It’s official: I have successfully homeschooled three children for a school year. Granted, it was just kindergarten for Houston and pre-K for the twins, but we have all survived no worse for the wear.
In fact, I think we all enjoyed the experience overall and learned a ton in the process. The kids have soared academically, while I have grown in my understanding of the teaching styles that are most effective for the boys, both individually and as a group.
Our last day of Classical Conversations community was 3/26, so we don’t start with Cycle 2 of CC till September. That’s when Houston will move onto Apprentice (the grammar stage for 6 and 7 year olds), and Gabriel and Zeke will begin Abecedarian (grammar for preschoolers and kindergartners).
Besides successfully completing two 12-week semesters of Abecedarian studies, Houston decided to challenge himself with something called Memory of Excellence (MOE). This is when a child can recite all 24 weeks of memory work for two subjects.
“The education of children for God is the most important business done on earth. It is the one business for which the earth exists. To it all politics, all war, all literature, all money-making, ought to be subordinated; & every parent especially ought to feel, every hour of the day, that, next to making his own calling and election sure, this is the end for which he is kept alive by God: this is his task on earth.” — R.L. Dabney, theologian, pastor, Confederate Army chaplain, chief of staff to Stonewall Jackson & an all-around great Virginian
Houston picked history and Latin. So, the last couple of weeks we’ve slacked in other areas of school to make time for drilling 24 history sentences, and Latin noun endings and 1st through 5th noun declensions.
Houston’s best friend, Asher, was also going for MOE and had chosen history. So on 3/18, we had a practice session at Miss Christie’s house, where I quizzed Houston and Asher on the memory work.
The two smarty britches proceeded to jump on Asher’s bed, singing their history sentences into their fists like rock stars. It was a bit wild, to say the least, but they nailed all the facts, historical figures and dates. Quite impressive.
The next step to earn MOE is to have the child recite the memory work another parent. So on 3/25, Houston did his history and Latin for Miss Christie, and Asher did his history and English grammar for me.
The final step was for each boy to do his two-subject recitation (sans any mistakes or hints) with their CC tutor, Miss Murphy. And to our great delight, Houston did so on 3/27, as did his buddy, Asher. Way to go, Big Hashy… we are so proud of y’all!
It’s so cool how much the kids’ CC memory work has seeped its way into their everyday lives. It’s as if their brains are just overflowing with the newfound knowledge. A good is example is last week when the 3 Amigos were playing war games.
Houston said, “You be Japan” to Gabriel “and you be Britain” to Zeke “and I’ll be America,” as they ran around the house, waving flags, shooting toy guns, dramatically acting out scenarios and singing “WWII and President Franklin D. Roosevelt.” Wow, who knew homeschooling would actually be so effective?
And then there’s a recent joke of Gabriel’s: “Knock knock,” he said. “Who’s there?” I asked. “The War of 1812,” he replied. “The War of 1812 who?” I continued. “The Missouri Compromise!” he answered with a grin.
Sure, it doesn’t make much sense out of context (but what little kid’s joke does?), but the information was dead-on congruent with the CC Timeline. I, for one, appreciate your classical nuance, G-man!
Besides school, we’ve been dealing with a few health issues lately. On 3/4, Houston visited the radiologist to get an x-ray of his adenoids — masses of tissue that are part of the lymph system and are closely related to tonsils.
See, Houston snores, and has pretty frequent nosebleeds and headaches, so his pediatrician thought his adenoids might have something to do with these ailments. And the x-ray did show that his adenoids are indeed enlargened.
The next step was getting a second opinion at an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist. The doc said that, yes, both Houston’s adenoids and tonsils are huge, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he needs to get these throat lymphoids removed.
The ENT doc explained that he would only recommend surgery if Houston was showing signs of sleep apnea. This is a potentially life-threatening condition that both Stephen, Grumps and Papa have.
I was advised to watch Houston during his REM sleep cycle; and lo and behold, I do believe that poor child has inherited the apnea gene. Thus, we will be forging ahead with the surgery, so please keep big bro in your prayers as we maneuver through the stages of this medical treatment.
The boys’ pal, Sam, invited them to Awana on bring-a-friend night last Sunday. They were excited to attend the event with their CC/Westover buddy, and Stephen and I were eager to take advantage of the free time for date night.
But when picking up the kids, Zeke was a bloody mess (and not in the British sense). Apparently, he had bitten his lip during a nasty fall. Zeke, who we just might have to nickname “Scar,” was a bit rattled, but turned out to be fine.
The Awana workers who took care of him were so apologetic. But as I explained, the Dillinghams sometimes leave a little blood and destruction in their wake. That’s how we like to make a first impression! Par for the course of raising the 3 Amigos.
Well, if Zeke is Scar, maybe I should be called “Feeble Mama.” On 3/22, I incurred a foot injury while trying to turn a fallen tree into a good climbing tree for the boys. I attempted to kick off a huge dead branch, while balancing myself atop the log — a feat I surely could’ve pulled off 20 years ago.
But due to my age and lack of physical prowess, I instead toppled to the ground, hurting my heal during the landing. The result was what I think was acute plantar fasciitis, which was completely debilitating at first, but got better with ice, ibuprofen and rest.
Once I recovered from that, I started experiencing intermittent surges of pain and intense pressure in my head on Wednesday. They would come and go every few seconds, and felt like a vice clamping my skull behind my ears and then thrusting sharp pains forward toward my forehead.
I went to the doc the next day, and after a battery of tests, she ruled out any brain issues. Thank God! And after further examination, she concluded that my strange pain was either caused by a strained trapezious muscle or temporomandibular joint.
I’m leaning toward the latter diagnosis ’cause I have been a nighttime teeth-grinder for a decades and have been wearing a dental night guard for many years. But I suppose sometimes even with the guard, the jaw joint can get extra irritated.
I am taking a prescription anti-inflammatory, so my weird surging headaches have gotten better (they’re not as intense and not as often). But unfortunately, they’re still present. So if you would, please send out a few prayers for me and my decrepit old body.
In the meantime, I hope you and yours have a wonderful and happy Easter!