Alexander the Great: Brilliance and Brutality

History with Heart of Dakota

Who was Alexander the Great? 

Conqueror, explorer, leader, and visionary. These are just a few of the words that describe Alexander the Great. Born the son of legendary warrior-king Philip II of Macedonia, Alexander went on to outshine his father.  Philip transformed Macedonia from an unremarkable country to a ruling power in Greece; Alexander made Macedonia the ruling power in the entire known world. His conquests would stretch the Macedonian empire from the mountains of his homeland, to the sands of Egypt, to the expanses of Persia, all the way to the banks of the River Beas in India.

Personality of a Genius 

Alexander was a genius in more ways than one. First, his grasp of military tactics was unequaled in his day. He perfected the use of the phalanx – a tactic which his father had introduced. The phalanx was an infantry formation where soldiers grouped tightly together with each man’s shield protecting himself and his neighbor. In addition to this, each man also carried an 18-20 foot pike which he would thrust outwards from the shield wall. (Wasson) In a time where armies usually fought in a haphazard manner depending on sheer force of numbers to win, the phalanx gave Alexander’s soldiers a huge advantage. Oftentimes, enemy soldiers would simply break off his phalanxes like water off a rock. In addition to this, Alexander had distinct knack for sensing his enemy’s weakest position and massing his men to exploit it. Therefore, when his phalanxes came crashing through there was usually no stopping them.

Second, Alexander was a genius when it came to leading his men. He routinely made a point of leading the charge in battle rather than staying back in safety. Initially, he also insisted on sharing his men’s hardships. For instance, while marching his troops through the desert, according to biographer Peter Green, “…when a helmetful [sic] of muddy water had been found for him in some nearby gully – but no more was to be had – he laughed, thanked the donor, and then tipped the water out into the sand. So extraordinary was the effect of this action that the water wasted by Alexander was as good as a drink from every man in the army.” (434) Alexander lead by example, as all great leaders do. When his men saw him facing and overcoming the same challenges they faced, it inspired greatness in them as well.

Fatal Flaws

Nonetheless, Alexander was far from perfect. “Like many brilliant men,” historian John Gunther writes, “he was unstable…he ran from one extreme to another…” (46) While he could be caring and understanding, he also could be irrational and violent. He had a burning temper which resulted in him murdering some of his most faithful soldiers, such as Clitus and Parmenion. Also, during his final years he firmly believed himself to be descended from the Greek god Zeus. Those who did not acknowledge this were executed. (Gunther 138-139) Sadly, with no god to serve except himself, Alexander – once great – ended his life in drunkenness and confusion.

Lasting Impressions

Even though Alexander’s life was dramatically short (he only lived to be 32!) what he accomplished in that time has had repercussions that affect us to this day. His use of soldiers as disciplined units formed the gold standard in military tactics for hundreds of years afterward. In addition, by bringing many different countries under one empire, he spread the use of a universal language – Greek. Many scholars believe this was instrumental in spreading the Gospel 400 years later. He also founded many different cities – some of which remain to this day. (Many of these he named Alexandria, after himself.) Ultimately, much like God had used prior civilizations and kings to carry out His purpose in history, God used Alexander the Great to mold the world according to His own plan.

Which HOD guides can you find Alexander the Great in? 

Alexander the Great can be encountered in several of Heart of Dakota’s guides! You can find him in Little Hearts, Preparing Hearts, Creation to Christ, World Geography, and World History. You can also find a more in-depth study of him in John Gunther’s book Alexander the Great, which students can read in the extension package for Creation to Christ.

Bibliography 

Green, P. Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C. (University of California Press, 2013).

Gunther, J. Alexander the Great. (Sterling Publishing, 2007).

Wasson, D.L. The Army of Alexander the Great. (Ancient History Encyclopedia, 2014). 

How Best to Use the BJU Teacher’s Guide in HOD’s World Geography

Dear Carrie,

How do I best use the BJU Teacher’s Guide in HOD’s World Geography year?

We have used Heart of Dakota for many years and enjoyed it very much. My son and I just started World Geography, and our start went so well!  However, I have a quick question about the BJU teacher’s guide for literature. There are so many facets to the BJU teaching guide. So, my question is, do I have my student only answer the questions after the story when HOD’s World Geography plans say to do so? I hope so!  But, I am just checking to be sure. Thanks in advance for your help!

Sincerely,

“Please Help Me Know How to Best Use the BJU Teacher’s Guide”

Dear “Please Help Me Know How to Best Use the BJU Teacher’s Guide,”

I’d be happy to help you decide how to best use the BJU Teacher’s Guide!  I’ve had some practice figuring that out myself. We just completed the HOD World Geography guide this past year with our third son. So, I’ll share a few things we’ve discovered about the literature.

