Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Honesty (A Mini-Unit Study)

Dear friends,

In honor of President's Day this week, I assigned a literature study on the topic of honesty to my home school co-op English class.  In addition to the assignments and discussion notes below, you will also find very useful lists about honesty at http://www.k12.hi.us/~mkunimit/honesty.htm

Discussion: What is honesty?

·         Honesty is telling the whole truth, in your words, actions, and intentions.  It is being accurate. (That does not mean that someone who tells wrong information is lying.  If they sincerely think it is true, they are not being deceptive, just mistaken. There can still be negative consequences for this, especially if the person should have known better, but there is a difference based on their intention!)   Being honest does not mean you need to tell someone information that is none of their business, or that they would use to harm other people, or that is unnecessarily hurtful. You should use discretion and only say what you need to say.  You can reply that you can’t answer a question, or that they need to ask your parent for information.  Or you could just be quiet in the first place.
·         Dishonesty is purposely deceiving, or telling a lie, or using “correct” words in a way that is intended to mislead others.  This would include telling a “half truth” or concealing information that needs to be told. Slander is saying something bad and untrue about another person in order to hurt their reputation.  (This is illegal, and you can get sued for it.)  Another word for that is a rumor. Dishonesty includes false impressions and false advertising.

·         Honesty is being trustworthy and reliable by actively keeping your promises and doing what you say you will do.   This includes keeping a confidence of privacy when someone tells you something that is not for others to know.  (If someone is in danger of hurting themselves or others, you have an obligation to tell the proper authority, even if you promised not to.) If you legitimately cannot carry out a promise, like if your parent forbids you or if you really tried but couldn’t possibly fulfill it because of some obstacle, then you must be prepared with a reasonable explanation as soon as possible and find some other good way of doing what needs to be done.  When in doubt, ask your parent for advice!
·         Dishonesty is “forgetting” (not taking the effort to remember) or neglecting to carry through on your promises, or telling someone you will do what you never intended to do in the first place.

·         Honesty is being fair with money, possessions, and time.  It is following the rules to get a rightful reward.  It is your responsibility to find out what the rules are ahead of time, and not just claim you didn’t know better!
·         Dishonesty is cheating or stealing or manipulating or breaking the rules to get what does not rightfully belong to youPlagiarism, which is presenting someone else’s written work as if you wrote it so you can get credit for it, is dishonest.  Saying that you worked more hours than you did so that you can get paid more is cheating.  Tax evasion, which is filling out tax forms and saying you made less money than you did so that you have to pay less taxes, is cheating.

·         Honesty is being authentic, presenting yourself as you are.  This takes humility
·         Dishonesty is being hypocritical or fake to make yourself look better. 


I included three main literature assignments in my lesson packet.   Our main class resource is The Book of Virtues edited by Dr. William Bennett.

Literature #1: Read “The Honest Woodman” story adapted by Emilie Poulsson on page 602 of The Book of Virtues.  The story is based on the poem by Jean de La Fontaine below.  

1.  Why did the fairy/Mercury show the woodman all three axes and then give all of them to him?
2.  List four ways the story is different from the poem.  Think about details, plot, characters, setting, style, etc.
3. What are a few of the rewards of honesty?  What are some of the consequences of dishonesty?

“The Woodman and Mercury” (partial) by Jean de La Fontaine
A woodman lost his means of gain, 
His hatchet, which he sought in vain;
’Twas grief to hear him sob and cry;
He had no tools to sell nor means to buy
His hatchet kept his hope alive,
With that went all his means to thrive.
His cheeks were bathed with tears: he sighed:
“My axe! O my poor axe! ” he cried;
“Restore it, Jupiter, to me,
I’ll own a second life from thee!”
Olympus heard him as he prayed,
And Mercury came down, and said :
“The hatchet's safe, and I can show it,
But are you sure that you will know it?
An axe I found near on the road.”
With that an axe of gold he showed.
This to be his the man denied.
A silver next his virtue tried,
“But that's not mine,” the man replied.
Then one of wood the god displayed,
“I'm happy now,” the woodman said;
“This is the one for which I prayed.”
The god rejoined; “ Take all the three,
To recompense your honesty.”
He took them all, and thanked the god.
The story soon got spread abroad;
The bumpkins lost their tools, and roared
To get them thus so well restored.
The king of gods which wight to hear scarce knows,
Again sends Mercury to heal their woes;
To each an axe of gold he shows,
And each had thought himself a pretty fool,
Not to have cried at once ; “ Ay, that’s my tool! ”
Bot Mercury gave not that axe, instead
Laid it with vengeance on each rascal’s head.
Be happy with your lot, and tell no lies,
Nor think to cheat the Ruler of the skies.

