Seventeen years of Treehouse talk

Seventeen years of Treehouse talk

Monday, February 25, 2013

Dollygirl's Grade Six: School plans for Term Two, Week Eight

Week Eight (Feb. 25-Mar. 1):  this week's rough plan
God’s Smuggler pp 218-225, maybe 226-234 "I asked through the [Chinese] interpreter if mice were not a problem.  The old man laughed.  'We have mice,' he said, 'but now we do not mind because there is enough for us and them too.  It wasn't like that Before.'"

Uncle Eric, Chapter 21, “A Model Born of Desperation.” “The only reliable model for achieving substantial wealth and security is to own a healthy business.”

Augustus Caesar's World:  Herod and Mariamne; Triumph and Peace (end of part 2)
We might get to:  Augustus Caesar’s World: Augustus Caesar; The Druids; Tales of the Wild Northwest; A Wedding

Story of Greece chapters 69-78, or as far as we get, beginning with "Alcibiades the Favourite of Athens."

Archimedes and the Door of Science, chapter 9: Archimedes and Numbers

Extra reading:  The Fellowship of the Ring

A History Lesson: Alcibiades and Socrates

Part One:

Introductory questions:  Look at the map of Greece and show the Peloponnesus.  What was the Peloponnesian War?  Who were the main cities involved?  Do you remember the story we read from Plutarch, about Pericles bringing too many people within the city walls for fear of attack, and then a plague coming on them?  We have skipped some of the events of the first part of the war, but eventually the two groups did stop fighting and signed the Peace of Nicias.  This said that they would hold off their fighting for fifty years.
Nicias was an Athenian general and political leader during the Peloponnesian War period. 

But just because they signed the treaty didn't mean they actually got along with each other.  Look at the map again and find Athens, Sparta, and Argos.  Today's lesson is about Argos.

(Map found here.)

Today we also introduce Alcibiades.  Pericles was one of his guardians.  He has been described as beautiful but wild, arrogant, extravagant (but generous), and reckless.

Part Two:  Socrates
What is philosophy?  What philosophers do you know of?  Do you know anything about Socrates?  Socrates' wife was named Xanthippe, which means "Yellow horse."  (Wikipedia says that "Hers is one of many Greek personal names with a horse theme (cf. Philippos: "friend of horses"; Hippocrates: "horse tamer" etc.). The "hippos" in an ancient Greek name often suggested aristocratic heritage."  For instance, the wife of Alcibiades was Hipparete, the daughter of Hipponicus, a wealthy Athenian.) Did Socrates and his wife get along well? 
Answer:  maybe!
Read and narrate "Socrates the Philosopher."

There is one thing you might want to think about, after reading this story.  Plutarch is the writer who says that Socrates was the teacher of Alcibiades.  Another Greek writer says that that wasn't so, that Pericles was his teacher.  If Plutarch possibly was unsure or mixed up about Socrates, why might he still have thought it made sense? 
We will skip the next chapter, which describes Alcibiades' speech from Plato's Symposium.  Even in  a retelling, I just don't find it edifying for very young maidens.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday reading

Life Under Compulsion: The Dehumanities, by Anthony Esolen at Front Porch Republic.  Part of a series mentioned at Suitable for Mixed Company.  
“Here is one,” says the father [of a new baby], “who will possess the capacity to embark upon independent research, who will present arguments that balance claim and counterclaim.”

“Here is one,” says the mother, “who will meet the Common Core Requirement anchor standards and high school grade-specific standards, which work in tandem to define college and career readiness expectations, the former providing broad standards, the latter providing additional specificity.”

I did not make that last sentence up.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

"Ask me, ask me": Teaching in the CM Classroom

"Conference Lessons, Class II," by K.M. Claxton, Parents' Review Volume 26, no. 8, August 1915, pgs. 569-573

Charlotte Mason's form of education is often seen, in fact promoted, as simple, natural, and relaxed.  At one time it was misunderstood by many homeschoolers to be just one step short of unschooling.  In some ways, the "simple and relaxed" idea is quite true.  It definitely takes the pressure off a teacher to understand that the act of learning has to happen in the child's mind; that education is not all about detailed lesson plans and clever activities.  It takes some pressure off the children to realize that they're not expected to complete pages of busywork, and that they're being asked to tell back what they understood from a reading, not answer a slew of questions.

