The “Perfect” and Prominent King

The “Perfect” and Prominent King
By Houston
October 17, 2016

Alfred the Great is thought to be the most prominent ruler of the Anglo-Saxons. He was king of the West Saxons in Wessex, England, from 871 to 899. Amazingly, Alfred acquired the crown at the young age of 21 because all four of his brothers, who were king before him, died. He was foremost in virtue, so he was the only English ruler to be called “the Great.” Alfred was resolved in his fight against the tenacious Vikings. In fact, it is said that when he was once fleeing these raiders, a woman took him in, asking him to watch her the food she was cooking.

“Why have you burned my cakes, you imbecile?” rebuked the perturbed woman.

“I am sorry. I am King Alfred, and I was distracted because I am planning an attack on the heathen Vikings,” disclosed the contrite and cunning king.

Triumphantly, Alfred did defeat and make peace with them, even converting a Viking king to Christianity. He made education reforms by creating schools and monasteries throughout the land. Extolled by a myriad of historians as “perfect,” Alfred was without a doubt a great and prominent ruler.

The Burning of Troy

The Burning of Troy
By Gabriel
October 1, 2018

Long ago in ancient Greece, a gray, dusty castle was mysteriously quiet, but the wind howled ferociously outside the walls, while the thick, murky fog descended upon the city. King Menelaus awoke to find his wife Helen kidnapped by Paris, the puny prince of Troy. Menelaus, who was extremely sad that Helen was away, confidently vowed to rescue his wife. He called upon all the cunning kings of Greece. These leaders and their men journeyed with Menelaus to Troy to find the missing queen.

The majestically fashioned Troy had immense walls. For 10 years the Greeks could not enter the city, which was fantastically fortified. A smart warrior named Odysseus had an idea: to have men build a giant horse with wheels. Thirty soldiers would remain in the belly of the wooden animal, and the rest of the Greeks would sail to a nearby island and wait.

In the morning, the Trojans saw the horse, which they thought was a peace offering. They happily rejoiced because they assumed the war was over. The Trojans pushed the rustic creation into the gates and slept soundly. In the night the Greeks inside the horse opened the city gates for the returning Greeks, who killed the Trojans. Houses smoldered and cracked into the earth, and noxious smoked filled the air. The Greeks had burnt Troy to the ground and retrieved Helen.

The Rise of Constantinople

The Rise of Constantinople
By Houston
September 19, 2016

The barbarians were fatal for the Western Roman Empire, so it was imminent that this massive empire would fall. The stunned people were melancholy because they had lost their land. Interestingly, some intrepid parts of the Eastern Roman Empire, which had a brilliant capital city called Constantinople, withstood the tenacious attacks of the barbarians: this was called the Byzantine Empire.

In 527, Justinian the Great, who wanted to restore the glory of the Roman Empire, rose to power. So, his resolved armies fought and recaptured some land that had been stolen. This emperor intently gathered Roman laws into the Justinian Code, which made all the laws around his kingdom the same. Justinian’s once desecrated and dilapidated empire flourished, and Constantinople became the most majestic city in the world.

Augustine the Tenacious

Augustine the Tenacious
By Houston
September 26, 2016

Ambling along the bumpy, filthy cobblestone streets of Rome on a misty morning, Pope Gregory heard the rattling and clanking of chains, and the cruel screeching spewed forth from the traders. He witnessed the tears on the distraught, melancholy faces of the people on the blocks. The pope knew he had arrived in the fetid slave market.

The pope was stunned by something he saw: three slave boys, whose hair and skin were almost pure white. The intrigued, but bewildered pope sternly asked the slave traders from where the children came.

“They came from the island of Britain,” scoffed the traders. “They are called Anglo-Saxons.”

“No one should have to be a slave,” snapped the pope crossly, rebuking the slave traders for participating in the fatal business. “I’ll buy all three.”

He took the fatigued children home and kindly asked them about their land and their religion. Sadly, they didn’t know anything about God or the Bible.

Pope Gregory, who was downhearted, wanted to send missionaries to Southern England and asked Augustine to lead the massive effort. He and 40 monks, who were resolved to extol the virtues of Christianity, sailed to Britain. Upon arrival, they saw the king, who asked them why they were there.

