History, Art, Silliness, and Discussions on Canon

We are getting back into the swing of things after our winter holiday break. We finally completed Story of the World – Ancient Times and moved on to…

Story of world middle ages

Story of the World – The Middle Ages

This book picks up at the fall of the Roman Empire and has taken us north, into Britain, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. We have the Teacher/Activity Guide to this book, which makes things a little more interesting. I read the Review Questions for that particular segment, then read the selection, then ask the questions.

This is new for both of us. I had simply been reading the selection and not really talking about it with her, and she seems to enjoy listening to the questions, remembering the answers, and getting them right at the end.

There are also maps, crafts, and suggested reading and I’ve explained to her that as she progresses through the books (the first time through I will be doing most of the reading), she will get more and more out of them. “By the 3rd time through, you will be using the passages as a stepping stone to reading the additional literature listed and learning more that way.”

We are both enjoying these books immensely. They give info in nice clean bites which invite more reading and/or discussion. Lately she has been working on some maps or drawing what we are talking about as I read to her.

Here is an example…King Ethelbert of Britain meeting Augustine (sent by the pope to convert the Angles, Saxons and Celts over to Christianity)…

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Email Silliness

And just so you can have a good laugh, here is a picture of Em while composing and sending an email…

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When I posted an update on Facebook I got the following responses…

“Safety first.”

“Keyboards can be really germy. I respect her decision.”

And my favorite…

“She’s obviously heard about viruses in emails!”

Is It Canon?

I love that Em is finally at the age where I can use sophisticated words and ideas and she can truly follow along. We had a conversation the other day that crossed over from “why isn’t there a Spider Girl?” to a discussion on writing in a known universe and following canon, the rules of the universe created by an author.

I explained that canon refers to a set of known, accepted facts – for example, Spiderman’s Peter Parker is an orphan, who is raised by his aunt and uncle. He has no siblings. Em really wanted to write a story in which she is his sibling, preferably his twin, and I had to explain how if she were to write within an already established fictional universe, she would need to follow canon, so Peter Parker couldn’t suddenly have a sibling, or a twin, unless she had a way of explaining certain questions that arose such as…

If Peter Parker had a sibling, why didn’t we ever hear of his sister before?

Why would his aunt and uncle take him in and not her?

This spurred a very spirited discussion that included some inventive troubleshooting by my lively 8-year-old. She really, REALLY wanted the storyline to work. At one point, I reassured her, “I’m not telling you it can’t be done, I’m merely pointing out the flaws, so that your story can be improved and be functional within canon.”

This is what my child gets for having a mother who is a writer!

Despite my arguments, and throwing out other possibilities and plot twists, she didn’t lose her enthusiasm. A good sign indeed. Who knows, I may end up raising TWO writers!

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