This is an excerpt of a note sent to extended family from a family new to Redeemer Classical in the last year. We reprint it here with the mother’s permission, with some minor changes such as removing kids’ names.
The kids are so happy. The school is exactly what they needed.
Each morning begins with Matins. The parents stay and many of the homeschooled children in the church attend with their parents, too.
The classes are separated by forms rather than grades/ages. Several girls have formed a “fearsome alliance” in Banana Tag at recess and coordinate their uniforms so that they all wear khaki bottoms or blue blouses (or whatever they have in common) each day. Their teacher knows about sailing and fencing and all sorts of other things that appeal to adventuresome children and he easily keeps their attention.
The nice thing is, there are no letter grades. They learn to mastery, though they do get special recognition for outstanding work.
My younger daughters can’t wait to tell me about their day when they get home. This week, their teacher read them “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” and “The Ugly Duckling” and part of their homework was to come home and retell the stories to me. Before they began, they had a quick conference in the living room to figure out who got to tell which part – it was so cute. They tell the disgusting parts (like the princes getting their heads chopped off) with particular relish.
They’re practicing their math facts and their writing and are learning “Fireflies in the Garden” by Robert Frost:
Here come real stars to fill the upper skies,
And here on earth come emulating flies,
That though they never equal stars in size,
(And they were never really stars at heart)
Achieve at times a very star-like start.
Only, of course, they can’t sustain the part.
Speaking of memorization, they’re learning the catechism, a Bible verse, and a hymn which we practice at dinner. This week, all four of them learned and sang for our dinner prayer “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word” every night. Even my daughter who refuses to sing. She sang. It gives me a lump in my throat.
Lord, keep us steadfast in your Word,
Curb those who by deceit or sword
Would wrest the kingdom from your Son
And bring to naught all he has done.
My sweet (but sassy) eldest daughter has taken to Latin. It’s really hard and she complains about how it makes her brain hurt. But she loves knowing something that I don’t and I can see her brain working and wonder in her eyes as she figures out how to conjugate and makes connections to English words with Latin roots.
The youngest two find their teacher, Mr. Pullmann, absolutely hilarious. He has a very dry sense of humor like their father, so the girls “get it” and come home cracking up about things he says in class.
I have not seen all of them this happy in a long time.