Sunday, April 25, 2010

Explore, Discover, and Enhance with Lesson Planet!

Scientists often discover new planets in other solar systems. Even though science is not my strength (case in point: maybe they aren’t discovering planets: is it just galaxies...?), I am proud to say I have discovered a new planet all by myself! It’s called Lesson Planet and it is as close as the World Wide Web, rather than 30 million light years away. Much easier for all to explore, wouldn’t you say?
As part of the TOS Crew, I was given an extended trial membership for this out-of-the-world  website. Lesson planet is a tremendous resource for all teachers, homeschooling or otherwise, and each lesson is given a rating by teachers, too!
With over 150,000 teacher rated lesson plans and 75,000 worksheets at your fingertips, you are likely to make new discoveries yourself in the realm of enhancing your school’s curriculum. From the basics of the 3 R’s to elective subjects like art and drama-- even plans and worksheets for celebrating holidays or enhancing your unit study-- there is bound to be something for every need that could arise. I was amazed at the subject breadth, there are so many ideas in so many categories...things you may not have thought about-- just waiting to give you a light bulb moment.
The website has a great search engine that allows you to get particular about the types of worksheets or lesson plans you are looking for. You can choose general subjects or get very specific by wanting only key words. You can also select the minimum “star rating” you want to select from. When your search comes up, there’s a peek at the content of each choice, so you can see if that selection headed in the desired direction (rather than a bunch of titles that you would have to click on to find out more about the plan/sheet).
All grades, all subjects, all available for your use with a $39.95 yearly membership. What is nice to know is that you can have a 10-day free trial when you visit the website by clicking here! You will have full use of the site, getting a good feel as to whether or not it will be a good fit for your family. Sign up and see what your curriculum has been missing...and possibly put together some of your own and save a bunch of money! 

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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.