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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Empty tummies

Exodus 16:1-3
The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the LORD's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death."

As I studied Exodus 16 this morning it was inevitable that I heard the lessons of the chapter echo against the circumstances of our own time. It seems so ridiculous that the people of Israel actually pined for the benefits of slavery. They were ready to trade their liberty and protection under God's rule for the full tummies they enjoyed in the shackles of slavery!

It seems that today when we are facing hardship (collapsed credit markets, shrinking GDP, rising unemployment, higher taxes) we are reacting just as the Israelites did: grumbling about empty tummies and pining for full bank accounts, even if it means living with less liberty and bigger government.

Isaiah 25:9 says:
In that day they will say, "Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation."

Sometimes God's salvation isn't what we expect. The desert comes before the promised land. The hardship and suffering come before the glory. Today it is fashionable to expect government to provide for our needs, but this is making government into an idol. No matter who wins next Tuesday, government will not provide our salvation. Our emptiness requires a different kind of filling.

Jesus said in John 6: 57-58:
"Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."

Consider this rhetoric level discussion question from Tapestry of Grace Year 4 (week 10), which is a study of Roosevelt's New Deal and the Great Depression:
"[O]ur Federal Government has grown and grown since FDR's time until our national budget is now approximately two trillion dollars each year. This is a very big government that seems like it can afford to do anything it desires. The family is a government, too, but it is a very small government. Many families are poor, and feel like they cannot afford some of their most basic needs, but in order to receive government assistance they must follow government dictates about some aspects of their everyday lives. What would make some people choose to give up some family freedoms in return for Federal benefits?" 
The curriculum suggests an answer:
"People generally believe that their greatest needs are food, clothing, and shelter. The more they have, the more they tend to "need." Do your children have a CD player? A video player? Do you own a microwave? These are, today, basic tools in most households. Truly, though, our only need is salvation, and a right relationship with God through Christ. The desire for even such basic "needs" as survival may not be a good reason to give up basic freedoms."*

*Marcia Somerville, Tapestry of Grace Year 4, Week 10, page 21, copyright 2003

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Picture Study on a Pumpkin

With a nod to autumn, we painted our picture studies on the pumpkins we brought home from the pumpkin patch field trip that we took Monday. This week our fine arts focus is the artwork of Modernist Georgia O'Keefe. After reading about O'Keefe in Sister Wendy's Story of Painting, we browsed through the O'Keefe collection on Sydney decided to paint "A Sunflower from Maggie" on her pumpkin, Hope chose "Jimson Weed" and Lane discarded the idea of painting a flower and settled on "Chama River, Ghost Ranch." All three paintings were done by O'Keefe in the 1930s.
A Sunflower from Maggie, 1937 by Georgia O'keeffe
A Sunflower from Maggie, 1937

Jimson Weed, 1932 by Georgia O'keeffe
Jimson Weed, 1932

Chama River, Ghost Ranch, 1937 by Georgia O'keeffe
Chama River, Ghost Ranch, 1937

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Living out our Faith

Bible Study Fellowship weekly questions are peppered with application questions. Even the Level 1 (first and second grade) kids are frequently asked, "Knowing this, how will you respond to God this week?" Or, "How does this change the way you live?" Etc.

Earlier in the BSF year, we studied Exodus 2. The kids learned, among other things, that young Miriam was a very responsible older sibling, entrusted with her baby brother's care. They also learned that Moses struggled with a very hot temper, that got the better of him in Egypt (when he killed a man), but that was under control in Midian (when he drove away the men harassing the daughters of Jethro). God made that change in Moses.

Inspired by this, I challenged the kids to earn a Miriam and Moses award. I would give the Miriam Award  for showing responsibility and the Moses Award for showing self-control over anger, with the help of God. At first I set the bar too high and said I wouldn't give the award until they displayed the trait all day. That was too much to ask and now I've decided to give it more often for single displays of the trait.

Here's Lane sporting a Miriam Award. After taking the picture, we glued the award into his workbook with the date and the details of how he earned the award. (He took his sheets off his bed and loaded the washing machine without being reminded.)

By the way, I've attracted some hits to the blog from Google searches for "BSF Life of Moses lesson answers" and similar searches. I hope you aren't actually looking for someone else's answers for your study sheet! The purpose of BSF daily questions is to help the BSFer dig deeper into the Word of God and learn from it. Finding the answer from a Google search robs you of the benefit of the study! I beg you, open up your Bible and find the answers. Ask for God's help and He will open your eyes to the answer. The Word of God is inspired by Him. Blogs like mine are meant to point you to Him.


