HH00546_.WMF (3718 bytes)Special Notices to Parents:

The school year consists of twenty-eight lessons and seven examinations. 

Each lesson covers five subjects - Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Science, Science and Fine Arts.

Clayborn Hall sends an examination on five subjects  for each student after every fourth lesson.  Elementary students have various short projects during the year.  Students in the seventh grade through the twelfth grade have year long projects.  High school students must write three five-paragraph essays each year. 

Clayborn Hall maintains student records and transcripts and makes them available to other schools or colleges upon your request.

This sample lesson is provided for your information only and is protected by copyrights.

Clayborn Hall Lessons


The material in this lesson represents approximately five days of work for most students assisted daily by an at-home teacher. Students do best when the at-home teacher and student together cover every subject, every day. Feel free to progress through this material at the pace that best suits you both.

Please use the Internet, books, magazines, articles and other research materials to find additional information on a subject. It is always a good idea to research topics through a variety of sources.

Legends, Speeches, and Stories

In this lesson you will read a story written by Washington Irving. His stories have become American legends.   If you like it, search the internet for more stories by Irving.

But before you hear these wonderful stories, here is Sunnyside, near the Hudson River, the restored home of author Washington Irving.

This copy of the story is written in modern language but the first few paragraphs are in the language of Washington Irving.  You may need some help in reading the long sentences with words we havenít used in a long time. 

                by Washington Irving

Found among the papers of the late Diedrich Knickerbocker.

A pleasing land of drowsy head it was, 
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye; 
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass, 
Forever flushing round a summer sky. 
Castle of Indolence.

In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river dominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarry Town.

This name was given, we are told, in former days, by the good housewives of the adjacent country, from the inveterate propensity of their husbands to linger about the village tavern on market days. Be that as it may, I do not vouch for the fact, but merely advert to it, for the sake of being precise and authentic. Not far from this village, perhaps about two miles, there is a little valley or rather lap of land among high hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook glides through it, with just murmur enough to lull one to repose; and the occasional whistle of a quail or tapping of a woodpecker is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquility.

I recollect that, when a stripling, my first exploit in squirrel-shooting was in a grove of tall walnut-trees that shades one side of the valley. I had wandered into it at noontime, when all nature is peculiarly quiet, and was startled by the roar of my own gun, as it broke the Sabbath stillness around and was prolonged and reverberated by the angry echoes. If ever I should wish for a retreat whither I might steal from the world and its distractions, and dream quietly away the remnant of a troubled life, I know of none more promising than this little valley.

From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar character of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by the name of SLEEPY HOLLOW, and its rustic lads are called the Sleepy Hollow Boys throughout all the neighboring country. A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere. Some say that the place was bewitched by a High German doctor, during the early days of the settlement; others, that an old Indian chief, the prophet or wizard of his tribe, held his powwows there before the country was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson.

This is the end of Irvingís writing.  The rest is in modern language.


There once was a valley that was said to be the quietest place in the world. It was just off the eastern shore of the Hudson River. For as long as anyone could remember, it had been called Sleepy Hollow.

The folks who lived in Sleepy Hollow were a strange lot. They heard voices and saw strange things. It was known that Sleepy Hollow was haunted.

The spirit that most often haunted the enchanted valley was a man riding on his horse. But the man did not have a head. People loved to talk about the ghost.

"He was a soldier," someone would start.

"They buried him in the churchyard," someone else would quickly say.

The people of Sleepy Hollow called this spirit the Headless Horseman.

One of those people was Ichabod Crane, a tall, sweet-tempered teacher. He taught in a plain schoolhouse that stood in a lonely spot at the foot of a green hill. Ichabod's students could not help but think that their teacher's arms and legs were just a bit too long for his body.

"He looks like a scarecrow!" they would whisper as they watched Ichabod walk to school on windy days, his clothes fluttering around him.

Ichabod loved all scary things, so Sleepy Hollow was the perfect place for him. One of his favorite things to do was stretch out next to the river and read spooky stories.

