For those who are following the AO lesson plans, I thought I would mention what lessons I try to teach my kids from the stories we read each week. I hope that you will share your opinions of the stories as well and what your family has learned from the readings. Sorry, no pictures… maybe next week.
My girls had a hard time narrating this story probably because of the unusual names. My guess is that narrations will get better with practice and as the names become familiar. After reading this story, I took the opportunity to teach my kids the phrase, “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side”, and we talked about being content:
Heb 13:5 “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have.”
Phil 4:11-13 …For I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances may be. I know now how to live when things are difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous. In general and in particular I have learned the secret of eating well or going hungry–of facing either plenty or poverty. I am ready for anything through the strength of the One who lives within me.
This is a beautiful story about friendship. Almost daily, I remind my kids to treat each other with the respect and kindness that they would treat their friends. I wish it was the other way around, but my kids do bicker and fight from time to time. I can see myself reminding them to act as Damon and Pythias next time an argument breaks out. Damon and Pythias exhibited this kind of love:
John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
I must admit, I was completely unfamiliar with this term so I had to look it up to make sure I said it right. Let me step aside from this story just a moment to say this: for all you homeschool moms who did not get a good education growing up and missed out on all this really great stuff with really big, unfamiliar words that you can’t pronounce, don’t get down on yourself. Do not allow the nagging voice of doubt to creep in and even suggest that you shouldn’t be home schooling! This is the exact reason that you should be homeschooling. Your kids will most likely get the same education you had and now you have the key to give them better. Don’t throw it away. This is not to say that there aren’t great teachers in the PS system. There are, but they are under paid, over worked, and limited on what they are allowed to say and teach and it is wrong. So if you question a pronunciation, look it up and move on. It’s what learning with your kids is all about. Now back to the story.
I thought this story was very fun. I have found several versions online and so I am uncertain if it is 100% true or embellished a little or completely made up. Either way, the comeback, “If”, is awesome! I had to explain it and retell it several times for my kids to understand what a ‘laconic answer’ is, but I think they get it. I will know who understands the phrase next time I ask, “Who dumped this water all over the floor?! I want a laconic answer, now!”. Those who answer, “I”, will get a passing grade and a rag to mop the floor. The rest will have to mop the floor and fold the laundry while I read the story again.
Back to what I said that made the story click. Philip’s threat was this: “If I go down into your country, I will level your great city to the ground.” The laconic response was, “If”. I showed my kids how benign the threat was be emphasizing ‘if’ and saying the phrase in a sort of whining voice. I then changes the phrase and my voice to be very strong and statin, “I am coming to your country and I will level it to the ground!” They were able to hear how ‘iffy’ Philip was being about his threat and understood the last sentence in the story: “It was as much as to say, ‘We are not afraid of you so long as the little word ‘if’ stands in your way’.”
There is so much to be learned from the story of Polycarp, and we only scratched the surface. This was the first time we had ever really discussed martyrs and that people, other than Bible character, died for Christ. I emphasized to my kids how Polycarp and his follower were faithful to the end. He thanked God for allowing him to be a martyr! I paralleled this to times that we may be teased for being Christians or for not watching certain cartoons or for not using such colorful language as others. I encouraged my kids to remember Polycarp if these times ever arise and to remember that they are in the same group as Jesus.
John 15:17-19 These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Paddle to the Sea chapter 1 and 2
This book has such beautifully detailed pictures and I am excited to be reading it. So far, all we have done in make a little canoe out of paper and tape it to our map so that we can follow the path of Paddle. If I find time and become ambitious, I might have them each make their own canoe. We also found Canada and discussed where it was in relation to our country.
Right now, my second child has a love for birds so I am delighted to share this book with her. She actually received it for her birthday this year, along with a bird feeder binoculars, and an artistic bird coloring book. My plan for every chapter in this book is to listen to each bird’s call and draw a picture of the bird and, of course, narrate. I’m going to try my best to keep this simple, but complicated is my speciality. I also found these cards that I will print and hang up in our school room as we come across the birds.
I do my best to keep these simple as well. We read the story, they narrate, I explain the moral if need be, and sometimes I have a picture for them to color. I found cards for these stories as well. The moral is almost always a copy work assignment. I had to research what exactly a ‘jackdaw‘ is and, thanks to Wikipedia, I now know it is a type of crow. So the morals here are, “It is one thing to say that something should be done, but quite a different matter to do it.“, and “Do not let your vanity make you overestimate your powers.” I guess what we can take from this is that we all have ideas and are capable of great things, but keep in mind we are humans and don’t set yourself up for failure. As a mother, I can relate to this. I think I may have gotten more from Aesop than my kids did this time!
We did not get everything read this past week that I had hoped nor did we stick to my schedule. We changed it to fit our needs due to Grandpa’s passing. Instead, I found the brightest and cheeriest poem for my kids to use as their copy work and then had them illustrate the verse they wrote. We read several and settled on Summer Sun. We chose three favorite verses, illustrated them, wrote them out, and gave Grandma a very beautiful, cheery card. She love it and I got to brag to the relatives about how beautifully my kids can write.
The last two weeks have been crazy and hard, but there has been a lot of learning as well mostly due to the fact that I have a plan and goals. Amazing what those two little things can accomplish when they are paired. I can hope for a calmer week, but am content in knowing it won’t happen and am prepared for the battle. I will kick ‘IF’ out the door!