You can view the Student Reader as a series of living stories to be enjoyed.

As far as the BJU lit goes, it really helps if you can view the Student Reader as a series of living stories that we want the students to primarily enjoy as they read. We don’t want them to feel like they must also be dissecting as they read.  Likewise, we don’t want them to feel like they must elicit a whole host of specific responses. So, in order to allow them to enjoy the story, we must not get between the story and the reader. This means we need to let students just read the story from the reader without the aid of any Teacher’s Notes or without focusing on the end story questions the first trip through.

You can follow the HOD World Geography guide’s plans to know how to assign the questions in BJU.

Next, after reading the story, the HOD guide will assign the student questions from the end of the story. The World Geography plans will note when to answer in writing and when to meet with the teacher to discuss. Even at this point, it’s not advisable to be sharing all of the Teacher’s Notes for each question with the student. In fact, we don’t want to expect the student to answer even remotely as fully as the notes suggest. In my opinion, the notes are exhaustive and are meant to provide any and all possible answers that any student may share.

You can think of the Teacher’s Notes as Cliff Notes rather than as required answers.

I see the Teacher’s Notes as a Cliff’s Notes version meant to aid the teacher rather than as a grading rubric meant to show the ideal answer a student should give. Keep in mind that these notes were written for a classroom teacher. In a classroom, the discussion of a question would result in many varied responses. There would be a lengthy discussion from a whole group of students. This is a very different situation than we have in the homeschool setting with a single student being required to answer all the questions alone!

Students can read through the Teacher’s Notes just for the questions they are struggling to answer.

If the student is struggling with an answer to a question or has been especially short with an answer, then this is the time I’d have the student read through the Teacher’s Notes for only that question. The purpose of this is to simply give them a few more ideas of the direction he/she could have gone with his/her response. There is no need to have the student read the Teacher’s Notes for every question. This may result in the student feeling inferior and inadequate in his/her responses. We definitely don’t want the student thinking he/she can never come up with the breadth and insight the manual suggests for a response.

I learned a lot from using BJU American Lit along with full-length novels for my oldest son’s 11th grade year.

Before scheduling BJU lit for grade 9 in our World Geography guide, my oldest son and I went through BJU American Lit for his 11th grade year. The BJU American Lit is even fuller than the grade 9 lit! I also added a lot of full-length novels to my poor oldest son’s year. We learned a lot that year about what was too much for lit, about how many novels are appropriate to read,  and about what was really helpful or enjoyable overall.

So, as I began World Geography with my second son, I took a lower key approach to the BJU lit. I simply allowed him to read and do exactly what it says in the HOD World Geography guide’s plans.  Likewise, I did not delve so deeply into the BJU Teacher’s guide and all of its materials. We had a much better year, my son loved the stories, loved the boy set novels, and learned a lot!

You can use the manual more as a reference for your student’s answers.

So, I would encourage you to keep the manual only for reference for you as your student answers. Share the answers from the manual for only the questions that the student either misses entirely or answers very succinctly. Make sure you let your student know that the manual gives every answer you might encounter in a classroom of students. Be sure the student doesn’t feel like he never gets the answer “right.” So, by following the lit plans in the World Geography guide and by using the BJU Teacher’s Notes in this manner, your year in lit should be a terrific year!

Blessings,

Carrie

P.S. If you are new to Heart of Dakota, check out our Top Ten Questions!

P.S.S. If you are wondering about placement in high school in Heart of Dakota, click here!

 

Reading the guide’s “Introduction” is great preparation for the school year

Teaching Tip

Reading the guide’s “Introduction” is great preparation for the school year.

You may be beginning to turn your thoughts toward school. One of the best ways to prepare for the upcoming year is to read through your HOD guide’s “Introduction.” There is such a wealth of information in the “Introduction” that we should truly title it something else!

How does reading the “Introduction” help prepare you for the year?

The “Introduction” will give you a feel for how each area is handled in the guide and the goals for each subject. It will let you know what notebooks, binders, etc. are needed for each subject area. Reading the “Introduction” provides a great summary of what to expect for the coming year. The “Introduction” is the last part of the guide we write. In this way, we can be sure that it truly summarizes needed information for you in one place!

If you have students in different HOD guides, read only one guide’s “Introduction” each day.

If you will be teaching more than one Heart of Dakota guide, read the “Introduction” for different guides on different days. This will help you focus on one guide at a time and will keep you from getting overwhelmed.

Can you use the guide without reading the “Introduction?”

Of course you can skip reading the “Introduction” and just jump right in and teach. However, often when families do this they miss the big picture of the guide. They also miss out on some gems that are referred to in the “Introduction” and included in the Appendix.

So, let’s get started!

After more than 15 years of homeschooling my boys with HOD, I still read the “Introduction” at the start of my school year! So, grab a cup of tea or coffee, cuddle up with your highlighter, and read away. Just reading the “Introduction” will make you feel more prepared!

