Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ancient Egyptian Proverbs for Young Children: Ptah-Hotup

Ptah-Hotup of Memphis lived around 4,000 BC. He seems to have been a Governer or Vizier of the Pharoah, and he wrote a book of proverbs for his son. Their wording has been edited slightly for young children.

Do not be proud because you are educated; but talk with the ignorant man as with the sage. Wisdom can be found anywhere.

There is no expert that knows everything.

Fair speech is more rare than an emerald found by slave-girls among the pebbles.

Do not speak evil of anyone.

Listen respectfully when wise people talk, even if you don't agree with them.

If you hear someone tell a lie, speak up and tell the truth.

Do not scorn a poor man simply because he is poor.

Leave a fool alone, he will only confuse himself.

Do not distract the attention of someone who is working.

When you speak, know that what you say can be used against you.

A leader should always be gracious, so that no one can easily find fault with him.

Always find out what conduct is expected.

Never forget those who helped you when you were poor.

Those who have bread need to share it with the hungry.

Rulers should aim to make their people prosperous.

The wise man is great through his own merits.

If you are a guest, accept what your host gives you, putting it to your lips. Don't stare at your host. Such stares trouble the soul. Do not speak till your host addresses you; you do not know what may be evil in his opinion.

If you are an sent as a messenger, give the message exactly as it was sent. Beware of causing anger by perverting the truth.

Do not repeat that which any man says in opening the heart; it will cost you everyone's trust.

If you have ploughed, gather your harvest in the field.

The woman who is a mother of children has less peace than another.

If you are poor, serve a wise man, that all your actions may be good.

If you know a man who was born poor but who has come up in the world, do not be rude to him on account of his humble birth; but honor him for what he has become.

Riches do not come by themselves. If someone bestir himself and collects them himself, the Gods shall make him prosperous.

If you are a leader, listen politely to the petitioner. Be not abrupt with him; that would trouble him.

If you are wise, look after your house; love your wife faithfully.

It is a wretched thing to injure a poor man.

Humble and lowly people must be treated with kindness. That is how people know you will act justly to everyone.

Listen with kindness for a clear explanation.

Keep your son from those that don't do what they are told, for it is they that make him rebellious.

A well taught heart listens readily.

If you want your actions to be good, save yourself from all malice.

If you want that your actions to be good, do not covet what belongs to another.

Covetousness causes fights among family members; it tears apart the wife and the husband. It gathers to itself all evils; it is the beginning of all wickedness.

The just man flourishes; he makes a habit of truthfulness, not of covetousness.

Do not be covet what belongs to your neighbor.

Do not repeat angry speech, nor listen to it; for it is the utterance of a body heated by wrath. When angry speech is repeated to you, do not listen well to it, and look to the ground.

If you are commanded to do a theft, arrange for the command to be taken off you.

If you would be a wise man, and one respected by his superior, apply your heart to perfection.

Silence can be more profitable to you than abundant speech.

Consider how you may be opposed by an expert.

If you are powerful, make yourself honored for knowledge and for gentleness. Speak with authority, but humbly.

Do not be silent, but beware of interruption and of answering words with heat. Put it far from you; control yourself. The angry heart speaks fiery words; it darts out at the man of peace that approaches, stopping his path.

One that reckons accounts all the day does not pass a happy moment. One that gladdens his heart all the day does not provide for his house.

Do not oppress the heart of him that is already sad.

Fairness is your goal. Speak without favoring one side. Turn your aim toward exact judgments.

Do not plunder the houses of tenants; nor steal the things of a friend.

Quarrelling in place of friendship is a foolish thing.

If you would seek out the nature of a friend, do not ask it of any companion of his; but pass a time with him alone.

Let your face be bright the time you live.

That which goes into the storehouse must come out from there; and bread is to be shared.

He that causes strife comes himself to sorrow. Do not take such a one for your companion.

It is a man's kindly acts that are remembered of him in the years after his life.

Know well your merchants, for the sake of your good reputation.

