First day of school. August 28, 2017.
Joel is 2, Faye is 3 and Ellie is 4, going on 5.
Three preschoolers? Check.
Attempting to structure days at home? Check, surprisingly!
A month of school plans? Check, I can say that it almost had me throwing up and crying with anxiety within five minutes of starting.
Funny that I write this at the very END of the first full month of school. But hey, looking back is startlingly wonderful!
Here’s what I’ve gleaned from our progress:
We journeyed through Austria, Germany, Italy and most of the United States as we turned pages. If I could provide any advice, ask your librarian about geographical reference books for kids. They know their stuff. The Austria book had us speaking German, wishing for the Alps, and greatly desiring .
A few serendipitous things happened as well, such as the first exposure to one of my favorites, The Sound of Music. The kids really did fall in love with it, just as I had hope, and they have come to be obsessed with it. “Mommy, my name isn’t Ellie. Call me Maria!” the oft repeated request. Gotta say; that movie night rocked. Pizza and from-scratch apfelstruedel. Part of me hopes that they will remember the smell of strudel in the oven while watching it. Sigh.
Our heads and house were filled with the sounds of Rhapsody in Blue the week that Mommy goofed and thought that John Phillip Sousa would SURELY be included in this amazing book I had planned to read. Definitely wasn’t. BUT George Gershwin WAS. So of course, the letter of the week was a big fat G. I did overhear a conversation into which Ellie interjected, “Well, I would pick Brahm’s. Brahms is MY favorite.” I LOVE that I get to saturate the airwaves with such elegant and amazing music while we read!
We sang the tar out of This Old Man. Faye really liked the “seven” line that says the aged coot played his foolishness “up to heaven”, and subsequently sang that connected to every letter she was assigned.
We memorized the entirety of the hymn O Word of God Incarnate during morning “hymn time”. This has been the biggest test of patience because somehow, the musical impulses also fire all of the movement impulses (can’t imagine why…oh, neuroscience, sigh.), and hence, not a lot of sitting. They really know the words better than I do. Deep truths getting planted deeper.
We studied, drew and built cathedrals during our Vivaldi week. That was this book. At the dinner table tonight, Faye, in a cloak and dagger way, narrated back to me the structure of a cathedral, complete with columns, labyrinth flooring and possibly flying buttresses. Wow, do they absorb.
It does bring so much joy, knowing that the reading that we have been doing up to this point, and even just the habit of all sitting down together would still be the foundation of education! We were already doing that which comes natural to us! Hearing our subject matter woven into their conversation, curling up together at appointed times with books and drinking in the richness of our Savior’s world is what school looks like. Sure isn’t easy, keeping attention, teaching habits and fighting attitudes, but it is rewarding.
And I get to flagship it all? An honor indeed. A big, scary responsibility, but education is life right now. And life is good, by God’s grace. Charlotte nails it:
If nothing else else had happened, life would have gone on, the world would still turn and we wouldn’t be the worse for it. But this is sweet. And they are smart.