Tuesday marked the first day of school. The day we’ve been working toward for over a year. Until this week, we couldn’t say with certainty that this cross-country move was the right decision. We’ve spent eight months hoping and worrying and figuring out Plan B, just in case. Would two years of homeschooling leave them terribly behind? Would the school be able to accommodate all their different learning styles and needs? We were all a bundle of nerves on Monday night, except for Rosalie who was so excited that she packed her backpack and put it by the front door on her way to bed.
Now I can finally say it. This move to Fort Wayne was absolutely the best decision we could have made. 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. Jane is in Form 1 and learning Singapore Math, Latin, World History, Grammar, Spelling, Biology, and Recitation. She has two other girls in her class and they 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. Jane’s teacher knows about sailing and fencing and all sorts of other things that appeal to adventuresome children and he easily keeps their attention.
Jane was embarrassed at not being the best in class at math, so went home and read the entire mythology book, Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Iliad by Rosemary Sutcliff in one night to make up for it. The nice thing is, there are no letter grades. They learn to mastery, though they do get special recognition for outstanding work.
Grace is in Form B and Rosalie is in Form A and these classes meet together. I was very worried about the two of them being in the same class, but it is perfect. They 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 (Joseph refused to be left out) learned and sang for our dinner prayer “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word” every night. Even Grace. Grace 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.
I have not seen all of them this happy in a long time. My sweet (but very sassy) Jane, 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. Grace and Rosalie find their teacher, Mr. Pullmann, absolutely hilarious. He has a very dry sense of humor like Arthur – so the girls “get it” and come home cracking up about things he says in class.