Meek as a Monk

This week I practiced meekness, my “word” for the year, as plans were a little different from our usual routine. On Monday Seth built the outdoor toilets instead of taking his day off, since he had an experienced builder to help him that day. We also needed to brick up the door frames so that they would not be stolen, like our gate was a few weeks ago. Caleb and Colin went with Seth for a longer visit than I’d expected, so school was a late, rushed affair on Monday.


We also expected to help our teammates host visitors from Johannesburg Monday evening, who were on their way to Zimbabwe. Because of sickness (in the other family), we stayed home; and Seth went by himself to visit with the guests (all men).

Then on Wednesday, I had another dentist appointment to remove stitches from my oral surgery last week. I took Caleb and Colin along, and we had a few fun hours in town after my appointment. I finally found the time to go by a small Chinese shop I’d heard about, and found neat stuff there that I had wanted for some kids’ crafts. Afterwards we ate lunch in a restaurant together and then had ice cream while I read their history story to them. 🙂

The ice cream was a special treat because Colin read his first official “book” to me this week! He read a Bob book. His kindergarten curriculum doesn’t schedule readers for several more weeks still, but he can sound out CVC words already; so I’d like him to practice and gain a bit more fluency on CVC words (with Bob books) while we are still reviewing all of his letter sounds and initial blends.


For history, Caleb and Colin learned about medieval monasteries and the work that early monks did by writing books by hand. This was important to mark the beginning of Christianity in Britain, and the importance of books to the early church. Today the boys formed crosses out of clay for a cross necklace, and tomorrow when they are dry, they will wear them to our monk’s supper of lentil soup.


I was going to make other crosses for the toddlers out of the remaining clay, but decided to do something they’d enjoy more–a gingerbread boy for Callie (her request!) and a monk-ey for Carson! I’ll have to draw the face on after it dries. After having finished The Betrayal, a novel on John Calvin yesterday (reviewed here with more to come next week–I learned a lot!), I wondered if Carson’s monkey was a more fitting portrayal of some of the clergy of the Middle Ages. (especially later on, before the Reformation)

Anyway for art, we did one page of drawing from I Can Do All Things, and then the boys tried to color beautifully an illuminated letter the way the early monks may have. Caleb had some additional inspiration from his reading this week. One day we read Magic in the Margins, a Medieval Tale of Bookmaking, which had lavish illustrations in the margins of several pages, and a neat story with some good art advice. The reading was a bit difficult for Caleb so I alternated reading a paragraph after he read two. After 25 minutes, I finished reading the story aloud for him. He also read from Why Are You Calling Me a Barbarian? this week (not such a hit–kind of difficult for him), plus an ABeka reader and a Christian Liberty nature reader that he is really enjoying!

Caleb's on the left; Colin's on the right. Colin got tired after a while, and began mixing all his pretty colors, making it brown. :)

Caleb’s on the left; Colin’s on the right. Colin got tired after a while, and began mixing all his pretty colors, making it brown. 🙂

In math, Caleb finished the first unit with his lesson on addition with regrouping, as well as two more lessons reviewing skip counting by 10s and 5s. Those lessons were combined with review of nickels and dimes, and that’s challenging for him to remember, I think, because we don’t use that money here.

We began memorizing a funny poem called “The Goops,” and he just finished reviewing sections of Scripture from last year. We will begin new Scripture passages next week. For science we began the first lesson in Swimming Creatures, and Caleb made two entries in his lapbook on plankton and filter feeders.

I believe I will begin using his history curriculum (Story of the World) AS his writing curriculum (Writing with Ease 2, by the same publisher) for the sections involving narration; and take the copywork and dictation sentences from his history book, grammar book, or literature we’re reading that corresponds with history. I don’t like using unrelated literature excerpts to practice narration. So I’m going to wean myself off of the WWE2 workbook if I can, and begin using mainly the instructor text. I might not be so brave, if SOTW didn’t already include narration questions and helps.

I have a lot of work to do on homeschooling planning this weekend–printing out coloring sheets and copying worksheets for history, science, and map blobbing, planning some of WWE, and getting a lot of audio into our computer (a complicated process, since our Mac is now refusing to read discs).

monkLast Saturday we began our monthly ladies’ meeting at another village church. I am teaching it myself this year (my teammate usually alternates teaching with me). Our first meeting had low attendance, but I actually got a text message thanking me for my lesson! That has never happened before, so it was very encouraging. It was from our newest lady church member, baptized in December.

I am going to teach on meekness to the ladies this year, based on the book I am reading on the subject, The Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit by Matthew Henry. I am hoping that teaching through it will really help me to internalize some of its truths. Maybe I could learn quietness from a monk?

About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and mother of four children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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5 Responses to Meek as a Monk

  1. Christie says:

    Love hearing about everything! Sounds like you are meeting your goals; I recognize several of them. = ) The crosses are beautiful!

  2. Amy @ Hope Is the Word says:

    I think I need to read that Matthew Henry book!

  3. Your kids did great with the paintings! I’m sure they also loved the ice cream. We love the Goops poem! When you wrote it, I immediately started saying it in my head! You’re doing such a great job!

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