Literature #2:  In The Book of Virtues, read “Pinocchio” by Carlo Lorenzini, starting on page 609. 

1.  What did Pinocchio do when he had already lied and the fairy kept asking him questions? 
2.  Think about these quotes and then tell one reason why it is foolish to lie in the first place.
  •      “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive!”  Sir Walter Scott (British spelling practise = practice)
  •      “Lying can never save us from another lie.” Vaclev Havel
  •      “If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything.” Mark Twain
  •      “No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar.” Abraham Lincoln

3.     What was the visible consequence of Pinocchio’s dishonesty?
4.     How did his nose go back to its normal size?

Literature #3: In The Book of Virtues, read the “Lady Clare” poem by Alfred Tennyson starting on page 639 and “Rebecca's Afterthought” poem by Elizabeth Turner on page 608.  

1.  What happened at the birth of Lady Clare?
2.  How did the Lady Clare respond in her words and actions when Alice told her who she really was? 
3.  How did Lord Ronald respond in his words and actions?
4. Why did Rebecca decide to tell the truth?

Literature # 4: In The Book of Virtues, read “Nobility” poem by Alice Cary on page 654, “Someone Sees You” story on page 604, and “George Washington and the Cherry Tree” starting on page 605.  If you would like to read more about honest presidents, check out “Honest Abe” starting on page 620.

1.  February 22 is George Washington’s birthday!  He was born in 1732 in Virginia.  How many years ago was that?  Write it out in words.  Remember to hyphenate the words for the tens and ones place.  For example, the number 189 would be written out as “one hundred eighty-nine.”
2.  Ironically, the story you read today, written by a parson (preacher) named Mason Locke Weems, may be just a legend rather than a true story.  However, what can we learn from it anyway?  The painting above is by Grant Wood in 1939. (Look carefully at the patterns and themes in the painting, too!) Here is what one web site says about the story and painting: “Parson Weems was a bookseller, an itinerant preacher, and the creator of the cherry tree legend which he wrote in the fifth edition of his book Life of George Washington, the  Great. The story was fabricated [created] by Weems, and its purpose was to express a moral, not historical fact… Grant Wood satisfied both those who wished to keep the folklore and those who wished to expose the stories as less-than-truth. He is able to show the viewer that the story is Parson Weems' invention at the same time that he shows us an imaginative presentation of the original tale.”
3.     George Washington said, “Labor to keep alive in your breast that little celestial fire called conscience.”  Another quote from him: “I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man."  Choose one of these quotes and tell in your own words what it means.


Bible Verses on Honesty and Truth

Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a man who speaks the truth.” Proverbs 16:13

A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies.” Proverbs 12:17

“Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?    Who may live on your holy hill?  He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman…” Psalm 15:1-3

I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.” Psalm 119:30

But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” John 3:21

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” 1 Corinthians 13:6

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ... Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.” Ephesians 4:15, 25

Other Quotes on Honesty

“Honesty does not always bring a response of love, but it is absolutely essential to it.” Ray Blanton

 “We tell lies when we are afraid... afraid of what we don't know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us.  But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.” Tad Williams

“Honest men fear neither the light nor the dark.” Dr. Thomas Fuller (1608-1661)

“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” Eleanor Roosevelt

“No legacy is so rich as honesty.” William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” Thomas Jefferson

“Honesty is the best policy.” Benjamin Franklin

 “Honesty doesn't always pay, but dishonesty always costs.” Michael Josephson

“There is always a way to be honest without being brutal.” Arthur Dobrin

“Truth is such a rare thing, it is delightful to tell it.” Emily Dickinson

 “A lie has speed, but truth has endurance.” Edgar J. Mohn

“We all need to know what it means to be honest. Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.” James E. Faust

 “The real things haven't changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.” Laura Ingalls Wilder

I hope this has been helpful to you!

Virginia Knowles

Friday, February 1, 2013

What Are These Foods? (Image & Imagination #4)

What are these?

They are all from something edible...

Try looking at common objects in new ways,
in different forms.

Be attentive to odd things just as they appear.

With a silhouette.

Weird already...

Cropped to see just a part...

Or artfully arranged...

How can you use image and imagination in the kitchen?

Try it!

I took all of these pictures, many in the past few days.
The others are from posts on my other blogs, as linked below.

So what are they?

Train your eyes to see -- to be amused and amazed at God's creativity!

Life will be so much more interesting and inspired!

Virginia Knowles

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