12 October 2012

school daze: silent "e"

last but not least, i give you the fourth installation in a 4 part series on our school choice. perhaps you have not read the other three pieces? you can see them here, here and here.

for some reason i managed to become a good speller without  learning how to articulate the rules to spelling. consider the job of the silent "e", that handy, little, mischievous letter that usually comes at the end of a word. its presence allows the  preceding vowel to say it's name, make the long sound. that is our handy,little,{last}mischievous boy. he may seem silent, but in reality, he is not unlike a few spelling rules. and just like some spelling rules, he can be a rule breaker.
supervised fire

our fourth child is like most youngest children in families. he is indulged, coddled and beat up-on a regular basis. and unfortunately, often overlooked. a few years back, when we had just moved to maryland, i was distracted teaching the older boys. the littlest was off quietly playing by himself. we were moving at a good clip through our school day, when the smell of smoke whispered into the room where we were working. i immediately jumped up and ran out of the room looking for him. he was found under the stairs in the basement, happy and content-with a box of matches. "i was teaching myself how to light matches, mommy." and that day, i realized that our littlest had a proclivity for learning-and adventure. he was 3. from that day on i assigned him a brother buddy as supervisor.

this littlest-of-four-boys can keep up with the best of them
{or cries trying}. when we decided to keep him home to school it was in response to what i saw working with the other boys. i will readily admit that it made me a little sad to think that he would miss out on all the sweet aspects of a traditional kindergarten class. you see i taught kindergarten for a few years. it's kind of the best part of school if you ask me. but there was something in me that felt like being at home with his older brothers in our one room schoolhouse would be pretty great too.

and it has been. already his math skills are surprising to me. that is probably because he hears his brothers as they recite their math facts {and has been known to answer for them and work their worksheets when they aren't looking}. he has also picked up some not so cherished habits like fighting or asking, "who wants a round house kick to the butt?" but i suppose that is just par for the course. wouldn't he learn that if he were away? please tell me he would.

i do adore having him home to snuggle for stories. watch him write. teach to read{who am i kidding? i haven't begun to do that!}. he is our last baby. our last little person to hold tight until he pushes away for more independence. and that is beginning to happen. and that is fine.

when i look back over the last 9 years, i see that homeschooling our four boys has been more about lessons on perseverance, obedience, grace, forgiveness, trust and mercy than that of academics. i know that they have taught me more than i them. the joke has been on me all along thinking it was about what i had to offer them. what can i possibly offer boys who have an insatiable curiosity and the energy to purse it? o, yeah. i can drive. 

i have to say, the winds of change are blowing through our little family. it's rumblings are distant, but growing louder. for the first time i realize that this homeschool adventure has been more about my character development than theirs. and it seems that i have learned a lot. i wonder if i would have the capacity for wonder, enchantment with literature, disdain for all those flippin' spelling rules and authentic self loathing had i never jumped on the road less traveled that led us to choose to school our boys at home. i think about that a lot. and i think about how the future will unfold. you never know what will come of our little one room schoolhouse. this i know, regardless of homeschool, public school or private school, we will never abdicate our role as primary teacher to our boys. the way i see it, all homes are schools. yeah? yikes? 

what is it that we are  learning? what are we teaching? and are the lessons worthwhile? i sure hope so. 


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