule, and he held that position for over a decade, so we had very short mornings and late nights, in order to facilitate the maximum "daddy time", and allow him to participate in our bedtime routine. Had we been doing public school during those years, the kids would have only seen their dad on the weekends, which was not an acceptable alternative! So we had this odd, late schedule. And while it's been more than a year since he changed jobs and schedules, it's proving difficult to fix the schedule that the kids and I keep. So I assumed that part of the problem with our inability to get all our school work done in the mornings was lingering schedule issues. And probably some of it is.


I was reading the Introduction to A Philosophy of Education today. I've read a fair amount of this volume before, but I typically skip introductions, so I missed this last time. This is what Miss Mason says:

This scheme is carried out in less time than ordinary school work on the same subjects. There are no revisions, no evening lessons, no cramming or "getting up" of subjects; therefore there is much time whether for vocational work or interests or hobbies. All intellectual work is done in the hours of morning school, and the afternoons are given to field nature studies, drawing, handicrafts, etc. Notwithstanding these limitations the children produce a surprising amount of good intellectual work. No homework is required. 
-Charlotte Mason, 6:9

I turns out that Miss Mason and I define "academic work" very differently, and that's part of the "problem" that I've been puzzling over: she appears to be dividing the students' work in to academic and non-academic work... and I haven't been: it's all school work to me. Miss Mason includes Nature Study in non-academic work, done in the afternoon. I like to go out in the morning; the weather is typically better. We also need to travel to our Nature Study area -- not far, it's just a local park -- but the need to travel to get there means that we don't do a little bit every day, we tend instead to do it once a week, and use about three quarters of our school day on it when we go out. Drawing and art work in general is another thing that I tend to do at less frequent intervals for larger chunks of time because that works better for our family.

Additionally, I love this idea:

When a child grows stupid over a lesson, it is time to put it away. Let him do another lesson as unlike the last as possible, and then go back with freshened wits to his unfinished task. 
-Charlotte Mason 1:141

The idea of arranging the day so that we typically move to a lesson that is unlike what we are currently doing is very appealing to me. In practice, what I actually do is put all our lessons on a markerboard, and let the kids choose what they want to work on next. It doesn't actually matter to me what order they do them in the majority of the time, so long as they are done at the end of the day, and the kids relish the opportunity to make those small choices. The distinction between lessons with Mom and independent lessons is, practically speaking, far more important in our day that Miss Mason's divisions of academic vs. nonacademic work. Independent work tends to be what we finish before lunch, simply because they don't have to wait turns to do it. Interestingly, when left to chose their own order, the kids nearly always order their days so that the next lesson is quite unlike the one just finished.

So it's really instructive to see what, exactly, Miss Mason is including in her afternoon work, because it makes me aware that the largest reason that we're "unsuccessful" at doing our lessons in the morning is because I don't make that kind of academic/nonacademic distinction, and in fact, leaving "nonacademic" projects for the afternoon would not work well for our situation for a variety of reasons. I am inclined to think that changing up the categories of lessons is not a critical alteration to the method: things like solid habits of attention and narration, the broad feast being spread, the respect of the individual student, and attention to the development of student character all strike me as being far more central to the classical education methods and philosophy that Miss Mason was teaching. While the specifics of our schedule doesn't exactly match hers, the principles that underlie: making sure that the important, but less academic, perhaps less obviously "educational" schedule items get adequate time, that is something that we both have in common on schedules that work for our specific situations.

Makes me glad that I read from her volumes; it's easy to start to worry that I'm somehow doing it wrong. But Miss Mason's ways are so gentle and lovely, it's well worth the effort of reading them yourself.

11 August 2017

Bilingual Calendering Update

I realized tonight that it's been almost exactly three years since we started to do a calendar "circle time" in Japanese. I was pretty frightened to even try, but my friend Mrs. C. was right: it's been much more do-able than I thought, back then. And all of us have grown as a result. We started pretty straight forward: just a calendar for "Today is the 11th of July." Actually, we often just count our way through the calendar, since there is some specific jargon for counting days of the month in Japanese. I need to work on helping the kids learn to say, "Yesterday was the 10th. Today is the 11th. Tomorrow is the 12th."

We've learned several songs in the process of doing this calendar stuff. Our toothbrushing song is in Japanese, and the kids know the Wise Man and the Foolish Man, among a few others. We're reinforcing place value -- and Japanese doesn't have the irregular and confusing "teen" numbers: numbers to 100 are completely regular in every way and make place value simple, which is nice. We can count to 1000, and sort of tell time. It's tough teaching and learning time on an analog clock in a new language, but they're getting there!

After starting to work with Latin Christiana, I decided to adopt some of their methods in our Japanese -- specifically, we're practicing some of our verb conjugations by chanting them. It's working so well for the Latin, that I thought I'd try it here, and it seems to be working here as well. It's a nice easy introduction to grammar, which I've been feeling the need to do. I plan to continue to introduce new grammar and vocabulary in this way, starting with the most common and most regular verbs.

For three years of work, it doesn't sound like much. But then I realize that we've done that much in spite of the fact that calendar time is one of the things that we miss as much as we hit. And my own ability to deal with these parts of the language has been greatly enhanced by working on them these past three years. And that's all to the good, because where I improve, I can help my kids more effectively.

