Freedom Academy Library

February 28 - March 4


  The Iditarod 2011 
March 5th


The Iditarod link is up.  You will find it on the right hand side under the title DON'T MISS THIS.  I've told the amazing story of the Serum Run of 1925 and added links to favorite mushers including author Gary Paulsen.  It is not complete and I will be working on it but I hope you enjoy what I have so far.


begins March 5th


The“Last Great Race on Earth”

You can’t compare it to any other competitive event in the world! A race over 1150 miles of the roughest, most beautiful terrain Mother Nature has to offer. She throws jagged mountain ranges, frozen river, dense forest, desolate tundra and miles of windswept coast at the mushers and their dog teams. Add to that temperatures far below zero, winds that can cause a complete loss of visibility, the hazards of overflow, long hours of darkness and treacherous climbs and side hills, and you have the Iditarod. A race extraordinaire, a race only possible in Alaska. From Anchorage, in south central Alaska, to Nome on the western Bering Sea coast, each team of 12 to 16 dogs and their musher cover over 1150 miles in 10 to 17 days.

Lance Mackey, 40 was born and raised in Alaska.  He is the back to back four time Iditarod champion and four time Yukon Quest champion.  He is back for his 5th competition.  Will he win?  We will be watching.




Check out the limericks on the POETRY LINK.  I will be adding more all month.


Dublin Doors

Dublin is somewhat famous for it's Georgian townhouses and their multi-coloured doors. The story goes that the people of Dublin were told to paint their doors all the same color in preparation for a royal visit. In a show of defiance, all the colors of the rainbow were used instead.

When I returned from Ireland I painted my front door blue.  The same color as the door on the top left.




I hope you will take time to read the posts about Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. They were larger than life heroes. So many Americans great and small have made huge sacrafices for freedom. We should all be grateful for their efforts.

of the Revolutionary War

The fife was an enormously popular instrument in the United States during the period from the 1750s until shortly after the end of the Civil War. Because of the prominent role of fifes and long drums during the Revolutionary War and the early years of the republic, these instruments have become traditional symbols of the young nation and of its heritage.



This is a fun interactive web site from Random House.  You can color Junie B, dress her, take a trivia challenge or read her books. The fun goes on and on.  Click on the link below.

A new interactive game

Check out the new Magic Tree House Website

How well do you think you know the stories? There's a new interactive game called "Magic Tree House Missions" where you join Jack and Annie as they travel through time and collect clues to solve puzzles and complete missions!

Help Jack and Annie find the buried treasure.
click on the picture to enlarge and print


IRELAND is a beautiful place, very green with lots and lots and lots of rocks. This is Ashford Castle where I stayed  for several days.  It was wonderful.  Many great Americans can trace their heritage to the "Emerald Isle"  and many of our traditions were brought here by the immigrating Irish.  I will be posting pictures over the next few weeks to give you a peek at this lovely country.

There are no snakes in Ireland, it's true.  There are, however, great big black spiders.  When I first checked into my room in Ashford Castle I opened up the windows because it was a beautiful day and I had a wonderful view.  As night began to fall huge black spider came out of the cracks between the stones of the castle walls. Yikes... all windows were closed and locked!!!

CHECK OUT the Irish dancing video to the right.


"We cannot, Sir, do without you."
Thomas Jefferson

It was the spring of 1782. American patriots were still celebrating General George Washington’s victory over Cornwallis at Yorktown. The Revolutionary War appeared to be over. Only months after Yorktown, people began to talk about the need for a strong leader to put things in order. Nowhere was the talk more common than among the men in Washington’s Army.  Army officer, Col. Lewis Nicola, fearing that democracy would not work in the United States, proposed that Washington become King.

Washington totally rejected the idea of establishing a monarchy in America with himself as king. "Banish these thoughts from your mind," he wrote.

Washington reluctantly accepted the presidency. Jefferson told him: "We cannot, Sir, do without you." None of the other founding fathers, despite all their brilliance, could command the respect and trust George Washington did. Washington became the first and only president to be unanimously elected.  Shortly before he was inaugurated, George Washington wrote: "My movement to the chair of government will be accompanied by feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of execution."