The only thing that Ichabod loved more than a scary story was a young lady named Katrina Van Tassel. Katrina was one of Ichabod's music students. She was known throughout Sleepy Hollow for her beauty.

"I am only a schoolteacher," Ichabod would say, "but I know I could make her happy."

The only man who Ichabod worried might hurt his chances with Katrina was Brom Bones. With a burly frame and broad shoulders, Brom was a threat to the gangly Ichabod. He was known throughout Sleepy Hollow for his strength and his great skill in horsemanship.

"Oh, Brom Bones!" the women would say. "He is so strong and brave!"

"Wherever there is a fight or a party," the men would chuckle, "Brom isn't far behind!"

Although Katrina showed interest in Brom, Ichabod would not give up.

"I shall not lose!" Ichabod thought. He went about courting the lovely Katrina, visiting her home and taking her for long walks in the moonlight.

Brom became jealous when he found out that Ichabod was also seeing Katrina. Brom found ways to make things difficult for the young teacher. He began playing practical jokes. One night, he went into the old schoolhouse and turned everything topsy-turvy. Brom always tried to make Ichabod look silly in front of Katrina.

One autumn afternoon, a messenger arrived at Ichabod's schoolhouse to give him an invitation.

"What is the invitation for?" asked his students curiously.

"Why, it is for a party tonight at the Van Tassels'," replied Ichabod. He knew that this was his chance to sweep the fair Katrina off her feet. "She will forget she ever met Brom Bones!" he exclaimed.

The classroom was abuzz with excitement. Ichabod even agreed to dismiss his students a full hour early. He needed time to primp.

After the students burst out of the schoolhouse doors, Ichabod began to groom himself for the big event. He combed his hair, studying his reflection in a mirror that hung in the schoolhouse. Finally, Ichabod stepped back and looked at himself.

"Perfect!" he declared.

Ichabod proudly mounted his horse like a knight in search of adventure. But he was far from being a brave knight. The horse he rode to the Van Tassels' was not even his own. It was an old plow horse with a tangled mane.

It was a strange sight to see Ichabod riding an old horse. His elbows stuck out like grasshoppers' legs. His arms flapped about like wings. As he rode, his black coat fluttered around him in the wind.

Ichabod was confident when he walked into the party. But his shoulders dropped a bit when he saw his rival, Brom Bones. He was in a corner with some people. Brom had arrived on his favorite horse, Daredevil.  Daredevil was just as mischievous as his owner -- no one had ever been able to tame him. Ichabod could hear Brom's booming voice.

"And then I lifted all five men with one hand!" Brom bragged.

Ichabod sighed. Would Katrina really choose him over Brom?

Suddenly music floated throughout the manor house and the guests began to trickle into the ballroom.

"May I have the honor of this dance?" Ichabod asked Katrina quickly.

Soon they were whirling across the floor. Katrina smiled happily, but Brom was anything but happy. He stood in the corner, jealously watching Ichabod.

Before Ichabod left the party, he joined a few people who were telling tales of the haunted land. Soon they were talking about the Headless Horseman. It seemed that he had been spotted several times lately.

"He has been seen at one of his favorite places -- the bridge that leads to the church," someone said.

It was almost midnight when Ichabod left. There was hardly a sound except for the chirp of the crickets. Even though Ichabod loved all things spooky, he began to feel nervous. His heart was beating loudly. He remembered all of the ghost stories he had heard at the party.

"I must be brave!" said Ichabod, his voice trembling.

Ichabod had never felt so lonely. He began to whistle to keep his spirits up. He thought he heard someone else whistling, but it was just the wind sweeping through the dry autumn branches.

Suddenly, Ichabod jumped in his saddle. Straight up ahead was something white hanging in the middle of a tree.

"A ghost!" yelped Ichabod.

But the nervous schoolteacher saw that it was not a ghost. The tree was only white where it had been struck by lightning.

