Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Nobel Prize Winner is....

Wait a minute, where did that name come from?

Alfred Bernhard Nobel was born in Stockholm, Sweden, 21 October 1833. He was not a strong child and his doting mother lovingly nursed him to health. At the age of nine his parents moved to St. Petersburg, Russia. Alfred studied Chemistry with Nikolay Nikolaevich Zinin and continued his studies in the same field even after moving to the United States at the age of eighteen. His studies in chemistry brought him to the study of explosives and eventually to the ‘safer’ manufacture and use of nitroglycerine. Unfortunately a powerful explosion at their factory in Heleneborg in Sweden on September 3 , 1864 took the lives of five people. Among them Alfred’s younger brother Emil.
It is interesting to note that Alfred Nobel became quite proficient in six languages despite lacking a formal middle and highschool education. He spoke Swedish, French, Russian, English, German and Italian. He also held held 355 different patents with dynamite being the most famous.

There were several women in Alfred Nobel’s life, but none of these relationships ever lead to marriage or children. His work was his true love in the end and when he wrote his last will in 1895 he left much of his wealth to the foundation which bestows the famous ‘Nobel’ prizes. The first prize was given in 1901 to Henry Dunant, founder of the Red Cross, who shared it with Frédéric Passy. The Nobel prize honors outstanding achievements in chemistry, literature, medicine, physics for work in peace and now economics.
Alfred Nobel was only 63 years old when he passed away in 1896 in Sanremo, Italy.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Could someone just give me the answers? Please???

Today I had an interesting conversation with another homeschool mother. I respect her opinions and she has 5 kids, the way I figured it she'd have that answer. You know  what I'm talking about, right? I mean THE answer. For you, THE answer might be for a different thing. For me it was: Drum roll please and some dramatic music..... climaxing.... climaxing....

Cursive Handwriting
Well, this 'handwriting' thing is leaving me 'handwringing' and the way I saw it, the other mom, experienced as she is, had the answer. Or so I thought. Dang that woman.... I feel no wiser now that I did before.  Didn't someone give her the memo? The memo that says: If you have five kids and are homeschooling you know all the answers?  But at the end, she really is the wise one. Her recommendation is to listen to my heart and that, at the end of the day, I know my kid best.

You see, my daughter is a south-paw and the cursive she learned in third grade in school was just about the only thing she hated about school. She has a decent print handwriting but her cursive is well, let's say degrading quickly.  Yes, I could sit her down once a week and force her to write cursive. However, I have a feeling that it would be a thing she would deeply resent in addition to wasting hours of our time which would be better spent studying something else. Now, the question is, why do I feel so strongly about this? After all, as long as she can read cursive just fine, and write legibly why would her ability to write cursive make one bit of difference? That's the part I am not sure about. There are plenty of 'learned men and women' who have a lot to say about this, both in favor of cursive and against it. And to be honest, both make some good points. So, do I feel like I ought to teach her cursive simply because it's what her father and I learned? Is it because when I look at some things other people have written I always observe their handwriting? We see approximately 1,000 -1,200  people's handwriting in our company each year. Is it because a good neat handwriting conveys a sense of being educated and thorough? Or are all these preconceived notions a thing of the past. A thing of the 'we grew up without word processors and spell check' past.

What do you think? Where do you stand on the 'Cursive' vs. 'Print' Issue?