Washington was inaugurated as president on April 30, 1789. He dedicated himself to being leader for the whole country, not for just one region, one economic class, or one political group.

The fact that Washington became the first president of the United States did not automatically mean he was a great one. Compared to other political leaders of his time, such as Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, Washington was far from outstanding. He had little formal education. He knew no foreign languages. He had never traveled to Europe. Personally aloof, even cold, he was not a great thinker, writer, or speaker. Despite these shortcomings, Washington still places near or at the top of the list of great presidents even today. Why?

Washington's genius, his greatness, lay in his character.   It was this moral character that set him apart from other men. He had firm personal and political principles, and he stuck to them.

Unlike the other founding fathers, Washington was a true non-partisan. He hated it when people divided into hostile groups, and he tried to avoid taking sides during political disputes. As president of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, he contributed almost nothing to the heated debates that took place. Instead, he used his considerable prestige to calm people down and get them back to their main job: creating a new form of government for the United States.

Andrew Jackson and Alexander Hamilton

He usually spent a lot of time asking people for their advice before he made up his mind. His two closest advisers were Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, two men who bitterly disagreed almost daily over every important issue facing the nation. At the end of these arguments, however, it was Washington who decided what was best for the country.

Mount Vernon

Washington's heart was always at Mount Vernon. He thought about it all the time. Even when he was president he devoted a great amount of his energy worrying about the fence posts of his plantation, and his letters dealing with the details of running Mount Vernon were longer than those dealing with the running of the federal government.

 In 1796, at age 64, Washington longed for the peace of Mount Vernon. The increasing political conflict that pitted Jeffersonians against Hamiltonians strained his ability to be the leader of all the people. Washington’s concept of leadership—doing what was best for the whole country—was rapidly being smothered by partisan bickering between the new political parties. Washington could have had a third term as president. But he chose to step down, once and for all ending the idea that he wanted to be a lifetime king. By giving up political power, he made his final major political contribution to our constitutional form of government.

Washington resigns

George Washington's Eulogy delivered  December 26, 1799 by Henry Lee

"First in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in the humble and endearing scenes of private life. Pious, just, humane, temperate and sincere, uniform, dignified and commanding, his example was as edifying to all around him as were the effects of that example lasting. . . . Correct throughout, vice shuddered in his presence and virtue always felt his fostering hand. The purity of his private character gave effulgence to his public virtues. . . . Such was the man for whom our nation mourns."

Henry Lee was a cavalry officer in the American Revolution and father of Robert E. Lee.

A tribute to George Washington

This is the soundtrack from the movie, The Patriot.  Listen for the fife and drum.


 It was a lovely Valentine's Day in the library. Students gathered as we drew from hundreds of names for pencils, and books, and even funny stuffed animals in our "AR Giveaway"  It is a delight to watch such eager readers.  The true reward is not only the enjoyment that comes from reading but the broadening experience of seeing the world through other's eyes.

"Literature will illuminate your life" 

I rode in a jaunting cart just like this when I was in Ireland. Looking forward... it is time to



A Tribute to Abraham Lincoln

Click on the arrow to start the music, then read the text below.

He was born in a humble log cabin but rose to the highest office in the land. He had almost no formal education but earned a place in history as one of the most eloquent speakers the world has ever known.  He held a nation together during it's most bitter and tragic conflict but became the last, great casualty of that war.

His name was Abraham Lincoln

His early life gave little indication of the greatness that was to come. He was born in the backwoods of Kentucky, his father a poor farmer. He opened a general store but it failed. He ran for local office, but he lost. He became a postmaster but delighted more in reading the newspaper that in delivering it. He became a rail splitter and it was said he had the strength of three men. Yet none of these satisfied him.