“We are Christians,” Augustine intrepidly said, “and we’re here to tell your people about the Lord.”

The king generously acknowledged that they could live in Canterbury and preach. Many Anglo-Saxons were converted. In fact, on Christmas 597, Augustine baptized thousands. The pope sent more monks, who built churches all over Southern England. The pope also made the tenacious Augustine the Archbishop of Canterbury. Consequently, he is known as the Apostle of England.

An Eternally Remembered King

An Eternally Remembered King
By Zeke
September 24, 2018

Gilgamesh, who was the king of Urek, was a strong and brave ruler, but he was not content. He crossed the stunning Euphrates River, enormous deserts, and climbed vastly huge cliffs to find the man who could tell him about the plant of life. Gilgamesh learned that the life-giving twig was in the sea, so he started the drastically long journey to find it to henceforth live forever.

On his boat, Gilgamesh could smell the salt from the ocean and saw a radiant glow in the water. He determinedly jumped in and grabbed the shrub, which was covered with prickly thorns. As the king was traveling home, he could feel the dripping sweat on his hairy body, sense the mist from a nearby river, and stopped to take a swim in a pond. He put the plant on a rock, but a slick slithering serpent sucked up the slimy shrub and shed its scary scales. Gilgamesh was in despair! He decided to go back to Urek.

Just then an eagle majestically swooped down and took Gilgamesh on his back, showing him the city he’d made great from the sky. The bird, who was wise and kind, said the king would not have eternal life, but that he would live forever in the hearts of his people.

The Truly Majestic Colossus

The Truly Majestic Colossus of Rhodes
By Gabriel
September 16, 2018

Colossus of Rhodes was incredibly colossal. This radiant statue, which was 100 feet tall, was of the sun god Helios. The people of Rhodes believed Helios drove away the petrified enemy. They used the armor the attackers left behind to build the majestic monument.

It stood triumphantly for 56 years until it descended into the enormous ocean. Wonderfully, the thumb was found and lots of travelers came to see the digit. It was so immense that a grown man couldn’t stretch his arms around the thumb. Colossus of Rhodes was a truly grand wonder.

Giza’s Grand Pyramid

Giza’s Grand Pyramid
By Zeke
September 10, 2018

An ancient Greek named Philo wrote a list of the Seven Wonders of the World. The majestic pyramid of Giza is the last standing monument of these wonders.

The Egyptians fashioned the Great Pyramid with more than 2 million massive bricks, which each weighed two and a half tons. It’s believed that it took more than 100,000 men to successfully construct and more two decade to complete. Incredibly, it was the tallest structure in the world for thousands of years.

Inside the towering pyramid was a maze of hallways and three chambers filled with pharaoh’s riches. The Egyptians truly thought he needed them in the afterlife. People today still don’t clearly understand how men in ancient times were able to build this gigantic tomb of treasure.

All Hail the Chosen King

 All Hail the Chosen King
By Houston
October 5, 2016

The whistling wind whooshed wildly in London on this cold Christmas morning. Throngs of people rushed past the empty shops, which lined the snow-covered streets. Bells chimed continuously as the solemn masses pushed hastily toward the warm church.

Among them were Sir Ector, who was an intrepid knight, and his two sons: Sir Kay, also a knight, and Arthur, an 18-year-old squire. The people felt anguish because their king has sadly passed on, and he didn’t have an heir, so the throne was vacant. They were bewildered as to who would be king.

Abruptly, the church started vibrating and quaking, and the gasping people heard a thundering boom and saw sparkling light. They bolted outside and witnessed a massive white stone. On top of it was a ravishing sword embellished with jewels.

The archbishop read the stone’s words, which said, “Whoso pulleth out this sword will be the rightful king of all England.” The knights tried to dislodge the blade, yet none could. Instead, the solid sword stuck steadfastly in the stone.

In London on New Year’s Day, there was a tournament. Charming ladies in fancy dresses laughed happily, while armor-clad knights devoured delectable turkey and drank strong, heady ale. Stunned, Arthur realized that he forgot Kay’s sword.