Set good proverbs in the mouths of the people. They make the pattern whereby folks speak well. Good proverbs instruct a man how he shall speak and excel in speaking. Thus, good fortune may befall him, he shall be gracious and contented. His knowledge shall be his guide into a place of security, wherein he shall prosper while on earth. The scholar who knows them shall be content in his knowledge.

A splendid thing is the obedience of an obedient son.

Obedience demands good-will.

Understanding is the basis of wisdom.

The fool regards good knowledge as ignorance and profitable things are hurtful things.

A fool does all kinds of errors; at chattering speech he marvels.

Let that which you speaks implant true and just things in the life of your children. Then sins shall depart.

Be wary of speech when a learned man listens carefully to you; desire to be established for good in the mouth of those that hear you speaking.

If you have entered as an expert, speak with precision.

Let your heart overflow; but restrain your mouth a bit.

Apply your heart, whatever time you speak, to saying things that are really noble and excellent for you or your reputation.

A good son is of the gift of the Gods; and he does more than is enjoined on him, he does right, and puts his heart into all his goings.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Minimus Worksheet Template, Chapter 2 Part 1

Part 2a

Exclamations: Oh dear, hooray

New Nouns: house, garden, dress, soldier

New Adjectives: dirty, messy, tired, excellent, fat

New Verb: will be

Part 2b

New Nouns: wasp, whale, dolphin, horse, rabbit, pig, dinner, fish sauce

New Adjectives: big, small, very big, very small, friendly, naughty, good, very good, clever, very clever, beautiful, lazy, energetic

Part 2c

New Nouns: elephant, swan, peacock, parrot, fish, bull, dog, cow, hen, fox, cat, frog, badger, bird

Noun Bank: mother, father, daughter, son, small child, cat, mouse, sister, soul, birthday, gift, house, garden, dress, soldier, cloak, wasp, whale, dolphin, horse, rabbit, pig, dinner, fish sauce, elephant, swan, peacock, parrot, fish, bull, dog, cow, hen, fox, cat, frog, badger, bird

Adjective Bank: famous, beautiful, dirty, messy, tired, excellent, fat, big, small, very big, very small, friendly, naughty, good, very good, clever, very clever, beautiful, lazy, energetic

Verb Bank: I am, we are, you are (singular), you are (plural), is, are, will be, I have, sit (plural), come (singular)

Pronouns: I, we, everyone, my

Conjunctions: and, but

Greetings: Hello, Hello (plural), Goodbye, Dear (female), Dear (male), Dearest (female)

Negatives: not

I am (adjective).

You are (adjective.)

(Noun) is (adjective.)

Noun will be (noun/adjective.)

I am (noun/adjective) (and/but) I am (noun/adjective).
(Noun) is (noun/adjective) (and/but) (noun) is (noun/adjective).

I am (noun/adjective) (and/but) (noun) will be (noun/adjective).

(Noun) is (noun/adjective) (and/but) (noun) will be (noun/adjective).

(Noun) will be (noun/adjective) (and/but) (noun) will be (noun/adjective).

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Bonding Practice

In groups of social animals, the most important relationships aside from mother and child are those that form between newly sexually-mature (aka "adolescent") females. Males will come and males will go, but those bonds will form the glue that holds the group together for decades. Humans are not immune to these relationships as history and countless female-buddy books and movies have shown.

But what happens to these adolescent bonding experiences in an era where homosexuality or bisexuality is nothing to fear? Historically, adolescent lesbian experiences have been more common and more tolerated than most modern people would believe, only coming under fire in the early 20th Century. From the looks of this article such tolerance may once again be returning, and with more openness than ever before.

This alleged friend of the interviewees found the article to be exaggerated for publicity, and I have little trouble believing him (scroll down to gerbilfromhell.) Such behavior wasn't unknown in college in the 80s, where many people I and my future husband knew were part of a "cuddle puddle" I called "As the Sheets Turn."

