Early Understandings Concerning Time, Space, & Matter

TIME

The Sun's Circuit

We understood that the sun circuits the earth. This basic understanding made future explanations of the seasons, tropic of Cancer & Capricorn, and solar timekeeping easy to understand.

Solar time vs. Standard time

Man, for millenia has measured time based on the sun. At 12 noon, the sun was at its highest point in the sky. But in the 1880's, this presented a problem for the trainmaster. The sun may be at mid-sky in city, but still rising in another--it was noon in this city and 11:45 in that city. The trainmaster needed everybody in that region to be at 11:45 am. Standard time was developed. Early clock masters who departed from using the sun's position in the sky were ridiculed. Many rebelled against this change. Of one clockmaster, the people ridiculed, "he sets the sun by his clock").

Hannah and I would try to figure out what time it was passed on the sun's position in the sky. My father said that when they worked in the fields, they knew it was lunch time when they stood in their shadow. He said that there was a city somewhere in the U.S. (Wisconsin?) that still uses solar time, they never gave it up. Little Hannah (year 2) and I made sundials and used sticks to see where the shadow fell. We never became proficient at it, BUT WE KNEW, AND KNOW, that the sun is the true timekeeper. As a result of understanding what happened, we understand that WE ARE ON ARTIFICIAL TIME. Today, the sun is no longer looked upon as the timekeeper--but regardless of man's artificial time it still is.

We also looked at the sun to determine direction. As the years wore on, we discovered the astrolabe, a device used by mariners to determine their position...From early on, I noticed that we were learning to speak two languages--what is real and the truth (e.g., sun time) and what we use in society (e.g., standard time). This would continue. Many things are not what they are supposed to be. Times and laws have been changed--in this case sun time--and have been changed for so long that we only know the changes. We don't know things are changed or who made (and makes) the changes.

The following is excerpted from an article entitled, "History & info - Standard time began with the railroads"--

For millennia, people have measured time based on the position of the sun; it was noon when the sun was highest in the sky. Sundials were used well into the Middle Ages, at which time mechanical clocks began to appear. Cities would set their town clock by measuring the position of the sun, but every city would be on a slightly different time.

The time indicated by the...sun on a sundial is called...Solar Time, or true local time. The time shown by the fictitious sun is called Mean Solar Time, or local mean time when measured in terms of any longitudinal meridian...

Standard time begins in Britain

Britain was the first country to set the time throughout a region to one standard time. The railways cared most about the inconsistencies of local mean time, and they forced a uniform time on the country. The original idea was credited to Dr. William Hyde Wollaston (1766-1828) and was popularized by Abraham Follett Osler (1808-1903). The Great Western Railway was the first to adopt London time, in November 1840. Other railways followed suit, and by 1847 most (though not all) railways used London time. On September 22, 1847, the Railway Clearing House, an industry standards body, recommended that GMT be adopted at all stations as soon as the General Post Office permitted it. The transition occurred on December 1 for the L&NW, the Caledonian, and presumably other railways; the January 1848 Bradshaw's lists many railways as using GMT. By 1855, the vast majority of public clocks in Britain were set to GMT (though some, like the great clock on Tom Tower at Christ Church, Oxford, were fitted with two minute hands, one for local time and one for GMT). The last major holdout was the legal system, which stubbornly stuck to local time for many years, leading to oddities like polls opening at 08:13 and closing at 16:13. The legal system finally switched to GMT when the Statutes (Definition of Time) Act took effect; it received the Royal Assent on August 2, 1880.

Standard time in the US

Standard time in time zones was instituted in the U.S. and Canada by the railroads on November 18, 1883. Prior to that, time of day was a local matter, and most cities and towns used some form of local solar time, maintained by a well-known clock (on a church steeple, for example, or in a jeweler's window). The new standard time system was not immediately embraced by all, however...