We still don't have anybody but each other to speak to, and I'm still not fluent. But I do see marked improvement in all of our skills. Showing the kids what I have learned, in spite of not being fluent, doesn't freak me out anymore. We know more words, we use them more frequently in our daily lives. We just started watching the Netflix cartoon "Troll Hunters" -- in Japanese. And we have several regular channels for watching Minecraft videos in Japanese. It's amazing how much my kids have learned -- and use naturally and fluently -- from watching Minecraft videos on YouTube. I wish that I was able to sit down and watch it with them more often; we all learn more when I can come and do some dictionary work to help expand our vocabulary.

I really can't say enough good about the HiNative app. It lets me ask natives how to say the various things we want to say, so that we're learning real Japanese, checked over by real native speakers, and not a pseudo-Japanese imposter that we make up thinking that we're speaking Japanese. That's a real lifesaver, because I have yet to locate a book that will teach us household Japanese. But we keep asking for the sentences that we want to learn, and it's slowly adding up.

Progress, including slow progress, is success.

I'm glad that I didn't let not knowing scare me off. This is fun.

07 August 2017

A Narration from Fifty Famous Stories Retold

One of Dragon's favorite things in school is when he gets to listen to Aesop's Fables and Fifty Famous Stories Retold. We're following the Ambleside Online schedule for these books, so they will last for quite a while. Which he both loves and hates. He'd like to just gobble them up, but I'm doling them out slowly, so that he has time to think over each story, and really let them settle into his mind -- and hopefully his heart, as these are all stories that can give him something to think about, and encourage his character to grow in good ways.

There is something very special about spending a really long time on a book. And please note, I don’t think all books are worth doing this with, for sure. Not every book needs to be studied. I would only do this with school books — I’m not out to schedule and slow down my children’s free reading books. But these books that are worth meditating on and thinking about are proven so much more instructive when they are lingered over.
If each chapter had a powerful central idea, and I read three chapters without stopping, I consumed one idea after another, and had no time in between for my soul to be instructed by each individual idea.
-Brandy Vincel, Why Slow Reading Matters More Than You'd Expect

So he listened, and then he told me that he'd like to do a movie of his narration today, and I thought I'd share it with you.

Just for fun, after we'd listened to the story, we also listened to the William Tell Overture. He liked that, too.

02 August 2017

Commonplace Book: July

A sample from my commonplace book, and brief instructions for how to keep one.

A commonplace is a traditional self-education tool: as you read, grab a notebook. Write down things that embody Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. Write down notable quotes, with or without your own thoughts about them. Write down the questions you have as a result of the text you are reading. You will find the book becomes a record of your own growth, and it becomes a touchstone for memory of things you have studied in the past. These are a selection of the passages that I've included in my commonplace book this month:

The best dividends on labor invested have invariably come from seeking more knowledge rather than more power.
-Orville & Wilbur Wright, quoted in The Wright Brothers by McCullough, 125

Darkness cannot persist in the presence of light. I do not know, I do not know anybody who does know, how to put darkness into a room to make light vanish.
-Boyd K. Packer, quoted on Instagram

Madam How is never idle for an instant. Nothing is too great or too small for her; and she keeps her work before her eye in the same moment, and makes every separate bit of it help every other bit. She will keep the sun and the stars in order, while she looks after poor old Mrs. Daddy-long-legs there and her eggs. She will spend thousands of years in building up a mountain, and thousands of years grinding it down again; and then carefully polish every grain of sand which falls from that mountain, and put it in its right place, where it will be wanted thousands of years hence; and she will take just as much trouble about that one grain of sand as she did about the whole mountain... Most patient indeed is Madam How. She does not mind the least seeing her work destroyed; she knows that it must be destroyed. There is a spell upon her, and a fate, that everything she makes she must unmake again; and yet, good an wise woman as she is, she never frets, nor tires, nor fudges her work, as we say in school... Madam  How is wiser than that. She knows that it will come to something.
-Madam How and Lady Why, 9-10

If no other knowledge deserves to be called useful but that which helps to enlarge our possessions or to raise our station in society, then mythology has no claim no the appellation. But if that which tends to make us happier and better can be called useful then we claim the epithet for our subject. For mythology is the handmaid of literature; and literature is one of the best allies of virtue and promoters of happiness.
-Bullfinch, Age of Fable, vii\

Perspective is to painting what the bridle is to the horse, the rudder to a ship... There are three aspects to perspective. The first has to do with how size of objects seems to diminish according to distance; the second, the manner in which colors change the further away they are from the eye; the third defines how objects ought to be finished less carefully the farther away they are.
-attributed to Leonardo DaVinci

... we must continue to understand and educate ourselves if we wish to have success in educating our children.
-Dean & Karen Andreola, Introduction to the Original Homeschooling Series, Charlotte Mason, 6:iv

We fail to recognize that as the body requires wholesome food and cannot nourish itself upon ANY substance so the mind too requires meat after its kind. If the war [WWI]  taught nothing else it taught us that men are spirits, and that the spirit, mind, of a man is more than his flesh, that his spirit IS the man, that for the thoughts of his heart he gives the breath of his body. As a consequence of this recognition of our spiritual nature, the lesson for us at the moment is that great thoughts, great events, great considerations, which form the background of our national thought, shall be the content education we pass on.
-Charlotte Mason, 6:5

01 August 2017

In the Reign of Terror Audio Drama {Crew Review}

In the Reign of Terror

For this review, we were listened to In the Reign of Terror, and audio drama by Heirloom Audio Productions on CD, which is an adaptation of G.A. Henty's book In the Reign of Terrorm, and the downloadable study guide that goes with it.

