This week we celebrated Seth’s 10th anniversary of coming to South Africa and our 9th wedding anniversary. Well, celebrate might be over-speak. We briefly mentioned the first event, marveling at 10 years! Then there didn’t seem to be much more to say. I still feel like I ought to have more to say on that…maybe I’ll try for a Missional Monday post soon.
For our wedding anniversary, our teammates watched our kids Thursday night while we went to a restaurant in town. It was nice to get out of the village. Once again we were reminded (and thankful) for the unique blessings we have working here in SA. We can have many of the comforts of life just a half hour’s drive away, while yet ministering in a poor area of the world.
We are embarking on a 2-week break from homeschooling, for which I was very eager! I have kept up this year, but just barely. Having to begin our school year late with a short break because of such a long furlough break last year has made me feel a little tired and rushed all year. We are now caught up and at the halfway point of our curriculum, so it’s time for a break. The schools here have a long 5-week break this time of the year as well.
I will have a break from teaching, but I plan to spend much of my time technically working on homeschooling: preparing for the next half of the school year, researching some curriculum, and finishing our new schoolroom! I’m so excited about this room. We have been painting but ran out of paint and need to buy more before I can post a picture. We also had a neat idea of printing maps on vinyl or canvas and making them into a kind of curtain-blind for the curtains in that room. We spent a lot of time trying to find pictures that would work for the maps, but now we’re not sure if it’ll work out. If it does, I’ll be sure to share a picture of that as well! (We wanted a world map for the bigger window and a USA map for the smaller window.)
A quick (ha!) homeschooling update from the past 2 weeks (I know–I don’t know what “quick” means in reference to homeschooling gab):
We learned about the “Diaspora”–do you know what that is? I didn’t! That’s the term for the scattering of the Jews throughout many different countries in the Middle Ages. We made a mezuzah, the small container-like case that Jews place on the doorpost of their house. It contains the “Shema,” Deuternomy 6:4, “Hear O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” We posted it over our doorway for a while, and I shared with the kids how some Bible-time Jews wore Scriptures even on their foreheads. (Do they still do that?) So of course, my children wanted to put the mezuzah on their foreheads.
Then we traveled to the far east where the Mongols Genghis and Kublai Khan were taking over China. We did the easiest, almost-nothing craft that could be done for history this week, which gives you a hint at how ready for a break I am. Caleb is still reading about knights and topics from past history weeks. There is so much that can be read from past weeks on knights and medieval times that we will be “behind” on reading topics for a while. That’s fine, as I don’t have as many good literature books on the Diaspora or Genghis Khan! Caleb read A Good Knight’s Sleep, Three Samurai Cats, and The Knights of the Round Table.
I am not familiar with how many children’s versions of Le Morte d’Arthur are out there; but I have two cautions for the latter book Caleb read. First, the grammar is terrible. You would not believe how many sentence fragments are in this book! Or run-on sentences. Or just poor writing. Like this.
For seven days King Arthur and Sir Gawain rode through the land. They asked the riddle of every woman they met. Young maidens with flowers in their hair. Mothers carrying their babies. Poor women tending sheep by the road. Rich ladies covered with jewels. Some said that women wanted beauty. Some said love. Or wisdom. Or children. Or riches. Or Adventure. Or truth.
That drove me nuts, but I figured Caleb was too young to pick up on most of it. Hopefully. I mean. Really. Secondly, some of it is too scary for a sensitive young child. Chapter 3 and 7 specifically were too upsetting for a child rooting for the beloved King Arthur. Stories of a witch-sister who can take on different forms and wants to trick her brother so that she can kill him put pictures in a small child’s mind that he didn’t need at that age. When tears began, reading stopped for the day. I began reading ahead after that! However, its good points were that it was a perfect reading level for Caleb, that the other chapters were exciting for him to read, and that he was becoming familiar with a classic story which in general seems written for boys. (Okay, girls would like the romantic parts as well!)
Moving onnnnnn, we started studying about cartilaginous fishes in science, meaning rays and sharks. The boys are thrilled to get to the sharks! Enter 2-week school break in the middle of the chapter. Oh, well! We measured shark teeth (in the book) and determined the length of the shark based on that.
Some of our family and friends may anticipate getting some letters or postcards in the mail as we begin learning how to address and write letters in our language studies.
Another high point in our school this week was beginning to study Giotto in art. We discussed Giotto’s picture of St. Francis of Assisi “Sermon to the Birds.” On Monday I read the history card from Veritas Press on St. Francis, and then Caleb began memorizing “Sermon to the Birds” in his memory work. I read aloud this book on St. Francis. Finally, for Friday Freewrite, I gave him a chance to write his own “Sermon to the __” (he chose hippos). It was so fun to be able to use a topic across several disciplines like that–history, literature, art appreciation, memory work, and writing. I like unit studies.
Our church has stalled on its building project until we can earn some more money for bricks. Some young men have faithfully gone into town once a week with Seth to sell Bibles, which has helped immensely in making some money for the church. We are nearing our goal to get another load of bricks.
I wish you all a wonderful 4th of July. We praise God for America and our heritage and citizenship, even more so now that we are not there!