Saturday, September 3, 2011

Miriam's narrative.

We're two weeks and one hurricane into the Ages of Grace curriculum. Miriam, the 6-year-old 2nd-grader, is in love with learning: She loves the books, the copywork, the icons, and the hymns. She loves poetry and arithmetic and maps. "Mommy, I think second-grade is the most wonderful grade in the Whole World, because you get to learn so many things! I want to be a monk--or maybe a nun--so I can copy books all day long everyday and study every day." Second-grade with one student is sugar and spice and everything nice.

Well, pat me on the back, but two weeks in and I sure look like a pro. The hardest part has been keeping the littler ones happy and semi-quiet so that I can explain something or finish a story out loud for their big sister. Bella, 3 years old, will listen well to most of the stories (think, Tomie de Paola and Trina Hyman), but loses focus as I try to explain nouns. The baby is into everything, and my clutter-standards have dropped drastically.

I've been happy with the curriculum thus far: I haven't added in the Prologue readings yet, but plan to do so this week. There has been no tension between East and West as of yet, since we're only to about 500, A.D. The saints are saints for all (such as today's Gregory the Great, Patrick, Columba, and Helena).

The pace seems just right, as well: We're spending three or four weeks (as needed or desired) on the British Isles and the fall of Rome. I'm using The Story of the World at the moment for a sort-of history spine. I anticipate dropping it, however, before we get to 1500. Lines such as, "Queen Elizabeth's greatest accomplishment was that she allowed her subjects to choose whether they wanted to be Catholic or Protestant," leave me wondering about the objectivity of its treatment of the Church. The first few chapters on the pre-Reformation West are decent enough, however. I'm still looking for that elementary-level history text that doesn't ignore 400-1500, takes a universal view of salvation history, and doesn't exude this "History is the story of progress" motif.

Let me know if you find it.

For now, I'm glad to rest in Level A, where no real textbook is necessary. We can read endless chapter and picture books and simply absorb the beauty of Christendom. There will be time for hard questions later.


Melanie B said...

Thanks for the update. I look forward to continuing to peek over your shoulder a I ponder where Bella and I will go next year.

Kelly McGinn said...

Take a look at Connecting with History - a Roman Catholic classical/Charlotte Mason approach to history which is Christ-centered and filled with suggestions for reading high quality literature, beginning with the bible and engaging children in discovering God's love through an appreciation for how He is the source and summit of all human life.

It's for sale at St. George Books. My kids are starting with Volume I this year and loving it.

God bless
Kelly McGinn