The first man in the United States to sense the growing need for time standardization was an amateur astronomer, William Lambert, who as early as 1809 presented to Congress a recommendation for the establishment of time meridians. This was not adopted, nor was the initial suggestion of Charles Dowd of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in 1870. Dowd revised his proposal in 1872, and it was adopted virtually unchanged by U.S. and Canadian railways eleven years later.

Detroit kept local time until 1900, when the City Council decreed that clocks should be put back 28 minutes to Central Standard Time. Half the city obeyed, while half refused. After considerable debate, the decision was rescinded and the city reverted to sun time. A derisive offer to erect a sundial in front of the city hall was referred to the Committee on Sewers. Then, in 1905, Central Standard Time was adopted by city vote.

It remained for a Canadian civil and railway engineer, Sandford Fleming, to instigate the initial effort that led to the adoption of the present time meridians in both Canada and the U.S. Time zones were first used by the railroads in 1883 to standardize their schedules. Canada's Sir Sandford Fleming...also played a key role in the development of a worldwide system of keeping time. Trains had made the old system - where major cities and regions set clocks according to local astronomical conditions - obsolete. Fleming advocated the adoption of a standard or mean time and hourly variations from that according to established time zones. He was instrumental in convening the 1884 International Prime Meridian Conference in Washington, at which the system of international standard time - still in use today - was adopted. Although the large railway systems in U.S. and Canada adopted standard time at noon on November 18, 1883, it was many years before such time was actually used by the people themselves.

The use of standard time gradually increased because of its obvious practical advantages for communication and travel. Standard time in time zones was established by U.S. law with the Standard Time Act of 1918, enacted on March 19. Congress adopted standard time zones based on those set up by the railroads, and gave the responsibility to make any changes in the time zones to the Interstate Commerce Commission, the only federal transportation regulatory agency at the time. When Congress created the Department of Transportation in 1966, it transferred the responsibility for the time laws to the new department.

Time zone boundaries have changed greatly since their original introduction and changes still occasionally occur. The Department of Transportation conducts rulemakings to consider requests for changes. Generally, time zone boundaries have tended to shift westward. Places on the eastern edge of a time zone can effectively move sunset an hour later (by the clock) by shifting to the time zone immediately to their east. If they do so, the boundary of that zone is locally shifted to the west; the accumulation of such changes results in the long-term westward trend. The process is not inexorable, however, since the late sunrises experienced by such places during the winter may be regarded as too undesirable. Furthermore, under the law, the principal standard for deciding on a time zone change is the "convenience of commerce." Proposed time zone changes have been both approved and rejected based on this criterion, although most such proposals have been accepted.

The Moon as a Timekeeper

We understood that the moon is the keeper of months and weeks. In Year 2, we learned about its phases--the new moon, waxing, and waning. We went outside each night (with paper and clipboards) for about two weeks and drew the moon's position in the sky. We understood that the paper calendar that we use today does not reflect the true months, but it does show the moon's phases (the moon as a timekeeper is so exact and predictable that it phases can be placed on the calendar like this.). If we had no wall calendar, we could keep time based on the moon. The new moon (dark moon) is the first day of the month. It will wax (grows light from the right side) up to the full moon and then it will wane (grow dark from the right side) on down until it is completely dark again (the new moon signifying the next month).

The wall calendar that we use today has a history.

SPACE

The Earth is Special

Notwithstanding the Copernican principle of mediocrity, THE EARTH IS SPECIAL. It is our home. We need to know about it. Little children need not be burdened down memorizing the names of the planets in the early grades. God gave man the earth while he reserved the heavens for himself (Psalm 115:16). Therefore, our chief study is to concern the earth. Early on we never focused on memorizing the eight planets (earth is not a planet--planet means "wanderer"). Hannah was acquainted with them through a .99 cent plastic placemat from Walmart that we left on the table.