Hope and Sydney, Edwards Academy third graders, are reading Upper Grammar literature selections for Tapestry of Grace Year 4. Not long ago, they finished reading Mr. Popper's Penguins. This book, written in 1938, is the hilarious tale of a house painter's obsession with all things polar. 

We approach TOG literature assignments for Hope and Sydney as an opportunity to practice reading aloud. (They get to do this with their Grandma, who lives down the street.) They read aloud, stop and talk about words they don't understand, and work on TOG worksheets that accompany the literature assignment.

For Mr. Popper's Penguins, we also threw in some activities and information in their Tapestry workbook that I found on the HomeschoolShare site.

Our fun construction-paper penguin project (pictured) was a favorite. They dressed their penguins and their artwork reflects their personality!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Preserve, Protect, and Defend

The President of the United States swears that he will "faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." (My emphasis.)

I've been blogging about the fact that more people are boldly suggesting that a Muslim could faithfully serve as President (Colin Powell, CNN's Campbell Brown). Now this morning I wake up to learn that the new media (that is, ordinary people given a voice through the Internet) has unearthed audio of Barack Obama saying that the Constitution reflected a "fundamental flaw." Furthermore, a radio interview from 2001 has him discussing the best way to make income reparations and redistribute wealth. The courts, he suggests, will not be able to accomplish this. The legislature is the best way to redistribute wealth. Furthermore, he says that the Constitution contains only negative rights and does not include positive rights about what the government should do for you, just what it shouldn't do. What does he mean by making this observation?

Our Constitution is not inerrant, naturally. But I find it rather disconcerting that our favored candidate is on the record complaining that the Constitution has a flaw that continues to this day. If that is his position, why isn't that out in the open for discussion? If he finds it so flawed, I assumed he would like to correct it. How does he intend to do this?

What is going on? Aren't the views of the Constitution of interest to the American electorate? Will he preserve, protect, and defend a document that he finds fundamentally flawed?

The audio of Obama was linked to Drudge Report this morning. Drudge changes frequently and the link to audio might not be available when you read this.


Do we have the faith of the incredible witnesses of Hebrews 11, that God can do the impossible for the sake of His Name?

The Idaho Values Alliance provides an excellent prayer guide for our election. Click here for seven prayer points for our national, state and local elections, for our election officials, for our voters, for the Church, for our nation, and for those who pray. You will also find encouragement to pray from the example of an election in India four years ago.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Not to us, but to Your Name be glory

Not to us, O LORD, not to us,
but to Your Name give glory,
for the sake of Your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
(Psalm 115:1)

…and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD.
(Exodus 14:4b)

“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. . . The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Ex. 14:13a, 14)

Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses. (Ex. 14:31)

Then you will know that I am the LORD (Ezekiel 36:11b)
Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name. . . (Ezekiel 36:22b-23a)

And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD. (Ezekiel 37:14)

And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. (2 Peter 2:3a)

Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones. (2 Peter 2:9-10)

When I have my morning coffee with the Lord, I study my Bible Study Fellowship homework and also read Scriptures following the Victory Bible Reading Plan. I love the blend of a Psalm or Proverb, an Old Testament selection, and a New Testament selection that this reading plan gives. (In one year with this plan you read Psalms and Proverbs each twice, the Old Testament chronologically—a huge blessing, the Gospels twice, and the New Testament.)

The Scriptures above were all in my Bible reading this morning. What a blessing for me to be reminded that all the earthly struggles that we experience as individuals and as nations boil down to this: That all will know that He is the LORD.

Not to us, but to Your Name give glory!

Mr. Smith Speaks for Liberty

Last night our family gathered around to watch "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." This movie, released in 1939, complemented perfectly our study of the 1930s as Totalitarianism was on the rise throughout the world, especially in Japan, Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union. In 1939 Americans were discouraged by ten years of the Great Depression, something even President Roosevelt's New Deal didn't seem to conquer. As the global Depression led people in Germany to give up freedoms for the promises of Nazism, Americans hoped for better things and celebrated the ideal of liberty, so well expressed by Mr. Smith. When this movie hit theaters in 1939, things looked very, very bleak in the world.

Enjoy this rousing clip, but then do yourself a favor and watch the entire movie with your family.

