Saturday, November 19, 2005

Our School Cabinet Gallery

Well, I think I promised pictures months ago of the school cabinets we built for the four oldest this fall. We didn't have them completely done until several weeks into school - they were plain bookshelves the first week, then they we added doors (when we finished decorating them), then we added the plastic drawers and built-in dividers then we added the caster wheels. I really love these cabinets.

Desks never worked for us - my kids actually liked them, but they take up too much floor space, are really ugly and are dangerous because the toddlers love to climb up on them and stand on the desk part.

Anyway, these cabinets help each child have their own space and keep it organized (to some degree at least) and makes them very portable on the main floor of the house. It has really helped keep books, timeline binders, science binders (we're using Mary Daly's materials - but not as much as I'd like so far), etc. neat and organized. By the way, these cabinets were inspired in part by the Learning Styles Quiz we took from Mercy Academy which indicated that a number of our children needed some extra help with keeping their work area organized.

I'm particularly proud of my first decoupage job ever! Can you tell which cabinet belongs to our geography buff? I found the black and white pictures at Target - 4 for 25 cents on the clearance rack! I'm having a lot of trouble with the blogger photo tool (not meant to handle so many photos, I suppose), so I'll put the rest of the pics in a separate post.


Dr. Thursday said...

What do the pictographs mean on that one cabinet?

Love2Learn Mom said...

I was wondering if someone would ask that question. It's my son's name in Chinese - at least according to one of John's business associates from Taiwan. Not quite as mysterious as it looks. Matthew designed the door himself, although John painted the letters - he's attempting to study Chinese - (I think that's how he would put it :)

We have a very pretty plaque with Chinese characters on it given to us by another associate from Taiwan who has spent some time with our family (and subsequently talked his wife into having a second child). It translates
"Count Your Blessings".

Dr. Thursday said...

This perhaps may go way further than I need, but I try to learn whereever I can. If this is going off the deep end philosophically I apologise, but would still like to know more.

So here is my next question:

Do those symbols "mean" the name "Matthew" or are they "read" as the sound, but possibly "mean" something else?

If that seems confusing, I will say it a different way, as best I can do with English, and no pictures.

Do those symbols "spell" the name
EITHER (1) the way English writes "Matthew"
OR (2) the way we say "math - you" ?

(I hope you see in #2 those are DIFFERENT WORDS but still say his name!!!)

I have often wondered about the Chinese pictograms for names, and whether they have symbols-in-their-own-right for their names, or use, ah, shall we say, the device of a "rebus"...

If this is getting too long, I will gladly try it over on my own blogg; you have merely given me a chance to delight once again in the wonder of our human world. Thanks!

Love2Learn Mom said...

No, it's not confusing at all (partly because we considered that concept when learning a little about Egyptian hieroglyphics) and I love chit chatting about these interesting things. But, I can't REMEMBER whether it's #1 or #2. I think #2, but I'll ask John to respond to you.

Our friend Webber visited almost a year ago and wrote Matthew's name on the Taiwan page of his geography binder. John copied it from that. So we're a few steps back from it already. It seems to me that Webber said something about "fudging" Matthew's name to make it work in Chinese. So I'm not at all sure that it follows any particular rules.

But aren't questions a wonderful thing? Especially for those who love to learn. :) Hmmm. Maybe you could post something on your blog (as things are getting a little buried here) and let John respond there. These questions are just the sort of thing that spark renewed interest and excitement in things around here.

Love2Learn Mom said...

Oooo. Just talked to John. Here's why questions are so great. (I hadn't asked this one so I didn't know this neat tidbit.) Certain Christian names, like John and Matthew, have been familiar to the Chinese since the time of Francis Xavier. They have their own words for these names and they may be translations from some other language rather than an English version of the name.

It must have been one of the other names that he had to fudge that night. :)

Love2Learn Mom said...

OK. I have talked to my friend in Taiwan and learned that: traditional

chinese Bible translation for Matthew is 馬太. The characters of which are

pronounced Ma-Tai. But it does not mean anything in Chinese I am told.

The translation I was given (which you see poorly transcribed onto the

cabinet) is 馬修.
This sounds closer to Matthew.

Not fully satified I went to babelfish for some computer translation. It

correcty identified the newer as Matthew. But when I asked it to translate

each character individually it came out Horse Repairs.

Translating the traditional one comes to Horse Too.
So there you have your opportunity for puns.

Apparently authentic chinese names (3 characters in legth) are very carefully

chosen from their lexicon for all sorts of reasons including puns, family

asperations, combination of characters yeilds another character which means


Now I am going out on a limb. But if I remember right it goes like this: it

used to be the privelege of every 6th generation patriarch to determine the

"middle name" for his family. The "last name" (which is first) is simply the

family. For the middle name he chooses 5 words - one for each generation

after him. He would be able to write a short sentance, or WHATEVER. I think

they would try to be very clever and express desires for wealth and long


Then came the communists!! :<

The "cultural revolution" in the 60s sought to make a clean break from the

past - and succeeded in so many horrible ways. The records of family names

going back a thousand or more years were burned. The alphabet was "

simplified" so the people would find it nearly impossible to read traditional

history books etc.!!! Can you believe it?

2nd grade mom said...

L2L Mom:

I am impressed with your setting of Chinese characters here -- cool :) .