However, there's another side to CM-style lessons that we, being mostly limited to hundred-year-old written descriptions of the curriculum and classes, can sometimes miss.  I haven't yet seen the DVDs of CM teacher Eve Anderson, and the link to the Perimeter Schools site that was offering them seems to be non-functional, so I guess I won't be seeing them anytime soon either.  But from what I've heard, her presentation, for instance, of a Picture Study lesson on Vermeer, was something of a surprise:  CM homeschoolers have commented on how much she talked before she let the children look at the picture.

This lines up quite well with K.M. Claxton's description of what she called a "Picture Talk" lesson, given in 1915 to a demonstration class of 17 (!) children ages 8 to 11 (see the link at the top of this post).  The term's painter was Raphael, and the painting was "The Miraculous Draught of Fishes."

First off, she asked what the children already knew about Raphael (they had already started their term's work so would have done at least a couple of art lessons.)
Second, she told them a story about the history of the painting.  (The story as told in this online book may be closer to the way that Miss Claxton told it.)
Third, she read them the story about the fishes, from the Gospel of St. Luke.
THEN, only then, the children studied the painting and described it.
Miss Claxton gave "a few appreciative words" about the painting.
Finally, the children drew "the chief lines of the composition."

This pattern of asking, and then presenting a bit of something to get the students interested in the lesson, seems a lot to ask of a homeschool parent who might have several children doing different lessons, who might not have read all the books ahead of time, and who and might or might not have any idea herself about the history of any particular Raphael painting; but it seems also to be, unfortunately, the way the Parents' Union School did things.  We can't cross it out just because it is more work for us or because we don't like it.  The original Programmes don't specify or explain much about this, they just give book titles and page counts; but considering that we have seen both a "live" example (Eve Anderson) and written examples (e.g. Miss Claxton), it seems that if we don't present at least some of our lessons in this way, our students will be missing out.  Note the difference here, though, between what Charlotte Mason called "getting up a lesson," meaning that the teacher was the lecturer for the whole lesson, and these outlines, which do require some preparation or a bit of research ahead of time, but which are still book-centered.

Here are more examples from the morning that Miss Claxton spent with these 17 youngsters, none of whom she had ever seen or taught before:

In Natural History, the term's book was Life and Her Children, by Arabella Buckley. (Full text available here.) 
The asking: The children told her what insects they were studying, gave her some examples, and told her the four stages in the life cycle of these insects.  She told them that today they would be learning about different kinds of Two-Winged Insects or "Flies," and asked the children to name the kinds of flies that they knew.
The hook:  Miss Claxton had (bravely, we think) toted along two daddy-long-legs in a jar, and had the children look at some details of their anatomy.
The reading, starting on page 262 (sounds like the children read): 
These "balancers" tell us that the two-winged flies, the gnats, mosquitoes, midges, bluebottles, house-flies, and cattle-flies, are not made on a different plan from the four-winged insects, but are merely flies whose hind wings have lost their size and power, while the front ones have become stronger and larger. This has evidently been no disadvantage in their case, for they have flourished well in the world, and myriads are to be found in every town and country, while their different ways of living are almost as various as there are kinds of fly. Some, such as the daddy-long-legs, suck the juices of plants, some suck animal blood, some live on decaying matter ; while in not a few cases, as among the gadflies, the father is a peaceable sucker of honey while the mother is bloodthirsty.

Among the gnats and mosquitoes the father dies so soon that he does not feed at all, while the mother has a mouth made of sharp lancets, with which she pierces the skin of her victim and then sucks up the juices through the lips. Among the botflies, however, which are so much dreaded by horses and cattle, it is not with the mouth in feeding that the wound is made. In this case the mother has a scaly pointed instrument in the tail,"" which she thrusts into the flesh of the animal so as to lay her eggs beneath its skin, where the young grub feeds and undergoes its change into a fly.

For we must remember that every fly we see has had its young maggot life and its time of rest. Our common house-fly was hatched in a dust heap or a dung heap, or among decaying vegetables, and fed in early life on far less tasty food than it finds in our houses. The bluebottle was hatched in a piece of meat, and fed there as a grub ; and the gadfly began its life inside a horse, its careful mother having placed her eggs on some part of the horse's body which he was sure to lick and so to carry the young grub to its natural warm home. 
 At this point they narrated what had been read so far.  Miss Claxton showed them drawings of the life cycle of the gnat.  They were allowed to examine these and discuss them.