Blessings,
Carrie

Top Ten Tips for Teaching Multiple Guides

A Typical Day Running 3 Heart of Dakota Guides

From Our House to Yours

Creation to Christ’s “Reading About History” part of the plans is fascinating!
Creation to Christ - Unit 12 - The Divided Kingdom
Creation to Christ – Unit 12 – The Divided Kingdom

In Creation to Christ Emmett has been learning about the ancients time of King Solomon and the time of the divided kingdom. He researched Solomon’s Temple online and answered questions about where it was built, how long it took to build, the materials used, the outside/inside of the temple, what Solomon did when the temple was complete, and how we know the Lord was pleased with its completion.

Creation to Christ’s 3-Day “History Projects” are so much fun!
ten white pockets for the tribes of Israel and two blue pockets for the tribes of Judah

His history project pictured above shows the division of the 12 tribes of Israel. While Solomon originally ruled all 12 tribes, due to his worshiping other pagan gods (as well as Israel), the resulting punishment was his kingdom being torn away from him. Ten tribes were given to Jeroboam, and two tribes were given to Rehoboam. Emmett made ten white pockets for the tribes of Israel and two blue pockets for the tribes of Judah. He then tore a piece of cloth into 12 pieces, just as the prophet Ahijah did with his robe, to signify the dividing of the kingdom. Each pocket has a piece of the robe in it. What a neat project and a memorable way to retain this part of ancient history!

You can also see Emmett Heart of Dakota history notebook pictured above, which shows his timeline entries, historical written narration, meaningful copywork from a history living book, and independent history assignment.

Creation to Christ’s poetry by Robert Frost and watercolor painting is a great combination!
Robert Frost's poem
Water color painting of Robert Frost’s poem “Going for Water”.

A few other highlights of the week were his watercolor painting of a night sky with the moon rising for Robert Frost’s poem Going for Water and his science experiment showing how a dinosaur moved for his Land Animals… science reading. He decided he’s very thankful he is not a dinosaur and can simply walk and run on 2 legs!

 

World Geography and World Religions and Cultures are two studies that complement each other very well!
He also made matzah, which is unleavened bread

In World Geography Riley finished his history theme for Unit 12 and started Unit 13. He really enjoyed his assignment in Mapping the World with Art. He drew and colored his own Medieval/Renaissance compass rose. He read about explorers, such as Diaz from Portugal, who used a magnetic compass such as this to navigate the southern coast of Africa. He also made matzah, which is unleavened bread in response to his World Religion and Culture’s reading. It was good the first time, but the second day, we were all happy to go back to our homemade leavened bread!

World Geography’s 1/2 credit Logic elective has been fascinating!
. . . knowing fact from fallacy is important!

Riley has absolutely loved his Fallacy Detective book. He said he was sad it was the last reading. As this is an elective, I often let him check his own answers with the answer key and just meet with me to informally share what he’d learned or what struck him the most from the day’s reading/assignment. He always had something clever or witty to share, and he often shares examples of logic he’s seen in billboards, commercials, or magazines. What a neat elective to do – and an important one, as knowing fact from fallacy is important! Finally, he worked on his English assignment, and I stressed the important of writing neatly.

US II teaches our boys how to prepare talking points just as if they were to give a press conference!
Bismarck the German Navy ship

In USII High School Wyatt finished Unit 18 and started Unit 19. On an index card, he prepared a list of talking points for his oral narration. He spoke about Britain standing alone against Hitler, Hitler’s plans for the Soviet Union, Bismarck the German Navy ship, and FDR’s promise to help Britain. He also used his USII Notebook as a visual aid by sharing the drawing of the Loss of H.M.S. Hood.

 

USII’s full-color notebook pages are a great way to organize each week’s studies!
The Dawn of World War II

The full-color Heart of Dakota notebooks are so beautiful and add much learning to Wyatt’s school day. The photographs, charts, portraits, political cartoons, maps, etc. you see pictured all provided a visual basis for his topic oral narration. I love to listen to Wyatt narrate! It is obvious he enjoys history, remembers what he has read, and gives a very ‘narrative’ narration – in other words, I think he’s become an excellent storyteller! Just what Charlotte Mason would have liked! Wyatt also worked on his Economics elective and his Algebra, which you can see in the pictures.

I hope that this snapshot of a typical day running 3 Heart of Dakota guides is a blessing to all of you amazing moms who are doing so much to make your children’s lives all that they can be!

In Christ,

Julie

Meeting Times for Correcting Homeschool High School Work

From Our House to Yours

Heart of Dakota’s plans make it easy to see what must be accomplished each day!