(Update: Friday afternoon. This "Mr. Smith" montage is also a good one, but don't let it keep you from watching the full film!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Betsy, Tacy, Tib and Hope and Sydney

When the Edwards Academy girls began reading "chapter books" in earnest, the entire "JV Fiction" section of the library beckoned. I quickly realized, however, that while it was fine to give them freedom to pile high our library cart with picture books, the "JV Fiction" section required considerable more discernment.

I've never put many limits on our reading for pleasure. The kids load up the library cart and I don't worry about whether or not the books they choose fit their reading level. The girls checked out American Girl books, for instance, long before they could truly manage reading them. On the flip-side, the picture books and early readers are always an option for them, even now.

The JV Fiction section has plenty of books with eye-candy covers and less-than-enriching prose inside. The pink colors and the cool-looking girl might have their appeal, but one glance inside reveals sarcasm and other attitudes we can do without! After the first book like this was tossed in the cart by my daughter, I decided we needed some guidelines.

This is how I stumbled on Betsy-Tacy books. This delightful series by Maud Hart Lovelace was sadly out-of-print when I was a young girl reading everything in sight. They were brought back into publication in the 1990s by loyal fans who petitioned the publisher. The thirteen book series is partially in print today. Originally written in the 1940s, the books tell stories of a young Betsy and her friends in the early 1900s, ending with "Betsy's Wedding" which is set in 1917, the year America enters the Great War.

The books captured the imagination of Hope and Sydney. Sydney in particular likes the early books about Betsy and Tacy and Tib's adventures in Deep Valley as young children. Hope has stuck with the series as Betsy went off to high school, tried her hand at writing and trying to be published, and finally when she married her sweetheart, Joe. The character of Betsy is inspired by the life of the author, and like Anne (of Green Gables) and Jo (of Little Women) the love for writing and the quest for being published figure into her stories.

This week Hope is dashing off to read more of "Betsy's Wedding" every chance she gets. Last night at dinner she updated us on the story. "Betsy is married to Joe now. He is a writer for a newspaper, but he's frustrated that they aren't giving him the good stories to write about."

"How's married life for Betsy?" I asked.
"Good. She hasn't learned to cook yet, though!" Hope told me.

Book 1, Betsy-Tacy, introduces the girls at age five. Thirteen books later, Betsy is a young married lady. The books also progress in reading level, but Hope doesn't seem to notice.

To find Betsy-Tacy books on, click here. To read the Wikipedia entry, click here. To see some plot summaries, click here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Give an Answer

By now you know that Colin Powell endorsed Senator Obama. A check of the transcript reveals this quote:

I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain administration. I'm also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, "He's a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists." This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

First, Campbell Brown, a CNN analyst suggested this and now Colin Powell. After blogging about Ms. Brown's comments a few days ago I wondered if I over-estimated Ms. Brown's influence on our collective thinking. Now, after hearing Colin Powell declare this on Meet the Press to the like-minded Tom Brokaw, I believe this is the perspective of liberal elites. Powell went on to praise the sacrifice of a Muslim-American soldier and his anecdote had the effect of equalizing the role of a Muslim-American soldier with a Muslim-American President.

Is there no one now willing to stand up and make an argument for why a Muslim would not be able to uphold the Constitution with intellectual integrity? Are we all so afraid of being tarred as Islamophobic that we won't speak up? Is there anyone left who is willing to fight the battle of ideas? Will no one take the side of Truth?

If you are homeschooling dialectic or rhetoric level children, I would encourage you to challenge your child to writing an essay arguing the case against a Muslim-American president. What liberties guaranteed in our Constitution cannot be allowed under Sharia law? Why is the American Constitution uniquely Western (Judeo-Christian)? How do Colin Powell's remarks reveal that he is committed to a liberty that imagines all ideas to be equal, rather than all people? (Hint: The terrorism link that Powell tosses into his argument is a distraction from the core issue.)

I Peter 3:14-16
But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

(Edited 10/22 to improve clarity. Thanks for the feedback Mr. Edwards!)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

First Draft: Done

I'm finished with the first draft of the book I'm writing! And, even better, most of the book's second draft is done as well!

This project has loomed large on my to-do list for months and while I've loved it, it is very exciting to be able to check it off. The book is actually the memoir of a friend who asked me to assist her by putting her story into words. We've been working on the book for nearly a year (we both have other full-time responsibilities), but now the book is complete. We are entering an editing phase and she will soon be sending copies of the manuscript to friends and connections in the hope of pitching it to a publisher.

