Thursday, July 31, 2003

New Book on Greek

Some kind friends loaned me W.E. Vine's book "You Can Learn New Testament Greek". Yes, I am still using my original book (Learn New Testament Greek by John Dobson) and am in the middle of lesson 9. And yes, I will continue to use Dobson's book (at least until lesson 20 when I will purchase Mounce's textbook). But Vine discusses Greek in a more formal and rigorous manner. Dobson has been teaching me, but Vine tells me that it is more formally referred to as the "First Declension".

Now a rant against ridiculous marketing. The cover of Dobson's book says "Begin reading the Greek text in 10 days!". Vine's book goes one step further - "... by the third lesson you'll be reading Greek from the New Testament!". Now does anyone really believe these claims? Sure, in about 15 minutes you can memorize the Greek words behind John 1:1, but does anyone really think that this means you are "reading Greek"? Both books seem good, but learning Greek is a hard (even lifelong) task. I'm afraid the marketing departments are setting unrealistic expectations!

On the other hand, many of us have unrealistic expectations in the other direction. Learning Greek is viewed as pretty much impossible. The reality is somewhat in the middle. It requires work and concentration and time, but in 2 weeks I have made enough progress to know that it is possible for me to learn Greek and it is enjoyable. My goal is to finish lesson 20 of Dobson by the end of August. Realistically, it will take years to develop a working knowledge of the Greek New Testament, and even then I would not be considered a real scholar.

Now for a shameful admission. I previously said that Dobson's book had introduced verbs and started conjugations. In fact, it was introducing the declension of nouns. 14 years in the public school system and 8 years of university, and I can't for the life of me remember the difference between a noun and a verb! And people ask why we homeschool!

Speaking of homeschooling, I'm really excited because the program we are using this year allows me to do more participation. Each day, there are read-aloud books, where the parent reads to the children. Karen pointed out that there are more read-alouds in the program than most people ever get through, so I could start doing some of the read-alouds in the evening with the children. So what is the value of read-alouds? Studies have shown that children who have books read to them (after they learn to read) learn twice as many new words each day as children who just read themselves.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Converting Audio Files

It turns out that dBpowerAMP has a converter for Real Audio files. I think it uses Real's codec, because you need to have RealPlayer installed for it to work. It also has a batch mode, although to convert a file takes the same amount of time as playing the file. 140 sermons x 45 minutes per sermon works out to about 4.5 days of computer time. Still, I'm willing to let the computer do the work!

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Starting to Learn Greek

Since I started my vacation about 2 weeks ago, I have been trying to teach myself Greek. I have a book which is OK, but not very rigorous. I have promised myself that if I can make it to lesson 20 in this book, I will spend the money and buy Bill Mounce's textbook and workbook. If I can't make it to lesson 20, then it would be a waste of money to buy another book. I'm in the middle of lesson 8 now. Why is it not rigorous? Well, it has introduced verbs and has presented some conjugations, but at this point I have no idea whether Greek verbs have a regular conjugation, or whether I am just learning a special case. Anyway, it is interesting. I've also made up some flash cards, which my 7 year old can help me to drill with. She'll enjoy teaching Daddy!

Monday, July 28, 2003

Converting Sermons to .mp3 format

After recording about 140 sermons off of cassette tape using the free version of RealProducer, I've finally discovered GoldWave. Shareware at a decent price, great editing capabilities, etc. Now if only there was a way to convert those 140 .ra files to .mp3 format!
Welcome to "Shawn's Place". After reading a couple of blogs, I decided to create my own. Here you will see my ideas, philosophies and experiences.