Starting school on Wednesday, we completed our first official week of home education, In a week of broken down AC, a mild tropical storm, a trip to the ER for my broken toes and the teacher oversleeping twice due to pain meds, we managed about 17 hours of learning. I confess feeling much guilt on Wednesday while watching other children skip to the bus stop with their new backpacks and lunch bags. After three days, I have concluded that it is that false mother’s guilt, because I know our choice was made with much diligence and right motive. It is a new lifestyle for all of us and will take time to adjust. Lars and I both are getting over the sense that we must be doing something very very wrong, possibly breaking the law and even waiting for a knock on the door from his former first grade teacher!
Benjamin did his yearly commissioning of Lars at breakfast yesterday, by anointing him with oil and praying over him to set him apart for the task of learning and the completion of second grade. They both take this ceremony very seriously, with Lars understanding the great joy and holiness involved in the discipline of study.
All in all, I was startled and pleased with the ease of our days and the eagerness of my little disciples. We are using the curriculum that has arrived at this point and daily covered grammar, writing, reading, history, bible and logic.
I am able to assess that last year, though writing essays and such was the big thrust of Lars’ class, there were many foundational concepts to writing/grammar/penmanship that he did and does not have nailed down. Rather than rushing through these, I can take time to teach him how to diagram a sentence, form a complete thought aloud and then translate that into written form with greater skill. I appreciate that I do not have to rush to the next thing until I am certain he has mastered the first thing. As far as his handwriting, goodness if left to his own devices, it is awful! I hope by the end of the year the boy who has a comprehension level for things beyond his years can master the neat formation of the English alphabet on his own!
By Friday night he was leaping around the room after dinner to show Benjamin his work from the week and recite his poetry and facts. He took out his history notebook full of drawings, maps and two completed tests and retold what he had learned about nomads, the first agricultural tools, the fertile crescent, the location of the Tigris, Euphrates and Nile Rivers, and the early culture of Egypt. He then took out his writing/grammar notebook and explained the definitions of common and proper nouns, verbs and correct sentence structure. He displayed his poetry copywork and went on to show Benjamin his bible workbook and quiz him on creation aspects of the trinity, the meaning of the latin word “ex nihlio” and the Hebrew meaning behind “Elohim”. In working with him through the details of God’s story I am well aware that I am not preparing my son for a test about God but a relationship with Him. Seeing my son sit back in his chair after reading the lesson aloud to stare at the ceiling in wonderment of God, is priceless.
Anders did well on learning triangles and rectangles, more colors, cutting and pasting, how to string beads, work through puzzles and learned about Jonah and his attitude. Several times I heard him talking to himself muttering in his broken speech, “I no whine and pine and mumble and grumble like Jonah, I obey with sweet mouth.” Amazingly enough, when the boys are fully engaged in learning there is great peace and contentment thick in the air. And somehow more is accomplished in the day such as housework and paperwork and my own personal time for work than I ever imagined. We are still getting the routine down, it still is a little speed-bumpsish, but all in all, it is good.