Ichabod was almost at the very spot where the Headless Horseman had been seen. Soon he began to hear a thumping noise. Ichabod turned his head towards the noise. He saw a huge figure standing in the shadows.

"Wh-who are you?" shouted Ichabod.

Ichabod turned his head to get a better look at his unwelcome guest. The figure was a large man riding a great black horse. Ichabod's teeth began to chatter. Then he saw that the man was...headless!

"The Headless Horseman!" Ichabod gasped.

"Faster, faster!" Ichabod told his horse.

When Ichabod looked behind him, he screamed in horror. The Headless Horseman was about to throw his head! Ichabod dodged, but it was too late. He fell off his horse.

The Headless Horseman rode off into the night.

The next morning, a search party found Ichabod's horse. And a little ways from his horse, they found his hat and a shattered pumpkin.

Ichabod never came back to Sleepy Hollow. When the townspeople told the story, Brom Bones always had a smile on his face. Was it just Brom throwing a pumpkin or did Ichabod really see the Headless Horseman? No one knows for sure. It has become one of the many mysteries of Sleepy Hollow.


Here are two humorous poems.  Read them slowly yourself.   Try to see what is described.  Can you read them without smiling?

A Tragic Story by William Makepeace Thackeray

There lived a sage in days of yore.
And he a handsome pigtail wore;
But wondered much, and sorrowed more,
-----Because it hung behind him.

He mused upon this curious case,
And swore he'd change the pigtail's place,
And have it hanging at his face,
-----Not dangling behind him.

Says he, "The mystery, I've found--
I'll turn me round," --he turned him round;
-----But still it hung behind him.

Then round and round, and out and in,
All day the puzzled sage did spin;
In vain -- it mattered not a pin --
-----The pigtail hung behind him.

At right, and left, and round about,
And up, and down, and in, and out
He turned; but still the pigtail stout
-----Hung steadily behind him.

And though his efforts never slack,
And though he twist, and twirl, and tack,
Alas! still faithful to his back,
-----The pigtail hangs behind him.

The Purple Cow
by Gelett Burgess

I never saw a Purple Cow
I never hope to see one,
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one!



Regular and Irregular Verbs
Verbs are action words. Most verbs are regular, which means you form the past tense just by adding d or ed.

Present tense: Today I play
Past tense: Yesterday I played
Present tense: We talk.
Past tense: We talked.
Present tense: They walk.
Past tense: They walked
Present tense: I move.
Past tense: I moved.

But not all verbs are regular verbs. Some verbs are irregular. With irregular verbs you don't get the past tense when you add d or ed, you get a mistake.
You could say, "Today I bring my lunch."
But you would never say, "Yesterday I bringed my lunch."
You would say, "Yesterday I brought my lunch."
Bring is an irregular verb. You do not make its past tense by adding d or ed.

Study this list of irregular verbs. You already know most of them, but never thought of them as irregular verbs. First comes the present tense followed by the past tense of each word.


Something to do.  Know these words. Write a sentence using the present and past tense of each verb in the list.

You know the names of the places a digit can be in and the value it holds.  In the number  23,418,  2 is in the ten-thousands, 3 is in the thousands, 4 is in the hundreds, 1 is in the tens and 8 is in the ones. 

Sometimes you donít need all the numbers, just an estimate of a number.  Hereís how you do that.

Look at the number 23 - and round it to the nearest tens.  The 3 is less than 5 so the round number is 20.    If you have 27 - and round it to the nearest tens, the 7 is more than 5 so the round number is 30. 

The magic number here is 5.  If the number is 5 or more, round up.  If less than 5, round down. 

If 23,418 is rounded to the nearest tens, look at the 8.  Itís more than 5 so the 1 in the tens spot go up one to 23, 420

If 23, 418 is rounded to the nearest hundreds, look at the 18.  Itís less than 50 so the 4 remains to 23, 400.

If 23, 418 is rounded to the nearest thousands, look at 418.  Itís less than 500 so the 3 remains to 23, 000.

