As many of you know, I am teaching my oldest daughter 2nd grade this year. I have learned a lot in the first 3 weeks of school!
Did you know that a Viking explorer, Leif Ericson, was probably the first European to discover North America about 1000 AD? This is 500 years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. I had heard of Lief before, but didn't remember or know who he was. There is archaological evidence on the North tip of Newfoundland that Vikings had a settlement there. Fascinating! By the way, Leif later became a Christian, and took a priest and a teacher to Greenland to spread the Gospel.
Did you know that during the Dark Ages, Benedictine monks played a very important role in preserving writings and knowledge that otherwise would have been lost? They also provided several services to needy people, including food, lodging, and education. Out goes my previous view of monks as hermits who don't want to interact with the world for fear of being corrupted. Seems like they served more as lights in a dark world.
Did you know that there is an island off the coast of Naples, Italy called Capri, and in one of the coves is a tunnel called the Blue Grotto? We read a fictional book about it called "Red Sails to Capri", but the place it's set in is real.
Ok, raise your hand if you know the smallest country in the world. Anyone? The answer is Vatican City. Where is Vatican City you ask? It is in the middle of Rome. It's where the Apostle, Peter was buried, and St. Peter's Basillica is built. Maybe if I was Catholic I would have known this before I was confirmed. However, I'm Protestant (though I wouldn't say I'm protesting anything) and I went to public school, and if I ever learned this stuff, I didn't retain it.
There are more things I learned these last 3 weeks in 2nd grade, but I don't remember them right now. . . so I may be repeating 2nd grade. . . again.