He fashioned flippers for his hands and feet to see if they helped him swim faster. And once, he used a kite to pull himself back and forth across a pond. Ben's friends looked to him as their captain, even though sometimes he led them "into Scrapes.
One night he and his pals lugged away a heap of stones meant for a new house. The boys constructed their stone wharf, but the next morning all was discovered — the missing stones, the newly built wharf, and the boys' identities! But young Ben did not always stir up trouble. The lad also possessed a passion for books and learning. Franklin later recalled, "I do not remember when I could not read. Josiah wondered if he had a scholar on his hands.
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Should he train Ben to serve as a minister, one of the most highly regarded and respected professions? Josiah enrolled eight-year-old Ben in the Boston Latin School, the fast track for boys heading to the minister training ground of Harvard.
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Ben excelled, swiftly climbing to the head of the class. But Josiah pulled Ben from the school after less than a year, perhaps fearing the expense of a Harvard education. Or maybe he had a feeling Ben would not make a very good minister. The bright and curious boy sometimes offered opinions a bit strong for his family. One fall, as the Franklins salted and prepared their meat to store for the winter, Ben suggested they bless all the meat at once to save time saying grace before each meal.
Perhaps not minister material! Josiah instead sent Ben to a school that concentrated on reading, writing, and math, a subject Ben failed and "made no Progress in it. Parents signed papers binding their child in service to a craftsman or tradesman. In exchange for the child's work, the master taught him the skills needed for a future job.
An apprentice belonged to his master and enjoyed few freedoms. The apprentice could not leave the master's home or business without permission.
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Older apprentices were forbidden to marry, gamble, or go out to taverns. At age ten, Ben joined his father in the tallow shop. Tallow, the fat from cattle, was simmered for hours with lye, made from wood ash, to make soap and candles. Josiah feared unhappy Ben might run away and become a sailor, and he'd already had one son perish at sea.
He explored other options with his son. He walked Ben about Boston, observing the many craftsmen and tradesmen at work — silversmiths, tanners, coopers barrel makers , bricklayers, joiners furniture makers , blacksmiths, and more. In the end Josiah apprenticed Ben in to one of his elder sons, Ben's half-brother James, who was a printer.
James had Ben, now twelve years old, sign an unusually long apprenticeship of nine years. The two brothers probably did not know each other very well.perila-sity.ru/images
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Older by nine years, James had studied printing in England before returning to Boston and setting up his own shop. Ben, along with James and his other apprentices, boarded with another family.
Already keen on living a frugal life, Ben made a deal with James: he'd feed himself if James would hand over half the money he paid for Ben's food. James agreed. Ben squirreled away some of the money by eating a meager diet of water, bread, raisins, and sometimes a biscuit or tart. As much as Ben disliked working for James, who sometimes beat him, printing suited young Ben much better than the candle and soap business.
He loved being around the printed pages full of information, loved hearing the news customers bantered about the shop. The place smelled of ink and leather and wood and paper. Crowded cases holding compartments of tiny metal letters lined the walls. The capital letters were stored in the upper cases. The shop printed the Boston Gazette for the newspaper owner and did all types of print work: pamphlets, advertisements, stationery, government laws — whatever a customer needed. Ben learned to set the letters in trays, letter by letter, word by word, line by line, row by row.
He dabbed and rolled the trays with ink and set them on the heavy printing press. The press forced the paper against the inked letters. As Ben grew tall and strong, he easily shouldered his share of the hard physical work lifting heavy trays of metal letters, carrying reams of paper, and handling the printing press. Printers often wrote their own articles or pamphlets and edited the work of others. Make It! Maker Lab. Marvelous Mattie. The Mechanical Mind of John Coggin. Los mellizos Templeton tienen una idea. The Most Magnificent Thing.
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Turn off the heat. Use a butter knife to quickly spread the skewers, one at a time, with the syrup. Before the syrup hardens, hold each skewer over a plate and sprinkle it with sugar. Stick the two unsugared ends of the seeded skewers through the holes in the jar lid. If they do not stay in without sliding, lightly tape them in place from the top. Place the jar in a warm spot, between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, for one week. Near a TV is usually a good place. Every day watch the crystals as they grow on the skewers. After one week lift the lid holding the skewer sticks and pour off the syrup.
If necessary, break the rock candy away from the bottom of the jar. Let the candy dry on a clean plate. Once dry, eat and enjoy—or use it to stir hot tea for a sweet drink. One night he and his pals lugged away a heap of stones meant for a new house. In colonial America, corrections usually meant a spanking or whipping. Oh, how Ben wanted that whistle! He offered the boy all the coins in his pocket and arrived home to show off his new treasure.
But his brothers and sister scoffed that Ben had paid much more than the whistle was worth. Ben cried with frustration over wasting his money. The whistle now gave him little pleasure. Franklin learned from the whistle and the taunts of his siblings. One of the things he became most famous for was being careful and frugal with his money. Marbles was a popular game for children in colonial America. Most marbles at the time were made of fired clay, not glass. On a bare floor, indoors, make a circle about 15 inches across using pieces of masking tape. Or, if you are playing outside, you can use chalk to draw a circle or scratch out a circle in the dirt using a stick.
Each player keeps a shooter marble. This is usually a larger marble. Put the rest of the marbles in the center of the circle. Draw a line about a foot away from the circle. This is the taw line. Each player kneels behind the line and shoots his or her marble into the circle. To shoot, face your palm up, hold the marble in your curled forefinger, and flick it with your thumb. Or, you can set your marble on the ground and flick it with your forefinger. The goal is to knock marbles out of the circle. If you knock a marble out of the circle, you get to shoot again.
If you miss, the next player becomes the shooter. Collect the ones you knock out. The player who knocks out the most marbles is the winner. But young Ben did not always stir up trouble. The lad also possessed a passion for books and learning. Franklin later recalled, I do not remember when I could not read.
Related Benjamin Franklin, American Genius: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities (For Kids series)
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