Seventeen years of Treehouse talk

Seventeen years of Treehouse talk

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Ecology of AO Year Eight (Part Two)

Part One is here. 

The work for this school year takes a key thought from Whatever Happened to Justice, chapter 14, "The Human Ecology." "The two fundamental laws are part of the fabric of the universe, like the laws of physics and chemistry. Where these laws...are obeyed, life gets better."

So that gives us two important books right there:  Whatever Happened to Justice?, by Richard J. Maybury, and Exploring the World Around You, by Gary Parker (not on the AO list).  Parker's book on ecology is one of the Master Book series that includes Exploring the History of Medicine, which means it's about as Creationist as you're going to get.  Normally I do not try so hard to find Creationist-oriented science books, but concepts like survival are very fundamental, and it's important that we serve them right side up in the first place. Do we live in a kill-or-be-killed world? Do we want to live in one?  And how does global warming and that stuff fit into what we believe about Creation, about God?  A third key book for this year, discussing similar questions and other really big stuff, is How to Be Your Own Selfish Pig, which is listed now for AO Year 7 but which Dollygirl hasn't read yet.  And don't forget  How to Read a Book, which, this year, deals a lot with arguments and propositions.  Some of the writing assignments for this year tie well into the ideas from these books: there will be a speech, a newspaper article, and two essays, all of which can draw on the world and its problems of environmental and human ecology.

It's also a perfect time to read Ecclesiastes, and that's scheduled at the end of the year.

The rest of science for this year will be divided between two of Dr. Jay Wile's Apologia textbooks: the parts of Physical Science that deal with the earth's atmosphere, water, weather etc.; and the last four modules of General Science, about human physiology.  There will be some other nature reading, keeping a nature notebook, and making notes about the Apologia experiments and lessons.

We will be reading Edith Hamilton's Mythology, just for a change. I think Dollygirl will also enjoy Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves (The Faerie Queene Book I), by Edmund Spenser and Roy Maynard.

Through history and literature we get to see how these ideas play out:  the problems of North American colonization and different groups of people trying to live together (who was here first?) can be compared with similar issues raised in Kon-Tiki and our other geography book, Journey to the Source of the Nile by Sir Christopher Ondaatje (not in the Ambleside schedule).  There are  the life-and-death questions that John Donne raises (adults might want to read Philip Yancey's chapter on Donne in his book Soul Survivor, which gives it a rather poignant context); and the problems of government and justice in The Merchant of Venice, in the trial and death of Charles I, in the story of Sir Thomas More, in Plutarch's Lives, and in the novels of Sir Walter Scott. 

And on top of that, we get to use The Roar on the Other Side: a Guide for Student Poets.  If you did The Grammar of Poetry in Year 7 and feel a bit burned out by iambic pentameter, this book is an oasis on the poetic desert.  Plus it has enough hands-on writing exercises to qualify as a good chunk of a course in Creative Writing.  Plus it has a whole bunch of extra poems in the back.

Things come together.  The connections are there without our having to force them.

Related Post:  Ten Things I'm Doing to Plan Year Eight Better.

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