Then two children read this section out loud: 
But of all early lives that of the gnat is probably the most romantic, and certainly more pleasant than those of most flies. When the mother is ready to lay her eggs she flies to the nearest quiet water, and there, collecting the eggs together with her long hind legs, glues them into a little boat-shaped mass and leaves them to float. In a very short time the eggs are hatched and the young grubs swim briskly about, whirling round some tufts of hair which grow on their mouths, and so driving microscopic animals and plants down their throats. Curiously enough they all swim head downwards and tail upwards (g, Fig. 90), and the secret of this is that they are air-breathing animals and have a small tube at the end of their tail, which they thrust above water to take in air.

This goes on for about a fortnight, when, after they have changed their skins three times, they are ready to remodel their bodies. Then on casting their skin for the fourth time they come out shorter and bent and swathed up, but still able to swim about though not to eat. Meanwhile a most curious change has taken place. The tail tube has gone, and two little tubes (p t, Fig. 90) have grown on the top of the back, and through them the tiny pupa now draws in its breath as it wanders along. At last the time comes for the gnat to come forth, and the pupa stretches itself out near the top of the water, with its shoulders a little raised out of it. Then the skin begins to split, and the true head of the gnat appears and gradually rises, drawing up the body out of its case. This is a moment of extreme danger, for if the boat-like skin were to tip over it would carry the gnat with it, and in this way hundreds are drowned but if the gnat can draw out its legs in safety the danger is over. Leaning down to the water he rests his tiny feet upon it, unfolds and dries his beautiful scale-covered wings, and flies away in safety.
Finally Miss Claxton showed them some empty pupa cases, and asked them to narrate the life-history of the gnat, which they did.  They all promised to go out and look for gnat eggs and larvae.

The world history lesson that Miss Claxton taught was based on two chapters of The Awakening of Europe, one of the Story of the World volumes by M.B. Synge.  I won't go over all the things she asked them (you can read the article yourself), but she did have a few questions about what they already knew.  She described one of the main characters and showed them a portrait.  I think because it was a one-shot class, she decided to read to them first from Chapter 1, and had them narrate.  Then she showed them a map (drawn on the blackboard) with certain towns marked, and as well as pointing them out, she mentioned which ones had been in the news recently (this was during World War I).  Then she read them the later chapter on "The Siege of Leyden" and possibly a bit from the next chapter (it's not quite clear where she stopped.)  The lesson finished with another narration.

The pattern begins to appear, and you know, it's something that's not all that hard for us in the 21st century to copy--easier, in some ways.  I don't have to fill up boxes of clipped pictures, or spend that time hand-drawing a map. At the click of the keyboard, I can access the portrait of a king, the map of a battle site, or the photograph (if I can't find the real thing) of a gnat pupa.  Do you notice how relatively short the readings are, too?  This is not onerous study.  And we all know that a lesson should be narrated, right?  However, it does seem also to be expected that the children are going to be able to tell you the what's and who's of what they've learned previously, and I think sometimes we, the parent-teachers, might slip back in that area.  It's okay to ask them.  Miss Claxton said so.

(It's also interesting to compare Miss Claxton's notes with those of another teacher using different chapters, same books.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Creative Narration?


Over the years I have seen a lot of Squirreling narrations done with toys: Barbies, Fisher-Price Little People, 18-inch dolls.  But I was especially impressed with Dollygirl's casting choices for "Themistocles is Ostracized": two felt dolls, plus a vinyl velociraptor for King Artaxerxes.

Not a bad metaphor, really!

Linked from the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Quote for the day: why writers write

This is kind of a quote within a quote within a quote.  It's from a review of Katherine Paterson's book Gates of Excellence, in which she quotes from both Edith Hamilton (who is quoting from Hesiod) and Charles Schultz.  Gates of Excellence is where I first heard (years ago) of Children of the Fox, which I tracked down and read, and which I then had to "sweat" to get through ILL so that we could use it in school this year.
At the beginning of the book, when Paterson is asked when she wanted to be a writer, she explains that it was her love of reading that made her want to “get inside the process (Paterson, p. 2)” not that she ever wanted to be a writer at all. In this opening essay, she shares two items in her office that apparently protect her from her “terror of mediocrity.” One is a Greek quote borrowed from Edith Hamilton which also provides the title for this collection:

Before the gates of excellence
The high gods have placed sweat (Ibid, p. 3).

