Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Halloween Week History: The History of Halloween and Turnip Jack O' Lanterns

“Oh!—fruit loved of boyhood!—the old days recalling,
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!” 
-John Greenleaf Whittier, "The Pumpkin" (1850)
Pumpkin carving is thought to come from the British Isles, where turnips, mangelwurzel or beets were used.

Turnip lanterns, sometimes with faces carved into them, were made on the Gaelic festival of Samhain (31 October–1 November) in the 19th century in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. Samhain was a time when fairies and spirits were said to be active.
The purpose of these lanterns may have been to light one's way while outside on Samhain night or to protect oneself and one's home from the spirits and otherworldly beings,
Comparison of a small pumpkin (back) and a carved turnip (foreground).
 although I can't imagine too much light being produced by a turnip with a candle.

Immigrants from Britain and Ireland brought the tradition to North America. There, the pumpkin replaced the turnip as pumpkins were more readily available, bigger, and easier to carve, which Sam can attest to this being a fact.
In keeping with this tradition, Sam decided to carve a turnip this year instead of a pumpkin.
Some tips in case you ever decide to try it. 
Begin with the largest turnip you can find.
Start by slicing a little off the bottom to make it sit evenly, and slice a bit off the top to make a surface to begin digging out.
Use a melon baller or a heavy ice cream scoop to dig out the center of the turnip.
You don't have much surface to make a face with, so keep that in mind when you decide on the design you will make.
Sam's Owl lantern made from a turnip, 2012

Source: Wikipedia
This post was originally posted October 31, 2012

Monster Meatloaf for Halloween

Halloween 2016
This has quickly become our Halloween dinner tradition. You can use any meatloaf recipe you wish, but make it slightly more soft to make it easier to sculpt. You can do this by adding a bit more liquid in the form of an extra egg or additional ketchup or barbecue sauce or even milk. I used this recipe this year, from Fabulessly Frugal but the kids thought the texture was too soft, so I will add a bit less barbecue sauce or egg next year.

Basic BBQ Meatloaf Recipe
3/4 cup BBQ Sauce
1 pound of ground Beef/Turkey
1/2 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs
1 Egg
Salt & Pepper
Or, maybe I will try this recipe from The Food Network (which I slightly modified): 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add onion and garlic, saute until softened, about 5 minutes; set aside to cool.
Mix eggs with thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, Worchestershire, pepper sauce, and milk or yogurt. Add egg mixture to meat in a large bowl, along with crackers, oatmeal or bread crumbs, parsley and cook onions and garlic; mix with a fork until evenly blended and meat mixture does not stick to bowl. (If mixture does stick, add additional milk, a couple tablespoons at a time, and continue stirring until mixture stops sticking.)
Turn meat mixture onto a work surface. With wet hands, pat mixture into desired shaped meatloaf. Brush loaf with all of glaze, then arrange bacon slices around the meatloaf, crosswise, over loaf, overlapping them slightly and tucking them under to prevent curling.
Bake loaf until bacon is crisp and loaf registers 160 degrees, about 1 hour. Cool for at least 20 minutes. Slice and serve
Halloween 2017

The general instructions for making your meatloaf into a monster meatloaf is to sculpt the meatloaf into a skull shape. Cut an onion into vaguely tooth shaped pieces and place in the mouth area of your monster meatloaf. If you wish to make your eyes like the meatloaf above, you will need a hard-boiled egg. Cut it in half and place into the eye socket that you have made into the meatloaf flat side down. Carefully carve out a round hole in the center of each eye egg so that it will fit a green olive, which you place so that the pimiento can form the pupil. Wrap bacon around the exposed areas of the meatloaf. Bake as your meatloaf recipe says, or until the bacon crisps.

It goes fast!

Martin Luther and his 95 Theses

There is no issue that is more at the heart of the Catholic-Protestant separation than that of Martin Luther and his 95 Theses. Some shy away from it in fear of this confrontation. Others say it is undeniably one of the most important historical moments in history. Regardless of one's stand, most have only read a modern translation or a condensed version which tells the reader what Luther meant by the things he has said.

I have found it best to have my students, once they reach high school, to actually read all of the 95 Theses. Whatever you and your students take from it, and however personal it is, I can almost guarantee that you will get something from reading it. Before you or your student sits down to read them, however, regardless of where you stand on the Catholic-Protestant issue, try to clear your mind of anything you have ever read or heard of about them, because it is important to approach them with a fresh, open mind. This is why I do not spend much time on the issue, only stating the facts that this was a point in history when there was a separation in the Christian church, until my students are old enough to be able to do this assignment. They need to be old enough to read the Theses with as little help as possible, (preferably no help) in understanding what is written. It would be best if it could be read in its original Latin, but we have not been able to learn sufficient Latin in order to do this assignment in Latin. A good translation of the Theses can be found at the Georgetown site.  I like it because it is a more direct translation than most, which try to clean up his writing. For example, it has his original numbering and it has Luther's repetition of "again" as his theses 82-85 (translation numbering), which often gets cut in translations (example of this can be found here.)

The assignment is quite simple really. As your student goes through the readings (more than one reading is preferable) have him make notes on what Luther is saying, writing down these in the student's own words. Have your student make a notation on where the concept he is noting is stated in Luther's text. If Luther says the same concept more than once, have your student write down where the concept is written each time it is stated. Although simple, this assignment is difficult and so you will need to give your student as much time as he needs to do this thoroughly, or it is not worth doing at all.  Other aspects that could be explored include seeing if your student can draw from Luther's word choices what he was feeling as he was writing them? What was his emotional state? Why do you think this? 

It is a good idea for you, as their teacher, to do this assignment yourself before you give the assignment to your student so that you can have a better understanding of how difficult it is to accomplish. Besides, I believe that it is an important thing to do for everyone as this topic is mentioned so much and talked about so much, but few have actually read them thoroughly, preferring to take another's assessment of them. (By the way, I also do a similar assignment with regards to Charles Darwin's works, but that is another post...)

My son Sam found getting through the assignment too tedious to complete, (he does have ADHD) but by the time he had finished, had had gain enough insight for the assignment to accomplish its goals, so we stopped. I encourage you to assess this yourself as you know your student better than anyone else.