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History 4, Lesson 60

This week I learned about the trebuchet, distilled spirits, the vertical windmill, and the stern-mounted rudder.

The Trebuchet

The trebuchet was inspired by the sling, and evolved from the earlier tradition trebuchet.  It hurls missiles hundreds of feet and can destroy thick walls.  Its reputation spread by word of mouth because of its repeated success in battle.  It had significant impacts in China, Europe, and the Islamic world.  The Mongols used it to stop the Islamic Golden Age.


Distilled Spirits

Distilled spirits were the first innovation in alcoholic beverages in thousands of years.  The crucial insight came when distillation moved away from the domain of the alchemists and was used for more practical experiments.  Spirits were known to “gladden the heart” and improve mood.  It quickly spread throughout Europe from 1100-1500 AD.

The Vertical Windmill

Water wheels were the dominant power source in Europe until about 1100 AD.  Horizontal windmills were developed in Persia, and the vertical windmill arrived by the 12th century in Europe.  Windmills convert wind energy into power and could operate mills in locations far from flowing water sources. They spread and evolved steadily through the 19th century.  Though largely replaced by modern power sources, they remain useful in areas where electricity isn’t available.


The Stern-Mounted Rudder

The oversized oar was the original method used for steering ships, but it limited how big they could become, which inhibited trade.  The rudder makes it easy to steer very large ships, safely, and reliably. Its development stimulated world trade and travel.  It is still in use today on ships, and especially on jets and airplanes.

Stern-Mounted Rudder

What would we do without these inventions that evolved into the everyday inventions that are such an important part in our lives, yet we barely notice.


History 4, Lesson 55-Helpful Inventions

This week I learned about universities, the wine press, the ribbed vault, and the chimney.


Small schools were in use to train bishops and created large new bureaucracies.  The lure of secure income from bureaucratic jobs persuaded parents into sending their children away.


Wine Press

The press increases the amount of juice recovered and is safer than treading.  The monks built them starting around 1000 AD.  The design was good, demonstrated by the fact that the basket press is still used today.

wine press

Ribbed Vault

The ribbed is an architectural design vault that allowed very high windows, ornate ceilings, and high walls that could be decorated in beautiful ways.  The ribbed vault is important for the Gothic architectural style.

ribbed vault


The chimney vents harmful gases into the atmosphere.  Because of the chimney, houses started to have in-door kitchens.  The chimney is good for warming up a room or person in the winter.

As you can see, all these inventions are very important.


History 4, Lesson 50-The four Als

This week I learned about four scholars:  Al-Kindi, Al-Khwarizmi, Al-Razi, and Al-Hazen.

Al-Kindi invented crypto-analysis techniques and marketed translation to patrons in the House of Wisdom.  He was immersed in the scholarly culture and wrote a broad array of topics.  He was a God-fearing man and rejecting alchemy.  God is the only one who can change one substance to another.

Al-Khwarizmi was a mathematician known as the Father of Algebra.  His work was influential because it was practical which unlocked the potential of mathematics, and would heavily influence medieval European scholarship.

Al- Razi was a doctor and discovered smallpox.  His works became popular in Europe and were incorporated into the basic curriculum of the universities.

Al-Hazen rejected Plato’s intromission theory but used his insights to develop a different intromission theory.  Fun fact: somebody named a crater on the moon after him.

As you can see, the Als were important people.

Science 5, Lesson 65

Impressionism: A.D. 1800s (Late) – 1900s (Early)

My favorite style of art is Impressionism.  Artists realized that people who were born blind and later made able to see through eye surgery had difficulty distinguishing objects around them.  Instead they saw patches and shapes of color.

Impressionist artists believed that these raw sense impressions revealed foundational knowledge about the universe.  So they painted pictures full of color patches.

Claude Monet (1840-1926) is the most famous impressionist artist. His paintings show his personal struggle to find real knowledge about the universe:


2,500 paintings, drawings and pastels that have been attributed to Impressionist Claude Monet. Most likely the number is even larger than that as it is known that Monet destroyed a number of his own works and others have surely been lost over time.  The actual number of Monet paintings is unknown others have surely been lost over time.

Here are a few of his many paintings:



Weeping willow.JPG

Weeping Willow

Woman with a paresal

Woman with a Parasol

English 5, Lesson 70-The Best Parents in the World

My parents meet my criteria for being the best parents in the world, the universe, and the galaxy.

I’m inspired by my parents because they love me, help me, and do anything to make me happy.  They taught me to be kind and compassionate. They build my self-esteem. They always make sure I’m happy. My Mom goes out to work, and when she comes home she almost always brings home something for me, and always tries to spend time with me and my Dad.  My Dad stays home and cooks, cleans, and takes care of me and my Mom. He is always willing to help me with school, decorations for my room, or help my Mom with a presentation she has to do.