Conservative essayists have been deriding this article as proof we're all going to Hell in a handbasket, but I've yet to see a logical argument for that position. Gerbilfromhell and many others have looked at it and said, "So what's the big deal about someone being queer or bi?" That's a valid point, but it's not what draws my attention. My question is, "What does this say about the power of adolescent female relationships? Will these bonds continue or wither, and what forms will they take in the future?"

The town we live in is the opposite of the New York in this article. New York is rich, urban and "metrosexual". Our town is poor, rural and rabidly heterosexual. A "cuddle puddle" would never be allowed to express itself in public. But my husband was commenting the other day that there has been a major change in how sexual relationships are started among the students. Now it's often not the boy or the girl who initiates the sexual experimentation, but the female friends of the boy and the girl who encourage both parties to have sex with each other. That's a profound shift and I have no idea where it will lead, but it's going to be interesting to see how it develops.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

We're mostly over being sick, but limp as wet noodles. I wanted to take the week off, but Sunshine is on fire about her "bunny workbook" and insisted we do some lessons every day.

Unfortunately this partial hiatus has left me with time to think about virtues. Not to think very well, in my semi-comatose state, but to think about them. You have been warned.

Monday, February 13, 2006

We've had colds last week, so I haven't felt like doing an update for a while.

Sunshine is really taking off in math. I would show her how to do one page of Singapore Earlybird 1b, turn around to help Brighteyes, turn back around and Sunshine would have done the next 10 pages. She finished that workbook in under 2 weeks. We've started on Jumbo Jumpstart Kindergarten, and she's going through it almost as fast. Her writing is much clearer as well. The main problem is taking the workbook away from her before her hand gives out and her handwriting goes down the tubes.

We're starting out with the abacus workbook, on simple Montesori style sorting and recognition math games that Brighteyes and Sunshine can play together. I like them, but Sunshine sometimes enjoys playing them and sometimes doesn't. "Cooperative play" is a concept she's working on.

Brighteyes now has enough stamina to do Draw Write Now once a week without tiring out and spazzing out, so it is back on our Friday lineup.

We got some Teaching Company DVDs recently. I'll review them in a few days. I'm still worn out from the cold.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sumerian Proverbs for Young Children

Copying proverbs and quotations is a big part of classical schooling. You can easily find proverbs from the Bible to copy, but what about other cultures? I'm compiling a list of suitable proverbs from Pagan sources. If you have any you would like me to add, please send them in.

If you lie and then tell the truth, the truth will be considered a lie.

He who walks with truth brings life.

A man who behaves like a damp reed towards his fellow men does not tell the truth either.

When a dishonest boat is sailing, it runs aground.

Wealth is hard to come by, but poverty is always at hand.

He acquires many things, he must keep close watch over them.

He who eats too much will not be able to sleep.

The fox could not build his own house, and so he came to the house of his friend as a building contractor.

All the households of the poor are not equally submissive.

In an open mouth, a fly enters.

Friendship lasts a day, family lasts forever.

"Though I still have bread left over, I will eat your bread!" Will this endear a man to the household of his friend?

What comes from the heart is known by the heart.

A heart never created hatred; speech created hatred.

Marry according to your choice. Have children to your heart's content.

Marrying is human. Having children is divine.

To be sick is acceptable; to be pregnant is painful; but to be pregnant and sick is just too much.

The poor man must always look to his next meal.

The poor man chews whatever he is given.

A scribe who does not know how to grasp the meaning -- from where will he produce a translation?

One does not marry a three-year-old wife, as a donkey does.

Two Akkadians lost a donkey. One went after it while the other wasted the day. The one who just sat around -- the fault was his.

In the city of the lame, the cripple is a messenger.

The house built by the upright man is destroyed by the treacherous man.

The mother of eight young men lies down exhausted.

If a household acquaintance has been exposed to harm, the matter is investigated.

Offerings are the glory of the gods.

He who insults is insulted. He who sneers is sneered at.

If the foreman does not know how to assign the work, his workers will not stop shaking their heads.

A man's personal god is a shepherd who finds pasturage for the man. Let him lead him like sheep to the food they can eat.

The sun never leaves my heart, which surpasses a garden.