“You dumb boy!” yelled Kay, scowling at Arthur insolently. “Why did you forget my weapon?”

“Sorry, brother. I’ll go get it,” explained Arthur, who was resolved to make it right.

On the way to the inn, Arthur passed the church and decided to take the beautiful sword instead. Kay was enraged and rebuked Arthur because it wasn’t his worthy sword, and Arthur confessed that he had really gotten it from the stone.

The people didn’t believe him, so they took the squire back to the churchyard, where he put the sword back in and then pulled it out easily. Everyone bowed and extolled Arthur as king!

The Wily Wizard & the Boneheaded Bard

The Wily Wizard and the Boneheaded Bard
By Houston
10 October 2016

Once there was a wizard, who lived in a thick forest outside the shire of Nottingham, England. The summer sun settled in the sky on this warm, lazy afternoon, so the fatigued and worn wizard wanted to rest. He seemingly had an eternal scowl because he was an indignant, old warlock.

Suddenly, a dumb bard started singing an annoying tune outside the wizard’s cave. The wizard woke up grudgingly and felt anguish because of the grotesque melody.

“Get away from here, sir!” boomed the wizard. “Have you no manners or respect for the elderly?”

“I have a right to be here,” taunted the insolent bard, hastily singing even louder because he wanted to perturb the snappy wizard. Cunningly, the wizard decided to extol the bard, instead of rebuking him.

“Your singing is so beautiful and sleek,” flattered the wizard. “Why don’t I enjoy your song, and we can share this rare ale from Hallstatt, Austria? I heard than Johannes Gutenberg loves the drink.”

The boneheaded bard was cajoled and went closer, so the wizard could see him. But this proved fatal because the wily wizard pounced on the bard and ate him dead.

Moral: Just because somebody flatters you doesn’t mean they really admire you. They may even be your enemy!

Ali & the Magic Lamp

I’m going to attempt to publish all of Houston’s Essential’s papers from the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 “school” years. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. Oh yeah, it’s because I was still the main blogger at this site (before I had my other venture, which shall remain nameless – tee hee), and it simply hadn’t dawned on me that y’all might wanna read these amazing papers. I guess sometimes good ideas take a while to be realized and executed. Ah, the story of my life!

Now, remember with Essentials and the writing program used therein (IEW: the Institute for Excellence in Writing), there is lots of parent help in the beginning. They call it hand-holding, and it’s supposed to teach through teamwork and educator modeling, so some of these papers from early on may be more me than Houston. So, pay attention to the dates, and know that anything done more recently is definitely more him than mama.

I will also be publishing the 3 Amigos’ papers from the 2018-2019 school year at our co-op once they start to pump those out in a few weeks. Houston will be in his third and final year of Essentials at our CC homeschool co-op, and Gabriel and Zeke will be in their first of three tours of this incredible writing program. And again, Houston’s upcoming papers will be done virtually independent (with me mostly helping with final editing only), but the twins will have a decent amount of my help during this first go round. The process works, people. IEW is amazing, as are kids’ brains!

Ali and the Magic Lamp
By Houston
14 November 2016

Huffing and puffing, Ali bolted through the vast withered valley of Afghanistan as he fled invaders. Arrows whizzed around him violently like a swarm of bees. Worried, woeful, and weary, Ali was stunned because his village had been destroyed, their temple had been desecrated, and his family had been apprehended by the barbarians. Ali panicked and thought, “Where can I ascend to escape these tenacious raiders?”

Hastily, he climbed into the ridged, rugged mountains to hide in a cave. Ali, who was happy he had found the damp, dark, yet delightfully safe space, explored the confusing cavern. Despite it being pitch-black and frightfully silent, it was his only refuge.

Luckily, Ali found a dusty silver lamp that bewitched him. He had picked up the heavy object, which exploded like a bomb, spewing out of tornado of smoke. An enchanting genie had suddenly appeared and granted him three wishes. Ali had desired to save his family, protect his village, and have riches beyond compare. The genie bestowed upon him the wishes, and Ali relished his good fortune in obtaining such a magical lamp.