This is Why

Heads, by N, age 8.

Heads, by N, age 8.

We began today with me reading Act III of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar out loud while I drank my morning coffee. We’ve been doing an act a day. Why Julius Caesar? Because we’re up to Ancient Rome in our history reading, we read about Caesar being assassinated, and I thought, Oh, we should read Julius Caesar. So I am. I have to explain some parts, of course, and make sure I’m clear on who’s talking, but the kids are getting it, and I really love reading it out loud. My oldest was home sick on Friday when we read Act II and he was pretty disappointed to realize he’d miss Act III today. And of course, I had to remind myself of the five-act dramatic arc so we could talk about it.

Later we took my daughter to her preschool gymnastics class, and after my son finished his math chapter, we spent the rest of our waiting time playing Uno. Back at home, I made lunch while my son worked on another page in his monster book, and after lunch we went downstairs so my daughter could work with model magic to make some bones (she’s been studying skeletons). I suggested my son might want to make some monsters out of model magic–why not?!

So we sat down there together, my daughter making bones, my son making monsters, and me making some sketches for an embroidery project. When I’d gotten as far as I could right then, I switched to doing some planning for a class I’m offering in the next co-op session. We were down there for about two hours–time just flew right by. My son began with a group of monster heads (you can see those above), then made a monster with such personality that we are talking about working together to make a stuffed version. I think we need a trip to the big fabric store so he can find just the material he has in mind.

At dinner, he filled his older brother in on what he’d missed in Act III, explaining with glee how Antony turned the crowd against the conspirators and how that crowd just agreed with whoever was speaking at the time, and Antony got to speak after Brutus (foolish Brutus!), and he kept on calling the conspirators “honorable men” but he didn’t really mean it.

What struck me most about this day (which is not at all how all our days go, by the way) was how consistently my younger son–the one I’m homeschooling–was the child I remembered from several years ago. The interesting, interested kid who looks at things from unlikely angles. Smiling. Relaxed. Agreeable. Out of respect for my kids, I don’t go into details when it comes to the challenging bits, but it’s been hard, this child’s unhappiness. It sucked all the air out of the family at times, leaving me gasping with anxiety. Is everything perfect now? Nope. Still have challenging bits. But mixed in with the challenging are more and more glimpses of this child. An afternoon like this reminds me how much I’ve missed him.

This is why I homeschool.

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2 Responses to This is Why

  1. Victoria says:

    So happy for you and N.

  2. Michelle says:

    Tears. I know EXACTLY what you mean. Great, right?

    So you read a five acts in five days out loud?? Kudos. I do not have that kind of stamina. Actually, it’s the 5yo who protests. It is taking us forever to get through popper and his freaking penguins

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