When righteousness is cut off, injustice is increased.

What is placed in the fire has a valuable role to play but leaves nothing behind when it's gone.

Says the man lying on the roof to the man living in the house: "It is too bright up here!"

That which the thief has taken was made by an honest man.

The elephant said, "There is nothing like me among all the creatures of the world!" The wren answered, "But I, in my own small way, was created just as you were!"

The lion who lives a life of compassion will receive it.

Nine wolves having caught ten sheep, there was one too many and they did not know how to share out the portions. A fox came along and said: "Let me allocate the portions for you! The nine of you take one sheep. I by myself shall take nine -- this shall be my share!"

The shepherd cannot increase his flock where the wolf takes sheep.

A dog which is played with turns into a puppy.

Strength cannot keep pace with intelligence.

Ignoramuses are numerous in the palace.

Those who live near the water look into the mountains. They don't look in their own direction.

A loving heart builds houses. A hating heart destroys houses.

Don't choose a wife during a festival!

The dishonest man stole silver; the honest man will earn his pay.

A plant as sweet as a husband does not grow in the desert.

After becoming a thief, one becomes an outcast.

Whenever there is excess, an axe remedies it!

A man's waterskin is his life. A man's sandals are his eyes. A man's wife is his supervisor. A man's son is his protective shade. A man's daughter is his eager servant. A man's daughter-in-law is his policeman.

The litter was not apparent to the slave girl. To her mistress it just kept increasing.

I did not answer the curse uttered against me with a curse of my own. My answering a curse would be answered with another curse.

He who carries a light burden can dance.

To eat is good. When it comes up again, it is bad.

A troubled mind makes you sick.

The battle-club does not find out his name, it just finds his flesh.

Talking endlessly is what humankind has most on its mind.

The beloved true commander distributes the leadership.

To be wealthy and demand more is an insult to a god.

In the city with no dogs, the fox is boss.

A disgraced merchant becomes a con-man.

The dog understands: "Take it!" It does not understand: Put it down!

Monday, February 06, 2006


I haven't had time to blog lately. That part of my day has been taken up with making Latin flashcards. The girls have some Imaginarium word blocks with the different parts of speech on different colored blocks: red nouns, blue verbs, green adjectives and yellow miscellaneous. I'm using the same system for the flashcards, with yellow prepositions, purple adverbs and white miscellaneous. Hey, they're six and four years old. I want them to think Latin is fun, not difficult.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Trouble with "Boys"?

I have a problem with this artice's assumption that only boys are high-energy. I have high-energy girls, and where do they fit in this article's equation? They don't belong in a "sit down and shut up" school either. I suspect no child does in reality.

The Ghost Moon

Thank Goddess January is over with. It's all SIDS and ghosts. Almost all the funerals I've been to took place then, with a new one this year. January is a major dent in the Wheel of my Year, bouncing the cart off the path and forcing everything around it to have to work around it's damage. I would do a more concise post about why I dislike January, but I'm just too exhausted. I'm glad we finally waded through it.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Well-Deserved Award

"Doonesbury" creator Garry Trudeau has been presented with the U.S. Department of the Army's Commander's Award for Public Service for his portrayal of B.D.'s struggles. It is well deserved.

B.D. was never one of my favorite charecters, but I've been glued to his journey home for months. Especially now, that he's trying to deal with PTSD. That hits home with me.

I was diagnosed with chronic depression stemming from child abuse as a teenager. For decades I struggled with various therapies and medications, some good and some bad, but something was always missing. A few years ago I was grousing about my troubles on an e-list when a Vietnam veteran told me I had just written the best description of PTSD he'd ever seen.

My jaw hit the floor. It had never occurred to me that I might have PTSD, although in hindsight my childhood home had been a tiny "war zone". The more I looked into it the better it fit. It appears the depression is merely a sympton of the other problem. Knowing that substantially changed my attempts to deal with my chronic illness.

So even though I've never been in combat and I don't drink, I can identify with B.D.'s battles with his demons. For someone with PTSD, it's always darkest after the dawn.