The other is a mounted Charles Schultz cartoon of Snoopy typing, “It was a dark and stormy night.” Snoopy then remarks, “Good writing is hard work.” I’m not sure the Greeks actually said “sweat” but the point is both remind her that she is a worker, not a part of some gifted group bestowing their words on “less fortunate mortals (Ibid p.3).”

Monday, February 18, 2013

I almost forgot! Today is...

Our eighth blog birthday.

Yay!

Come on up and celebrate with us.  You are all welcome!

Quote for the day: Stuck in a pepper-box?

"None of you girls, I hope, will ever think yourselves too fine, or too cultivated, to attend to your domestic duties, or even, if need be, to turn up your sleeves and pin on an apron, and toss off some dainty little dish which may stimulate the appetite of the weary or the sick:  for even in such humble services as these you may be pleasing and serving the Lord as truly and devoutly as in any act of public worship.  But I also hope that you will not forget that there are still higher duties than these; that in ministering to the spirit you do more and better than in ministering to the body.  For if there is one creature more pitiable than the fine lady who cannot condescend to the cares of the table or the house, it is the woman who degrades herself into a mere kitchen drudge, and whose soul seems never to get out of the pepper-box and the salt-cellar." ~~"The Best Dish," in The bird's nest, and other sermons for children of all ages, by Samuel Cox, 1886

Dollygirl's Grade Six: Plans for this week

Week Seven (Feb. 18-22, we have Monday off in Ontario for Family Day; also The Apprentice will be around for part of the week, so we will be spending time with her.  Also, Dolllygirl and Mr. Fixit have been spending a lot of time in the workshop, so sometimes we don't get done all the readings we had planned.  But learning to solder is a good life skill.)

Readalouds this week:  Children of the Fox (last third of the book, about the exile of Themistocles); The Fellowship of the Ring

Tuesday

Bible

Story of Greece, chapter 55, "Themistocles is Ostracized."  "'O king,' answered the exile, 'I am Themistocles the Athenian, drven into banishment by the Greeks.  I come with a mind suited to my present calamities; prepared alike for favours and for anger.  if you save me you will save your suppliant; if otherwise, you will destroy an enemy of the Greeks.'"

French

Bird guide

Uncle Eric, Chapter 18: "What is Success?"  "What is the best model for earning money and for keeping it?  In my next several letters I will write about earning it, then in my final letters about keeping it."  Uncle Eric feels that having "a big income" (his phrase) can be a positive thing if it's earned honestly and used well.  What are the drawbacks he points out?  How does this agree or disagree with what the Bible teaches about money and wealth?

Math

Readalouds

Reading homework:  Greek Culture: Temple on a Hill, by Anne Rockwell, pages 45-66

Wednesday

Bible

Story of Greece:  Chapters 56 & 57, about Pericles.

French

Uncle Eric:  Chapter 19, "A Short History of Models for Success."  "Originally there were two models.  One was to work for the king...the government...The other model for success was to own a business....in most cases, a farm....but suddenly, in the 20th century, after all the thousands of years of human history, it was possible to be financially successful and comfortable by working for someone else--by being an employee."  Make a list of ten adult characters from books you have read, especially those who lived in times past.  What did they do for a living?

Math

Readalouds

(Volunteer afternoon)

Thursday  

God’s Smuggler, chapter 20:  Brother Andrew visits China.

Music

Augustus Caesar's World:  A Turning Point; The Love Story Ends.  

French  

Bird guide  

Archimedes:  work on chapters 7 & 8  

Readalouds  

Reading homework:  Greek Culture: Temple on a Hill, by Anne Rockwell, pages 66-84

Friday

Bible

Augustus Caesar's World: Herod and Mariamne; Triumph and Peace (end of Part II).

French

Story of Greece, chapter 58, "The City of Athens."  "In 479 B.C. the Persians had reduced Athens to ruins.  Fifty years later she had been built anew and adorned with temples and statues that made her the wonder of the world."  Writing assignment:  you are visiting Athens in about 430 B.C., when all this building had been completed.  Write home and describe what you have seen.  (Illustrate your letter if you want.)