My parents are doing something that their parents never did for them. They’re supporting my dream to become an actress on Broadway.  My Dad’s parents wanted him to be doctor; my Mom’s parents wanted her to be a teacher.  When I grow up I’m going to have child, and I’m going to treat that child just as how my parents have treated me, or better, if there is something better, or greater than how my parents treat me.

Children think the world of their parents. I think the universe of them.

English 5, Lesson 60-My Dream Job

My dream job is to be an actress on Broadway.

I love acting, singing, and dancing.  I’ve been acting since I was six.  I want to be an actress for many reasons.  Let me just scratch the surface.  Firstly, I love the makeup, the costumes, the props, the sets, and the lights.  Secondly, the attention; I’m an only child.  However, I’m not the type of person that constantly needs attention.  Somehow, on stage it’s different.  Finally, I love acting because of the hustle and bustle back stage.  I love being around all the people, since I’m an only child, and a homeschooler.

As you can see, acting is a lot of fun.

English 5, Lesson 50 – My favorite birthday present

I love birthdays not only mine but everybody else’s.  What’s there not to love?  The cake, the presents. But my personal favorite is the presents!

For my ninth birthday, I got loads of presents and all of them were awesome.  But, I have two favorites. My friend Erin gave me two presents.  One was something called Plush Craft, which was a pillow that you could decorate.  The second one was something called Wixi Stixs which are sticky wax sticks that you can shape to your heart’s content.  For my tenth birthday, my best friend Zafron gave me Bey Blades and a purse.  A Bey Blade, in my dad’s words, is a “fancy spinning top.”  This is basically what it is.

Birthdays are awesome, especially with cake and presents, and goody bags that have candy in them. Do you like birthdays as much as I do?

English 5, Lesson 40 – My “Scary” experience

The luge, the most fun thing in the world, or not.

I was at Sentosa with my Mom, uncle, and three cousins. They all wanted to go on the luge. Of course, I wanted to go too but I was extremely nervous.  Why? Three reasons.  One, I don’t like heights and you have to take a ski lift to get up. Two, my two older cousins were supposed to take care of me and my eight year old cousin, Dylan.  I had a gut feeling they were going to ditch us, and since it was my first time, I didn’t want to be leading Dylan around aimlessly. Three, I was afraid I’d get stuck, or go too fast and hit someone, or go too slow and get hit by someone else.  Yup.  I was over reacting.  But none of that happened.  The ski lift was nice and slow, and the view was amazing. I didn’t get hit or hit anybody. Or get stuck.  Dylan did.  But, my cousins did ditch us. I was scared at first, but I’m glad I got over my fears and had so much fun.

The luge, the most fun thing in the world, and not the least bit scary.

English 5, Lesson 30 – My first apartment in Singapore

I just moved into my first neighborhood in my new home country, Singapore.

I live in a building complex on a street called Depot Road.  On it, there is a Hindu temple, a Buddhist temple, an international school, an industrial area, a food court, a supermarket, a roti prata restaurant, and a bubble tea shop!  There are two convenient bus stops in front of our building.  I also love my new neighborhood because of where my apartment is located.  The apartment faces a green, luscious forest.  This is known as Telok Blangah Park, and it covers 84 acres and is more than 100 meters above sea level.  It is a great trekking adventure.  When I get bored, I like to look at it and pretend the trees are alive and I even name them sometimes.  Another thing I like about my apartment is my room.  It is so big that we are able to fit a queen sized bed.  I am sleeping in a queen bed!  I also really like my neighbors.  Next door to us is an elderly couple, and whenever they pass by they say greet us.  My uncle lives in the building right next to ours with his wife and two-year-old son, my cousin.  I get to see him all the time.

As you can see my new neighborhood is amazing.

History 4, Lesson 45- Forest Glass

After Rome collapsed, the regular clear, thin glass became a thing of the past.

The Roman glass that made in Rome was good quality.  However, after Rome collapsed, glass making skills deteriorated.  But due to local demand, glass making was back in business.  Except, nobody remembered how to make the old glass.  This prompted creative experimentation with new glass-making ingredients.  The result was forest glass.  Forest glass was mainly for functional purposes due to its ugly greenish- brown color.  Improved glass-making skills gave birth to stained glass windows.  Glass makers figured out how to make different colored glass.  They were used to teach peasants the Bible since very few people knew how to read.

As you can see, Rome collapsing brought forest glass and stained glass into existence.