Slowly But Surely

This week I got to start on homeschooling my 6-year old gradeschool style, classical style. It was super exciting and super new! I found myself, during the preparation phase, bring out planners and stuff.

Back in Kindergarten it was easy peasy. Mental notes on her progress was enough on those 4 basic subjects. I didn’t stress at all, I am indeed blessed with a learner, who reads fantasy novels for fun! It IS her hobby!

My girls love The Hobbit, albeit read aloud for now, for my younger.
They absolutely adore the Narnia series too, pictured here is a lamp reminiscent of the one in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Snaps from Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga

This summer vacation, (oddly enough, June & July) we were able to relish more relaxed and unstructured days. We had time for movie marathons, Jd and I ofcourse “served” time redeeming them with a Biblical worldview. (More on that soon!)

But then August came and its now time for a litte more structure, and “serious” material.

Who else still finds going to school by August odd? It’s the second year of pandemic schooling and I still haven’t gotten used to it.

I was in serious trepidation for about a month, and finally, by God’s grace and much prayer, completed the planning; looking as well to quite a few Reformed homeschooling mama blogs, podcasts, and groups!

What was striking for me in one of the blogs was this encapsulation of grade school:

The goal of the elementary years (roughly 7-11yo) is to fling wide the doors of interest and cultivate the habit of attention. In addition to skill-based work like math and handwriting, we read lots of good books on a wide array of topics. You might peg some as history, science, geography, or literature, but the point is that the exposure is consistent, cheerful, and broad.

Mystie Winckler

You might peg? That’s sure made me laugh in relief! I was covering those things in my plan: math, handwriting, and included a lot of good books on history, geography, and literature. I guess we’ll be fine.

From the beginning of our classical homeschooling journey, I have decided to do it scholé & contemplation style.

Scholé is festive, a celebration, it is work, but it is work of a different order. It is leisurely work. It is blurring the lines between work and the modern definition of “leisure,” – which has somehow come to mean doing nothing, blanking your mind, and watching Netflix.

Festivity is an atmosphere. It is also a lot of work.

However, the work isn’t to glorify our own reputations or build our own kingdoms; the work is done to glorify God and honor Him – it’s a sacrifice of praise. It is worship.

Mystie Winckler

Yes, its something we try to cultivate in our home. Enjoying academic work as a feast, being in scholé while working.

I’m constantly trying to balance load and absorption. Depth versus width. Thus, oral & drawing narration prove to be the “perfect” kind of test in our home.

When Jd comes home on any given Sunday and asks me what I like about the preaching of the Word, I find myself thinking long and hard, hey, I just heard it once a few hours ago.

Thus, asking the girls open-ended questions about what they just heard read-aloud from my lesson — such a TALL ORDER!

It’s easy to ask the “Who, What, Where, When” details of any given text. Retelling a read-aloud in their own words proves comprehension and understanding.

The modern schooling we have come to grow up in seems to favor “coverage” more than understanding & comprehension; favors equipping students for a certain job, than equipping them with virtue, wisdom, and character.

Yes, in our classically schooled humble abode, our ultimate goal is equipping our kids with virtue, schooling them in the Liberal Arts, teaching the Trivium, not just equipping them for jobs, but equipping them for that, and life in general.

First Day topics

Yes, our homeschool days have bumps and bruises, and its still in its infancy stage, but I am hopeful and expectant to see God’s will unfold in the girls’ lives. I would certainly rely on God’s grace everyday!

The one thing I try to remind myself of every morning, one thing I pray continually for grace to live out, is to see the bumpy patches of our day as opportunities for growth in virtue rather than as evidence of condemnation.

It’s alarming but true: the kids are learning more from the way I handle life not going my way than they do from their books and assignments. So how I manage throughout the day and how I treat them and speak to them matters far more than anything else.

Mystie Winckler

So as I start “formal” gradeschool with my eldest, I am terribly glad to be reminded that work is worship, and its ok to be not so formal about it, if you get what I mean, and let “work” bleed into leisure, and to enjoy letting home education “bleed into life,” enjoying a full life lived together in the home.

When cleaning the house, this Proverb remains to be a great reminder. Much harvest come by the strength of the ox.

"Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox."
Proverbs 14:4