Music

Archimedes: work on chapters 7 & 8

Readalouds

Timeline work

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dollygirl's Grade Six: School plans for this week

Week Six (Feb. 11-15)

Bible reading

God’s Smuggler, chapter 19 (pp 205-212)

Uncle Eric Talks About Personal, Career, and Financial Security, chapter 17, "How to Get Started Learning Models" (end of part 1). Something to think about: how many models have you already adopted without realizing it? (Some people call them “habits.”)

Minds on Math 8, pages 184-193 Percent (Wiarton Willie) Practice problems; groundhog predictions; Thousand Islands; practice problems; discounts combined with sales tax   I printed out some extra decimal practice pages from Math Mammoth Grade 5.

Natural History: read from local bird guide or from the book about owls

Augustus Caesar’s World:  Herod King of the Jews; To Athens and Return; The Future Empress; The Siege of Jerusalem; A Turning Point

Archimedes and the Door of Science, chapter 7: Archimedes and Mathematics

Exploring Creation with Astronomy, pages 147-148. Send someone an email telling what you remember from these readings (bottom of page 148).
Exploring Creation with Astronomy, pages 149- most of 151. Explain what you know about galaxies in your own words (page 151).
Exploring Creation with Astronomy, pages 151-155. Draw a picture of something amazing in space.

Story of Greece, chapters 53-55 (about Pausanias and Themistocles)
and
Children of the Fox, by Jill Paton Walsh (stories of three children who, separately, become involved in the life of Themistocles)

Readaloud:  If we have time, we may start The Fellowship of the Ring.

Friday, February 08, 2013

What's up in the Treehouse? (A Snowie Day) (updated)



(Words to the poem are here)

If you didn't get the hint from the Loreena McKennitt video and the Lampman poem, it's a snow day here as well as in many other places.  And it's not just snow on the ground: that stuff is still coming down.

So Ponytails doesn't have high school, and none of the rest of us had plans to go anywhere this morning.  The Apprentice is at her university, which is also closed because of snow.

Mr. Fixit's surgery was a month ago tomorrow, and while he hasn't had any complications, it's taken him the whole month to start feeling like his insides (and outsides) are getting back to normal.

Mama Squirrel is happy because the very-hard-to-find Children of the Fox arrived at the library this week, and now we get to read it. (Kirkus review here.)

Highlights of our various school weeks:

The Apprentice helped dissect a brain.  She says that it's amazing that that thing can be inside a human head.

Ponytails started her new semester.  She has classes in English, math, Canadian history (all required credits), and photography.  The English class will be studying Life of Pi, Romeo and Juliet, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Dollygirl helped clean, solder, and paint a radio, and discovered that she is amazing at making tissue-paper flowers.  (Photo to come.)

Things to do on a Snow Day:  Dollygirl's private-schooled friend came over so that they could "do homework" together. I gave Dollygirl some extra math pages to do, and she helped quiz her friend with some French work. After making (and eating) some microwave S'mores, they put all their snow things back on and headed to the friend's house to play in a sort of igloo they are building in her back yard. Dollygirl is staying for supper, which is probably a good thing since she can stay put there for awhile, and it's still snowing and blowing.

Dollygirl's Grade Six: School this week (updated again)

Monday

Bible reading: Proverbs 4

Math: Key to Decimals, pages about metric measurement (metric is a great vehicle for applying skills in decimal arithmetic).  Is a big snake more likely to be 1.9 mm long, 1.9 cm long, or 1.9 m long?  (If you're scared of a 1.9 cm snake, you really need help.)

Augustus Caesar’s World: Herod the Fugitive.  Herod shows up at Alexandra, looking for Antony's help because the Parthians have just taken over Jerusalem.  Unfortunately, Antony has just left Alexandria himself.  Herod is determined to track him down, and he has nowhere else to go anyway, so he ignores the weather warnings and heads for Rome.

Story of Greece: Read chapter 44, "The Dream of Xerxes," independently, and narrate. (It's short.)

Science:  Archimedes and the Door of Science, chapter 6: Archimedes and Astronomy. Supplementary reading: Exploring Creation with Astronomy, pages 142-155.
Today: Read Archimedes and the Door of Science, pages 70-72, independently and narrate. Also read (together) Exploring Creation with Astronomy, pages 142-most of 144.  This was interesting!  We are going to look for Polaris tonight or whenever it's clear enough.

Two chapters of Crystal Mountain.  Boadie and Danny make friends with Edmund's abused puppy, in hopes that they can encourage it to run away (because dognapping it would be wrong, but if it just suddenly decided to make a break for it, and they just happened to be there to find it...?).