The story is gripping. I didn't realize it at first, but this is not our first story from G.A. Henty. So far, I've really enjoyed all of his works -- and making it an audio drama, where they've gone a step further than just reading the story, and given it a sound track and audio effects, just really enhances the story. The characters, each portrayed by a different actor or actress, really come to life. The English sound English, and the French characters sound French. That actually made us work at understanding, particularly at first, because the French accent has always been one that's a little bit difficult for me to follow, and it's pretty thick at times. But our ears adapted, and we were able to follow without serious issues. The story is about 16 year old Harry Sandwith, who in the months just prior to the reign of terror, is engaged to be a companion to the five children of the Marquis de St Caux, and live with them in their country home some miles outside of Paris. Harry's family feels that, even if there is unrest due to the revolutionaries, it is unlikely to touch the home of the Marquis, but of course the revolution becomes both more widespread and more violent than anybody predicted, and Harry gets caught up in quite the adventure.

The recording is beautiful. The sound track is lovely -- both the music and also the various noises that they use to bring it to life. You can see the kind of attention to detail they put into sounds of all sorts in the clip they include on their "Who We Are" page, where they show how they collect the authentic sound of a door handle in a church for another title, In Freedom's Cause. In the Reign of Terror sounds like it's had that same attention to detail and high level of excellence as well.

I don't want to give away too much of the story, because I think you're going to love it, but of course things turn far more violent than the Marquis or anybody else anticipated at the outset. Harry has just enough time to learn some French and get comfortable with the family, and then things get crazy as the revolution picks up its pace. There are mobs, the Marquis rushes off to fight for the king. There is heroism in many places, betrayal, rescue -- at one point Harry even ends up briefly working as Robespierre's personal secretary!

Henty has included in his story a number of points of commentary that bring out the substantial differences between the French Revolution and the American Revolution, which I really appreciated because it made it really easy to have a series of conversations about the differences, and while, while the one was a noble thing that actually brought freedom to a nation, the other used noble verbage but descended into worse tyranny than what the existing rulers had exercised. As one character puts it, "It is not égalité, equality, the canaille -- that is, the common people, desire, but a reversal of roles." In the Reign of Terror starts with a bit of an introduction, where these ideas are given voice by Henty himself: "The difference was in their hearts. The difference was their attitude toward God."

In addition to the audio drama itself, we were also given a study guide, which is beautiful and extensive: 43 pages. The study guide is available through their Live The Adventure site. It starts out with some interesting background on G.A. Henty, and on a few of the key players in the French Revolution.

The study guide includes a lot of comprehension questions -- they have some for every chapter, if you are so inclined. We listened to this the way that we would a read aloud: no comprehension questions, and I didn't ask for narrations, but just let the discussion happen organically, which it did. If we had used it as a school book, I would have spread it out over a number of weeks, perhaps even a month or two, and we would have made greater use of the extension activities in the study guide. It's full of extra information: definitions of French words, and information boxes that help to paint a more complete picture of what it was like in France in that time, and the sharp contrast between the privilege and privation that existed.

There are two sets of questions for each chapter. The first are just basic comprehension questions, covering the sorts of things that we usually cover in narrations. But the second are really thought-provoking questions that could be discussion topics, or a jumping off point for writing papers for older students.

One thing that I particularly appreciate is that the questions both encourage the student to consider the story in relation to scripture and the gospel, but they are worded in a way nearly completely nondenominational, and while a one or two questions do suggest a total depravity/original sin perspective, it would be a very simple thing to adapt these questions to reflect the LDS understanding of the nature of man, which rejects original sin or holding children responsible for the crimes of parents, and embraces the inherent goodness that is implied by the Biblical assertion that we are the children of God. The study guide also encourages students to consider some of the great questions in government, relating to the purposes of government, what good governance looks like, and highlights the way that pretty rhetoric can disguise ugly intentions and deeds.

We had enough other stuff use of all the resources, but there is a lot of good stuff in the study guide, and you could use In the Reign of Terror and its study guide to do a really in-depth study of the differences between the American Revolution (which the introduction suggests shouldn't even really be called a revolution, but instead ought to be thought of as a "War for Independence") and the French Revolution, and a stepping stone to some great conversations about a host of important topics. And the study guide is written in a way that encourages you to consider things in light of what scripture teaches on the matter.

The story itself is great, and the study materials are outstanding. My first grader enjoyed the story, my fifth grader and I had some good conversations, and you could probably use this study guide with high schoolers for papers and discussions on a wide variety of important topics.

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