Sunday, March 27, 2011

Backyard Bugs . . . A 2 for 1 Post

Golden Net-winged Beetle . . . Dr. J spotted this guy while we were hiking down Bark Camp Creek Trail (which I think is one of the prettiest trails in Kentucky).

The Velvet Ant . . . also tellingly known as a Cow Killer. It is not actually an ant, but a wingless (at least the female) wasp. And the sobriquet Cow Killer is for a good reason.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Retake Results Round 1

Based on the retests that have been turned in, I can honestly exclaim that our little trip around the world is already a resounding success. Pretty much everyone has turned in a score of 100% for the retakes. Now I realize that the US states and Canadian provinces will be the easiest and most familiar to everyone. However, for the 11 people who retook the US states quiz there was an average increase of 13 percentage points, and for the 15 people who retook the Canadian provinces quiz there was an average increase of 19 percentage points! Great job everyone.
And because of all of those high scores, my expectations have changed. So, for all of the future retests I expect no less than 100%. That means you will learn the country locations. The great Oz has spoken!

Remember that the second round (the Central America & part of Caribbean retest and the South American retest) will be due next Friday, which is April 1st.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Exploring Kentucky

Dudeboy and I travelled to our state capitol of Frankfort for a homeschool day at the Kentucky Historical Society. The theme was "Exploring Kentucky." In addition to the exhibits, there was a historical interpretation about frontiersman Daniel Trabue, a hands-on-history lesson, and a tour of the Old State Capitol. We barely scratched the surface of what we wanted to see in Frankfort, so I dare say we will be returning in the near future.

Dudeboy standing near the spot where William Goebel was shot in 1900. He is the only governor in US history to be assassinated.

State senator Dudeboy in the senate chamber . . .

The famous self-supporting staircase . . . Dudeboy was quite taken with the architecture of the Old State Capitol. Don't get him started about the Ionic columns.

Working hard in the House of Representatives . . .

Friday, March 18, 2011

While You Were Toiling Today . . .

Dudeboy and I joined a small group of adventurers (including Uncle Vic and Mr. Kentucky Outdoors) to the Lake Malone area to look for wild flowers, natural arches and waterfalls. Check off all three!

Friday, March 11, 2011


Saturday we left for Mississippi on our spring break. First we visited the Meriwether Lewis Monument and burial site on the Natchez Trace where he killed himself. It made me sad because he accomplished so many great things but still thought his life wasn't worth living.

Then we went to Ivy Green, the home of Helen Keller, where we saw the closet where she locked her mother inside, and the famous pump where she "spoke" her first word.

Next day we went to a Civil War relic show in Corinth, and toured the Battle of Corinth, where we saw Battery F and Battery Robinett. Later we hiked to the Beauregard Line which is one of the best preserved Civil War earthworks in existence.

The Colonel William P. Rogers Memorial, Battery Robinett, Corinth . . .

Earthworks at the Beauregard Line . . .

We went to Shiloh the next day where we toured the battlefield and saw the positions held by the 9th KY and later saw a very big eagle's nest.

Marker for the 9th Ky Union . . .

Sadly to say the next day I was very sick. One day later I was up to going to Brice's Crossroads which was one of the most decisive routs of the Civil War where Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry put the "skeer" in a much larger force.

Then we went to what was left of the old Shipp place (a house built by Felix Grundy Shipp, my great-great-great grandfather) which is now piles of bricks and crumpled tin sheets full of nails. It supposedly was what the house in some Faulkner stories was based on, including Absalom, Absalom. Then we went to Rowan Oak, the house of William Faulkner, which looked almost like the old Shipp house. The next day we returned home.

(Above) The Old Shipp Place just a few years before arsonists burned it down and (Below) all that is left of the Old Shipp Place today . . .

Rowan Oak . . .

Friday, March 4, 2011

Kingdom of Fife Geography Challenge

Now that we have received most of the pre-test geography quizzes, we can get started in earnest. We won't announce the winner of the pre-test until everyone has turned in their scores. However, I can say that Adonis (William S.) has posted the overall high score of 91%. The young geographers will have their own division apart from us mature-like people.

So, here is the plan . . . there will be an overall and young geographer winner for Best Pretest. There will be an overall and young geographer winner for Most Improved After the Retakes. And there will be a winner (for those who want to continue) of the Uber-Geography Test at the end. This test will be blank maps . . . just country outlines. You will have to label each country without looking at any list or reference. And everyone who participates through all of the retakes will receive a nifty certificate suitable for framing!

Because some have requested extensions on quizzes, we will have a Retake Test every two weeks. So, if this is fine with everyone, the schedule will follow as such:
  • The First Retake will be due by March 18th, and it will cover the Canadian Provinces quiz and the States of the US quiz.
  • The Second Retake will be due by April 1st, and it will cover the Central American & part of Caribbean quiz and the South American quiz.
  • The Third Retake will be due by April 15th, and it will cover the Europe quiz.
  • The Fourth Retake will be due by April 29th, and it will cover the African quiz.
  • The Fifth Retake will be due by May 13th, and it will cover the Middle East quiz.
  • The Sixth Retake will be due by May 27th, and it will cover the Asia quiz.
  • The Seventh Retake will be due by June 7th, and it will cover the dreaded Australia and Oceania quiz.
We will then determine when to take the Uber-Geography Test and the winners for all of the categories.