Free time: lots of playing in the snow.  

Tuesday

Walking with Bilbo (devotional)

Augustus Caesar’s World: Virgil and Isaiah.  Everyone was hoping for a Messiah.

Math:  more metric units.

Story of Greece: Read together chapter 45, "Xerxes Orders The Hellespont to be Scourged." That'll teach you.

Science:  read Archimedes and the Door of Science pages 73-75, and narrate. Also read Exploring Creation with Astronomy, pages 144-146, about supernovas and the Crab Nebula

Time with Dad:  taking apart a radio.  Spray painting it pink.  (This one isn't for sale.)

Crystal Mountain:  Miss Mariam tells the story of the old ruined house.

Wednesday

Reading from Proverbs

Math: Metric units

Crystal Mountain.

Augustus Caesar’s World: Octavia Weds Antony
Story of Greece: Read together chapters 46, "The Bravest Men of all Hellas," 47, "The Battle of Thermopylae

Working with Dad on the radio project

Thursday

God’s Smuggler pp 198-204 Brother Andrew and his new partner bring Bibles to Moscow...but who is the green-uniformed person who seems to be watching them?

Usborne Book of World History pages 72-73: What We Owe the Greeks (including a short discussion about the Greek New Testament and English words with Greek roots)

Story of Greece:  Chapter 48, The Battle of Artemisium; and all the chapters about the Battle of Salamis, through the departure of Xerxes' army for Persia.  We have one more chapter to read, about Pausanias, and then we are going to take a week off from this book to read Children of the Fox, which finally arrived through inter-library loan.  Yay!

Chapters from Crystal Mountain.

Spent a good part of the day making tissue-paper flowers from a Klutz kit (brand new at the thrift store).
Friday (it's a school snow day, but we do have to get some school done)

Math:  finish the page on metric units.
Crystal Mountain:  finished!

Story of Greece: Two chapters about Pausanias and the Battle of Plataea.

Science:  Read Archimedes and the Door of Science pages 76-80 and narrate.

Other activities this week:

Swimming lesson 
Drama club  (pre-empted by snow)

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

What rainy day are YOU saving for?

Maybe not the same one as these people:

"MONTREAL - An online poll has found that Canadians were planning to save almost $10,000 this year, but 66 per cent say they're tucking the money away for vacations, luxury items and entertainment."

More here.

They should probably read the Snowball Effect article in The Complete Tightwad GazetteAbout the Allbrights and the Smucksters?

P.S.  Here's a different twist on the Allbrights--they do everything right, but then the government gets its hands in their pockets. [2018 update: I loved this, but the site seems to have disappeared. Sorry.]

Monday, February 04, 2013

Tracking down "the twins" and "Lord Reay" (Charlotte Mason)

I don't know if anyone's ever bothered to track down "the twins" that Charlotte Mason mentions in the "Supplementary" (epilogue) section of Towards a Philosophy of Education.  You know, the ones who have such great schooling but such a poor education?

Anyway, it turns out that the book she had read must have been
Francis and Riversdale Grenfellby John Buchan (yes, that John Buchan), published in 1920. 

The sad part is that they were both killed in the war.  Charlotte kind of alludes to this but doesn't say it straight out; maybe she assumes that her 1923 readers would all be familiar with the story.

"It was on this visit that Rivy heard Mr. Balfour and Lord Rayleigh praising Alice in Wonderland. Deeply impressed, he bought the book as soon as he returned to London and read it earnestly. To his horror he saw no sense in it. Then it struck him that it might be meant as nonsense, and he had another try, when he concluded that it was rather funny. But he remained disappointed. He had hoped for something that would afford political enlightenment."

P.S.  Here's another tiny tidbit for CM marker-uppers:  in the above quote, at least in the paperback version, it says "Mr. Balfour and Lord Reay."  The full text shows "Lord Rayleigh," and that's what it should be, I'm pretty sure.  There was a Lord Reay, but since a) Lord Rayleigh was Mr. Balfour's son-in-law and b) the e-text of Buchan's book has it as Rayleigh, I think that's right.  And if you're wondering why CM's lapse in names matters, it seems to me that the winner of a Nobel prize in physics, not to mention the man who finally explained why the sky is blue, deserves to have his name (or at least his title) down right.