The working-title of the book is "A Chasing after the Wind," a phrase taken from Ecclesiastes:

"I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind." (Ecclesiastes 1:14)

It is the story of a woman who spent most of her adult life chasing after meaningless things, trying to find meaning and acceptance. In the end, after becoming a 9/11 widow, she learned the hard way that the meaning that she was searching for was there all the time, if only she had lived her life according to God's direction, rather than following her own way.

I can't wait for you to read a copy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fighting without Ammo

A couple of years ago I gave a devotional to a group of homeschooling moms and encouraged them to value the integration of faith in learning. The Truth of Jesus Christ impacts all facets of life and learning. When this Truth is denied in education, the education becomes useless.

We live in a time in which truth of any sort is discarded as an outmoded concept and the Truth of Christ is scorned. This isn't news--it has been happening for over a generation. But, now we are witnessing the consequences.

Recently CNN's Campbell Brown opined in her Commentary (available on CNN's website) that the whole dust-up about Obama being a Muslim or not is silliness.

So what if Obama was Arab or Muslim? So what if John McCain was Arab or Muslim? Would it matter?

When did that become a disqualifier for higher office in our country? When did Arab and Muslim become dirty words? The equivalent of dishonorable or radical?

Her opinion illustrates perfectly my point: Once we discard Truth, we are ineffectual in our fight against the Lie.

I'm saddened to realize that unless Western Civilization changes direction, we are witnessing its end. When a progressive anchor woman declares that a Muslim President of the United States shouldn't be a problem, it is a sign of two things:

First, intellectuals have lost the will to preserve Western Civilization. For surely, even if you do not accept Christianity, someone who values Western Civilization cannot pretend that a Muslim President is qualified to be the leader of the Western World. Ms. Brown goes on to argue in her commentary that there is a big difference between radical Muslims and "Muslims who want to practice their religion freely and have normal lives like anyone else." It sounds to me like Campbell Brown needs to enroll in a World Religions class. Even Muslims who do not endorse jihad against America hardly live "normal lives like anyone else." Perhaps she is unaware of the pockets of Europe that must endure Sharia law because they, too, are impotent in the intellectual fight.

Second, people naively persist in thinking that everyone thinks like them. Ms. Brown no doubt keeps her faith (Wikipedia reports that she is a converted Jew, but her university education was from the Catholic Regis University) compartmentalized from her intellectual life and imagines that everyone else does the same. How else to explain that she honestly believes the Muslim faith of a potential Presidential candidate wouldn't impact how he governs and leads? It is even more stunning that she identifies with Judaism and yet still is convinced that a Muslim leader would intend no harm to her.

Even as we Americans fight a military war on terror, our intellectuals are fighting the war of ideas without any ammunition. Or worse, they have just quit fighting.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Truth Treasure Hunters Celebrate!

We capped off our first quarter of the school year with a Truth Treasure Hunters Celebration. Our Tapestry of Grace Year 4 co-op gathered with dads and grandparents to celebrate all we've learned in our study of 1900-1938.

Reciting "In Flanders Fields" together.

Charles Lindbergh (aka Toby)

The display tables held the kids Tapestry workbooks and the projects that we made: Faberge eggs, Wright flyers, periscopes, and our volcano. The kids recited In Flanders Fields, explained who they were dressed as, and shared something that they wrote or made during the quarter. Several of the students read essays, some showed pictures or projects, and some did both.

Shirley Temple

Our evening had a Hawaiian flair, since we began our year learning the history and geography of Hawaii. The students came dressed as a person in history from the first 38 years of the twentieth century. Our group had Helen Keller as a college student, Eric Liddell, Charlie Chaplin, a flapper from the Roaring Twenties, Babe Ruth, two Shirley Temples, two Princess Anastasias, and Charles Lindbergh.

Helen Keller at Radcliffe College

Babe Ruth

Thanks to the other Truth Treasure Hunters families for making this a big success. On the way home, our kids talked about the coming quarter. The celebration had a way of helping them mark the time and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Quarter 2 Celebration Preview: USO Night

Friday, October 10, 2008

Powerless? or Powerful?

I found this opinion piece ("Who Wears the Pants?") in today's Wall Street Journal interesting. It turns out that feminists worry that stay-at-home moms lack power in their marriages. Does the level of income you contribute directly correlate to the power you wield in your marriage relationship?

Of course, the Christian perspective transcends the whole issue of power. In a marriage as God designed it there is no power struggle, for the power belongs to God. When God mandates the husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church and the wife to submit to her husband, it is hard to imagine how holding down a day job that brings in cash--or not--changes God's expectation of you.

What's your reaction to the article?

Drill, Baby, Drill!