This From Our House to Yours will focus on high school planned meeting times.  High school is a new and exciting time for parents and students alike!  Heart of Dakota makes this transition smoother in 4 ways! First, Heart of Dakota guides use easy-to-follow 2-page daily plans, just 4 days a week.  Second, each credit includes detailed plans labeled “T” teacher-directed, “S” semi-independent, and “I” independent.  This makes parent and student roles clear.  Third, parents love the detailed course descriptions, suggested grading, and transcript helps. Fourth, students love the clear plans for each day’s work!  Finally, you should always check your individual state requirements for high school. But, your student should typically earn all credits and electives necessary by doing HOD’s 4 high school guides!

So, now that we know the plans are complete, how do we as parents correct high school work?

Each high school guide’s introduction has detailed suggested grading for each credit earned.  From this, we can make professional transcripts easily and inexpensively by using each HOD guide’s course titles and descriptions.  We can also use the website www.transcriptmaker.com to input our student’s transcript details.  I especially love this website because it figures my students’ GPA automatically!  With all of this help, the only thing I’m left with is finding time to teach and to correct work. I’ve found one successful way to do this is to use planned meeting times!

What are planned meeting times?

I use planned meeting times to teach and to correct my children’s work.  We set specific times to meet within the day.  I’ve found 2-3, or even 4 planned meeting times work well.  My kiddos often complete some work independently first, and then they take this work to our first meeting time.  My first meeting time with my 9th grader using World Geography happens around 7:30 AM in the morning.  He comes with his completed independent work from the night before.  (As he is a bit of a night owl, he likes to do about 1 hour’s worth of independent work for the next school day the night before.)  He also completes his Bible from 7 to 7:30 AM prior to the meeting. Our first meeting time includes going over completed work from Bible, the Living Library, Spanish, and World Religions and Cultures.

World Geography Mapping the World with Art
So, what does he share from each of these subjects?

For Bible, he reads aloud his answers to me from Rooted and Grounded.  He also shares his prayer journal, unless it is more private.  On days 1 and 3, I have him say his memorized Scripture verses for me.  I also correct his Common Place Book entry if he had one.  (If he had Practical Happiness, I read it on my own and so does he, annotating as we read.  We meet at the third meeting time to go over the devotion.) For the Living Library, he reads aloud his sentence summary.  I check to be sure it contains the main characters, main goal and action taken, main conflict, and the setting.  Skimming the pages of the book’s daily reading is enough for me to see if he is on track for this 10% extra credit assignment.  I also check any special assignments noted for this in the plans (i.e. if he was to star, cloud, circle, etc certain things).  I correct his Spanish using the answer key, and I have him orally translate/read the odd problems aloud referencing the key as needed.  For World Religions and Cultures, I have him hand me the book he read open to the first page’s reading.  I skim the beginning, middle, and end of the reading.  Also, I read the key idea in the guide.  Finally, we either correct his bookmark together, or I listen to his oral narration with book in hand.

World Religions and Cultures Bookmark
What does the rest of his day look like?

After the first planned meeting time, he checks off the Living Library, World Religions and Cultures, Foreign Language, and Bible boxes.  They are done – hooray!  Next, we discuss what he needs to do for his EIW composition or R & S English grammar part of the plans.  He works on this independently then, while I do a planned meeting time with a different child.  His next planned meeting time is around 8:20 to 8:30 AM, whenever he completes his composition or grammar. I correct his written work by having him read it aloud to me.  He reads with pencil in hand, making any corrections he sees he needs to make first on his own. Then, I help him correct any mistakes using the grammar answer key or the EIW daily plans/rubric.  We check the Composition/Grammar box off in the plans, and he is off to chores and breakfast!

How does he finish out the plans?

After breakfast, he completes his World Geography, Geography Activities, Literature, and Logic boxes.  I pop in the living room to hear his oral narrations, correct his map work, edit his written work, discuss/check his literature, and check his logic answers.  We love this time together, and the key ideas and answer keys make it fairly easy on me!  If he had Practical Happiness, we meet on the couch go discuss our annotations.  (It is more private there, and this is a special time 1 on 1 for us!) Finally, he completes his Science with lab and leaves it out on the counter for me to correct.  (I’ve let him correct his own science the second half of the year, as I corrected it the first half, and he always did well. He loves science!  So, I never worry about him skimping on this.)

Seven Wonders of the World Geography Activity

His math is taught by my oldest son, as he loves it and is a business major!  This was their idea – apparently I get somewhat tense teaching math, and they prefer doing it together without me.  Who knew?!?  Anyway, the math answer key makes this last subject easy peasy to correct. Then, drumroll, we are done!  Usually by 1:30 PM or so.  Not bad for 4 days a week of high school!  Hope this helps you see how planned meeting times can provide both special 1:1 teaching time and time to correct work!

In Christ,
Julie