If 23, 418 is rounded to the nearest ten thousand, look at 3,418.  Itís less than 5,000 so the 2 remains to 20,000

Here are some fun numbers to round to various values.

Round 456,387 to the nearest ten thousands.

Round 765 to the nearest tens.

Round 8,345 to the nearest thousands.

Find other numbers to round to various digit values.  Can you stump your at home teacher or your on line teacher?  Have fun.



Natural Borders

What state do you live in? What are its borders? Are any of your state's borders formed by natural geographical features like rivers or mountain ranges? After you answer these questions, think first and then answer this question: Why would natural barriers such as these make good borders?

Long before America was discovered, the natural geography of Europe had a great deal to do with how the armies of ancient civilizations could march upon other peoples in other areas.

Mountains were difficult to pass, and rivers could be easily defended. In your last lessons, you saw on the map of the Eastern Hemisphere that there were many mountains, rivers, seas, and deserts which all affected the trade routes of merchants and the Europe. Here in the United States, our natural geographical features effected our nation's growth and development in much the same way.

The Western Hemisphere
In your last lesson you learned that all of Europe and parts of Africa and Asia were in the Eastern Hemisphere. Can you name the continents in the Western Hemisphere?

The continents of the Western Hemisphere are here. Name them.

Find a map of the world. Pretend it is a giant jigsaw puzzle, and the United States is one of the bigger pieces. Of course, to find it you must look in the Western Hemisphere. On what continent is the United States? Our country is easy to find and identify, especially when you see the "finger" of Florida pointing south. Florida is a very large peninsula. Be sure to locate the Caribbean Sea.


Now go to a map of just the United States so you can see Florida. The position of Florida, which the Spanish discovered after Columbus made his sailing trips, is important.

You can easily see that Florida separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Atlantic Ocean. But what you cannot see is an invisible current (like a river flowing in the ocean) that flows along the east side of Florida. That current is called the Gulf Stream, and it takes warm water from the Gulf of Mexico all the way northward and then, before it reaches Maine, it goes east toward England. The warm water of the Gulf Stream actually warms the weather of Florida and Western Europe. Even though Maine and England are at about the same latitude, England is warmer than Maine.

Our nation's geography helped make us what we are today. Our great bays and rivers near the Atlantic coast helped feed the Native Americans and the first settlers from England.

The descendants of the first Native Americans call themselves American Indians or Indians, but they are also called Native Americans. The settlers traveled by river to explore the new land and to move westward. Later, Americans built canals to connect great rivers. They dug a wide trench, 356 miles long, to connect the Hudson River to Lake Erie. Barges carrying coal, store goods, and other supplies, could travel from the cities on Lake Erie, through the canal to the Hudson River, and down the river to the Atlantic Ocean where they picked up supplies arriving from Europe to take back to the cities on Lake Erie.

In early days, the barges were pulled through the Erie Canal by men and mules. A trail ran on each side of the canal where the men and mules walked. They pulled ropes tied to the barges. Today, all barges on the canal are run by motors. Which system of moving the barges was the friendliest to our ecology? Why?

Trace your finger along that route? What cities are there on Lake Erie? What other cities are along the Erie Canal and Hudson River?


Think, then Answer

Study a map of the United States closely.

What rivers helped the settlers move westward?

What great river, one of the longest in the world, helped people to move trade from north to south, almost from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico?

After you find this great river, be sure to remember its name. Can you now find other large rivers that flow into it? Trace your finger along the Ohio and Missouri Rivers? Name the cities that could trade with one another because they were on or near these connecting rivers -- especially after the steamboat was invented in 1783 by Robert Fulton.



Natural History

Reading the Earth's Story

Once paleontologists have matched rock layers and fossils that are the same age, they can usually figure out what life was like on earth during that time period. They look at what is called the fossil record to tell what kinds of plans and animals were alive at that time.