What Abraham hungered most for in this world was found in books, claiming that his best friend was the man who would loan him a book he hadn't read. With encouragement from a friend, Lincoln studied the law. Apprenticing himself to a lawyer and studying night and day he passed the bar in April of 1837.

From a young age Lincoln loathed slavery. he witnessed a slave auction first hand while traveling in New Orleans and said to his companions... "Let us get away from this. If ever I get a chance to hit that thing (meaning slavery) I'll hit it hard."

At 6 ft 4 inches, Abraham was tall and ungainly with features that were far from handsome. But his extraordinary sense of humor was renowned. The stories and jokes he told would become known not only for the laughter they brought but also for the wisdom so often contained within them. Once, when asked why he was so often quiet he replied.

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

Though he loved to laugh there was also a deep sadness about him, a melancholy that would remain all his life.  He lost his mother when he was nine, his sister Sarah ten years later and three of his four sons never reached adulthood.

He watched as the nation he loved almost destroyed itself with brother fighting brother.  Every waking hour of his presidency was occupied with the Civil War.  His great strength and resolve held the nation together but the burden of presiding over such a nation was tearing him apart. After the battle of Fredericksburg, John Hays recalled Lincoln sitting on the front porch of the White House, watching the wagons roll by with the dead.

He was the first American president to fall under an assassin's bullet and initiated the most intense period of mourning the nation had ever experienced.  Forty thousand people came to pay their respects as his body lay in state in the rotunda.

When the capital viewing was complete and the funerals in Washington and New York were over, his coffin was placed on a seven car train that embarked on a 1200 mile journey across the country, snaking from the nations capitol to his home in Illinois.

NOTE:  Notice the red circle around the window in the photograph.  Young Teddy Roosevelt was watching the procession from that window.

Tens of thousands of people lined the railways, standing silent and bareheaded, saying good-bye.  He was laid to rest in his beloved Springfield.

Abraham's journey was over but with each passing year came the realization that a giant had walked on the national stage.

"Of all the men I ever met, Abraham Lincoln possessed more of the elements of greatness combined with goodness, than any other man."   William T. Sherman

This is a beautiful picture book about Lincoln's Funeral train.



Author Websites


Ask anyone in 4th grade Saxon Math

Click on this link and it will take you to a site where you can make hundreds of tessellations. 





1907: Milton Hershey creates the first kiss.
1924: He trademarks the "plume" that extends from the wrapper.
1942-'49: No Kisses were sold during World War II because of the silver foil rationing.

Hershey had chocolate bars included in the wars rations.  This introduced his chocolate not only to Americans but in Europe as well.

1986: Red and silver foil-wrapped Kisses are introduced in honor of Valentine's Day.

With two failed candy businesses behind him, he was an unlikely candidate for success. Yet Mr. Hershey turned his story from rags to riches by persevering, eventually selling his caramel company for $1,000,000 and devoting himself completely to chocolate making.

Milton built a dairy farm so there was plenty of fresh milk available to use in the candy making process.

Using equipment purchased at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, Milton Hershey began experimenting with boiled milk, sugar and cacao beans in an effort to create affordable milk chocolate that could be mass-produced. In a few years, he perfected his recipe and by 1903 was breaking ground for a new factory in the town that bears his name.


In 1903,Milton Hershey built a huge chocolate factory and an entire town to go with it. The town of Hershey, Pennsylvania had a streetcar line, schools, library, sports arena, community center and a special school for needy children.

Today, the town of Hershey is still the home of the factory that Milton Hershey built. And if you ever visit, you can smell delicious chocolate smells just by driving through the town

When he and his beloved wife, Catherine, realized they could not have children, they founded a school for orphaned boys. His dream had grown far beyond acquiring wealth for his own benefit: “One is only happy in proportion as he makes others feel happy.” In 1918, long before his death, Milton Hershey endowed the school that he and Catherine started with his entire fortune.

Over 80 million Hershey's Kisses are made each day. They are made by a machine that releases an exact amount of chocolate onto a moving conveyor belt, and then sent to a machine that wraps up to 1,300 Kisses a minute.