We have spent a week setting aside our usual Math U See assignments and focusing on drilling math facts. I use drill sheets from this website. Drilling math facts with timed tests isn't rocket science, but it is very satisfying to see marked improvement in just three days of focused drilling! My third graders cut their time in half on one drill sheet, and shaved a third of their time off another. Not only that, they were accurate on 100% of the facts on the third day.

My goal is to master the multiplication facts and right now we are doing full sheets of 100 facts of just one set (multiplying times 2 and times 5). Meanwhile, Lane is drilling his addition facts. He's just getting started on addition facts, but after the first day of a very painful (for both of us) time with a sheet of "plus ones" he zipped through it with confidence on the third day of drills.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Political Distractions: Jubilee

Consider this quote from Senator Biden in his debate with Gov. Palin last night:
Number two, with regard to bankruptcy now, Gwen, what we should be doing now -- and Barack Obama and I support it -- we should be allowing bankruptcy courts to be able to re-adjust not just the interest rate you're paying on your mortgage to be able to stay in your home, but be able to adjust the principal that you owe, the principal that you owe.

That would keep people in their homes, actually help banks by keeping it from going under. But John McCain, as I understand it -- I'm not sure of this, but I believe John McCain and the governor don't support that.

(My emphasis added. For the full transcript, click here.)
I loved Governor Palin's performance, but I wish she would have hammered him for this point. Judging from the feedback the House of Representatives has received, it is hard to think that anyone here (except for someone saddled with a mortgage they can't afford) would cheer this line.

Adjusting the principal is another way of saying that a portion of the loan is forgiven. Why on earth would anyone feel obligated to their debt obligations after that precedent was set?

Roaring Twenties, Part III

In our two-week dash through ten years of history from the 1920s, we also read about Babe Ruth and baseball. I supplemented the readings about Ruth with some library books on the game of baseball and Lane and I talked about the rules of the game, the stats, and even squeezed in some batting practice. We haven't played tee-ball or softball, so we had plenty to learn about the great American game.

To get a feel for the game, I drew a poster sized ball diamond and we used Lane's army men for players and mapped out the game. 

One of our library books, The Girl Who Struck out Babe Ruth, infuriated Lane who latched onto Ruth as a great heroic player and had now appreciation for a girl striking him out! We also read The Legend of the Curse of the Bambino, which tells the tale of the legend surrounding Babe Ruth's Red Sox and their 80 year "curse." Lane thought the illustrations in this book were odd since they characterized Ruth's figure, giving him tiny feet and oversized shoulders and head. 

After studying baseball, Lane's been drawing his own players and trying his hand at showing batters, catchers, and umpires.

Roaring Twenties, Part II

In our survey of the 1920s we also read about Louis Armstrong and jazz. The girls read A Horn for Louis and all Academy kids listened to me read about Armstrong and the development of jazz from the Joy Hakim book that we use as a "spine resource."

The kids worked on some notebook pages as a "best of" CD played in the background of Louis Armstrong and his band. They are already familiar with Armstrong because I have several of his songs on our iPod playlists and they love the musical movie Hello, Dolly! It was fun for me to connect the cameo of Armstrong in the movie to the story of Armstrong's life growing up in New Orleans. Watching Hello, Dolly! after reading about Armstrong and listening to more of his music, I could tell that they understood him in a new way in the movie.

The Roaring Twenties: Part I

In our study of the Roaring Twenties, we learned about Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis. We read a picture book called Flight, watched The Spirit of St. Louis starring James Stewart, and found some additional details from the Charles Lindbergh website. Lane's draw and caption page is shown above. Third graders Hope and Sydney made a biography notebook page on the aviator and enjoyed finding a flight timeline online. In our study of Lindbergh, we also learned about the Curtiss JN-4 biplane, air mail pilots, barnstorming, and even St. Christopher charms. 

It is a cliche, I know, but history is really coming alive as we study it with Tapestry of Grace. The combination of living books, picture books, and "spine books" about certain events come together to create an experience that impacts my kids. 

The other day as I washed dishes, Lane sauntered into the kitchen and asked, "Mom, where is the Spirit of St. Louis today? Can we go see it?"

We will go see it, and many other things, when we visit Washington D.C. with the kids some day. But here's the thing: When we go to the Smithsonian, my kids will already know the stories that go with the exhibits and that will enhance the experience. I think the reason museums struggle is that the stories are missing. We shouldn't go to a museum to learn about something. We should go to a museum to see what we've already learned and add to that knowledge. 
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