Learn About Your Home--It's where you live and where everything takes place>

The first week of Year 1 ("kindergarden") was devoted to Globe Work. We had a globe, identified the three elements on it--continents, islands, and seas. Hannah learned where she lived and where Jesus lived. That brings everything right here on the ground, on the earth. The place where the Lord Jesus placed his blessed feet is still here. The Bible is full of geographical concerns--cities, towns, countries, topography. Week 1 was a lot of fun, but not frivilous by any means. I lay down a simple introduction to the subject and its importance based on the scriptures. Then we systematically build on the subject. I use models at key places. In this instance, the globe. After she learned each thing I wanted her to know, I would spin the globe and ask her to find and identify it. When it was time to move on, it was, "More, more, please!" This response has continued to the current day. Always leave off studies on a high note. When Hannah was five, she looked around our school and exclaimed, "It's a feast down here!"

Attention is the light of learning.

In week 1, we also made a wonderful collage featuring the globe, peoples of the world, plants and animals. I had purchased used 10 cent magazines from a nearby library bookstore. The collage still sits in the classroom. It has all kinds of people on it--men, women, children, babies, dark skinned, fair skinned, from the east and from the west. And one little spot has a picture of Hannah. I've always wanted to keep an open door on the world to Hannah and to inculcate an acceptance of all people regardless of what they look like. I always wanted her to be better than me. I did not want her scared of harmless animals like caterpillars and frogs even though I was so I had to go out of my comfort zone to keep her open. When I vascillated, she would immediately pick it up and react like me. She is better than me in many ways, but because children do imitate what they see, she has also picked up some of my bad ways--we will all give account of what we have done at that final tribunal...

The principle of using models, like the globe, would continue throughout our school. For example, the next school year, Year 2, when Hannah learned man's bones on a skeleton and his inwards on a lifesized, medical school type model with removable inwards. What fun to take them out, identify them and put them back in again. The models still sit in our library waiting to be examined again.

At the beginning of Year 1, we learned the three great domains as found in the scriptures--heaven, earth, and seas. Anything that a man can learn about is going to take place in one of these three domains. In Genesis 1, God classifies animals by which domain they inhabit. Anything that can be named is found in Genesis 1:1-2:7--including the telephone. That is how vast Genesis 1:1-2:7 is. The holy scriptures are wide. So wide that they extend back before the foundation of the earth and way out into eternity.]

MATTER

Studying Genesis 1, we learned that "The Periodic Table of the Elements" is erroneously titled. In studying Genesis 1, we believe that the elements include earth, darkness, water, light, and firmament. The Periodic Table is more correctly termed "The Periodic Table of the Components". It lists the handful of dust types found in all substances man has examined--whether they come from the earth, the moon, or the sea.

We understood that "space" is a created thing. It is actually the FIRMament. It is firm and it is substance (a radical and fascinating idea for me at the time and still of great interest--especially the firmament as a divider of waters, its stated purpose. The sun, moon and stars set in the firmament of the heaven--the firmament is firm...).

We understood rocks as respositories of dust (minerals) leached by rain, consumed by plants and made into a form that we, and the beasts can eat.

CONCLUSION

It is my goal to actually write out these simple teachings in small, little books to be used in a SPREAD OUT MANNER. Line must be upon line, precept upon precept, HERE A *LITTLE* THERE A *LITTLE*. Don't say, "This is easy, let me tell her this too." Year 1 was only the globe, continents, islands, seas, and a few other things as we continued our journey through the scriptures. The scriptures themselves actually take a person throughout the creation. When we get to something she does not know, she says, "Mother, what is that?" We stop and examine that ONE thing. We do not memorize a 500 page textbook on the subject, we get a birdseye view of it based on the scriptures, my rough definition, and maybe a few pictures.

One could look at what I did with Hannah each year and say, "That's all you did? That is not enough." I told two women about how I taught Hannah to read--I did not use any curriculum. A year later, one of the women said, "Cassandra listened to you and her children can read. I ordered A Beka curriculum and my children still can't read well."

Without faith in the truth of the scriptures, what we do cannot be repeated. Without a denial of the world and its offerings, this cannot be repeated. Without magnifying God and abasing man, this cannot be repeated.