Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Roots and Fruits: An Abundant Garden of Vocabulary Words!

Raise your hand if you love dead languages! Ok…not an overwhelming response…can’t say my hand shot right up either. Well, I think we will have to settle for learning to appreciate the value of dead languages instead. That I can do. And so can your children.

We all know that an understanding of Latin and Greek can make a huge difference on tests, particularly an SAT or ACT. However, daily reading comprehension in all school subjects in another benefit of learning these languages; after all most of our English language is built upon the foundation of Latin and Greek. (By the way, Greek is NOT a dead language, though ancient Greek is considered dead by many sites I googled.)

This is where a valuable tool, Roots and Fruits by Jill J. Dixon, comes in quite handily. A former teacher and a homeschool mother that was alarmed by the lack of comprehension that many students exhibited, Ms. Dixon set out to fix the problem by writing this helpful curriculum.

The great thing about this program is that the one book is used for all grades, K-12. It contains 673 roots and prefixes as well as 1716 vocabulary words, many of which will appear on the SAT and ACT. Using English forms of Latin and Greek words, as well as offering many helpful tips and games to make the roots stick, this user friendly book needs only 15 minutes a day to enhance your child’s ability to read with understanding from any subject.

We have incorporated this into our daily routine and things have been going swimmingly. The kids really do complete the suggested routine on time (introducing the new prefix etc. writing the meaning, giving some words as an example and then splitting the words up that they will hunt for in the dictionary). There are no complaints and the process of becoming little geniuses has been painless.

The root list compiled by Ms. Dixon is very extensive. I have used other programs that needed several volumes to complete. The nearly 700 prefixes and roots in Roots and Fruits will easily fill most of a child’s school career. There are asterisks next many words that are recommended for younger students. Year after year, you can work your way through this book and build that vocabulary that will impact their school career as well as provide enjoyment in leisurely reading as well.

At only $19.98, Roots and Fruits is a no-brainer investment to make in your homeschool. You can currently get the eBook of Roots and Fruits downloaded right to your computer for just $11.25 (25% off), and this is one book that would easily translate into an eBook without loss of usefulness. Visit their website at to order and while your there check out the plethera of products to help with all of your English and writing needs!

Kudos to Ms. Dixon for a great vaocabulary program! ("Kudos" is Greek for praise or extol...hey, I am picking this stuff up quick!).

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At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.