From the kinds of fossil plants found, they can tell what the climate was like, because they know what kind of a climate certain plants must live in. For example, in Antarctica people have found fossils of plants that need warm temperatures and lots of moisture. This means that Antarctica once had a warm wet climate.

Scientists can trace the history of how different animals developed by comparing fossil bones of the same kind of animals found in different layers of rock that were laid down thousands of years apart. For instance, fossil bones of horses found in different rock layers show that horses have changed size over thousands of years. The older bones are much smaller than the bones of horses today.

Also, scientists can tell how the surface of the earth has changed by studying the location of fossils. They know, for example, that certain mountains must have been under the ocean at some point, because fossils of sea creatures have been found on top of these mountains.  

Fossils of the very same type have been found in similar rock in India, South America, Africa, and Antarctica. How could the same plant and rocks be found in four separate places? Scientists have a theory that it is because these continents were at one time connected, but slowly drifted apart.

In 1915, the German geologist and meteorologist Alfred Wegener first proposed the theory of continental drift, which states that parts of the Earth's crust slowly drift atop a liquid core. The fossil record supports and gives credence to the theories of continental drift and plate tectonics.

Eduard Suess was an Austrian geologist who first realized that there had once been a land bridge connecting South America, Africa, India, Australia, and Antarctica.  He based his deductions on the fossil plant Glossopteris, which is found throughout India, South America, southern Africa, Australia, and Antarctica.


The Dominant (The 5 Chord)

Remember your triple-decker sandwich from the last lesson? Well, you can make all the triple-decker sandwiches you wish from other notes in the scale. The tonic chord you worked with last lesson is by far the most important chord in music.  But the second most important is, you guessed it, the 5 chord, also called the dominant chord.

You can play the 5 chord by starting your triple-decker sandwich from the 5 note. To make dominant chords, you are permitted to go outside the octave that is your scale. This means you can go higher than the 8 note or lower than the 1 note. To play the 5 chord, hit the 5, 7, and 9 notes. Doesn't that sound great? But that gets you up very high. And if you are trying to sing those notes, it gets you up very, very high.

Take a good look: the 5, 7, and 9 notes are also called the G, B, and D notes.  You can figure out why without much difficulty.  Well, we can hit the D note as a very high 9 note, or as a not-so- high 2 note. They are both D notes, even though one is a 2 note and the other is a 9 note.  Try it. Still sounds great, doesn't it?  The 2-note is also a lot easier to sing!

The 5 chord is the 1 chord's best friend. Try playing the 1 chord, sure you remember, and then the 5 chord, and then go back to the 1 chord. Do it again. And, do it again. You think you're getting good, don't you?  Well, you are.

Many songs are built this way, moving from chord to chord.  This is called chord progression. Bach and Mozart were masters at composing by chord progression.  Mozart truly liked to write songs with 1-5-1 chord progression that you have been playing.  This progression can give music a sense of balance and symmetry.

Okay, my young composer, now you shall sing and play some songs that use the 1 and 5 chords, and you will hear exactly what it's all about. As you sing and play, listen for the difference between the two chords. If you aren't familiar with the first song, "Down in the Valley," just ask any grown-up who happens to be around.

When the word is blue, hit and hold the 1 chord.
When the word is red, hit and hold the 5 chord.

Here we go:
Down in the valley, the valley so low,
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow.
Hear the wind blow, dear, hear the wind blow,
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow.

(That was so sweet it brings tears to the eyes.)

Can you hear how the music starts with the 1 chord and goes till "low," where it hits the 5 chord, and then goes home to the 1 chord at the last word, "blow"? Do you dare to sing it again and listen?

Do you know "Clementine"?
In a cavern in a canyon, excavating for a mine,
Dwelt a miner forty-niner, and his daughter, Clementine.
Oh, my darling, oh, my darling, oh, my darling Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever, dreadful sorry, Clementine.
(That one needs a little practice.)
And, with a little practice, you may be able to figure out the chord progression for "The Yellow Rose of Texas."