I am organizing our work for the spring. Since we took this week off, it is a natural break in our studies and an opportunity to revamp some of our less effective study practices. (I am calling it a grace week, but the term "jubilee" keeps popping into my head-- releasing the slaves, cancelling debts and beginning again!)
For Literature and Tales, I am considering moving the readings to the evenings and weekends. Triss and Mariel both are moving too slowly in history and Mariel is behind in science as well, and I hope that moving the literature readings to the evening will free up more morning time for history and science/natural history (and help us finish in the morning or early afternoon rather than late afternoon!). I think I will leave Cornflower’s literature readings as part of her weekly morning schedule, though, except for Parables from Nature. She is keeping up quite well with her reading assignments. I will ask Mariel and Triss for weekly written narrations on her literature readings, and will occasionally ask Triss for a more formal composition on hers. Their literature narrations are generally more vivid than their other retellings, so I do not think the delay in narration will be a problem. If it is, we can always change back. Plus, we will be able to have more family discussion on the books if we read them in the evenings.
Only-- I think I would like to keep the "online book club" format Triss and I have started with her literature selections. She reads them on her own, and then writes something into a Word document, and I write a response, and sometimes she responds back. So I guess for these books, I will have her read them on her own time rather than school time and continue to write narrations for me to respond to. Hmm. Can you tell I need to think this through a little more? Now it sounds like I am only moving Mariel's lit readings to evenings and weekends! I definitely need to think more before I decide for sure. I've got that Tevye thing going on-- "But on the other hand-- and on the other hand..."
I am also revising our approach to Memory Work. I am keeping the family memory work assignments, but reserving them mainly for scripture memory. There are other things the kids need to memorize as well, and I want those to coincide more with their science and history studies, so I will give each of them a memory assignment that fits their studies and they can “con” it as the one-room-schoolhouse kids used to, and recite it to me once they have it memorized, at which point I will give them another assignment. They have been memorizing poetry this way all year, and have done a fine job. My part, which is to inspect their recitations, has fallen a little to the wayside, so I need to mind my duty in this process! They also have math drill, which I count as memory work, and Ivey has Latin drill. I plan to start Mariel on Latin either next year or the next. It was just too much to add this year in addition to teaching her to do more independent study.
We have already changed the way we do Bible in the mornings. A few weeks ago, we were recalled to our Berean Duty (by both our pastor and our assistant pastor!), and so we are endeavoring to receive "the word with all readiness of mind" and search the scriptures "daily, whether those things [are] so." Monday and Thursday mornings, we reread the scriptures from the previous day’s preaching and then I ask for narrations. After that, we discuss the points made by the preacher, and sometimes, if a song comes to mind, we sing. Then we pray.
This means that our trek through the Old Testament is getting slower and slower. (We are currently in 2 Kings/2 Chronicles-- Elisha the Prophet-- if I remember correctly, we have been on this journey at least four years already.) We are reading Old Testament only once or twice per week, and doing Proverbs once per week. I think it is fine, though. Triss is reading through the Bible in a year (she will have that accomplished in August if she keeps it up, and then will begin again) for her morning quiet time, as well as reading through one of the Gospels for schoolwork, and a book on church doctrine. I need to get Mariel started on quiet time also, but haven’t yet found the right moment to begin. I think that will take place in the next few months, unless we lose our focus on the Lord, which I pray will not happen. I read to Mariel and Cornflower from the Catherine Vos Story Bible at bedtime a couple of nights per week— I skip around, reading stories that illustrate virtues the kids and I need to learn.
This seems like a lot of Bible study, but we need it right now! It seems we have strayed off the path in many ways and now have the challenge of finding it again. Also, some of this is devotional reading, and some is more focused as study. We had gotten to where we thought of Bible as "schoolwork," and while we do need to have Bible as a school subject, to think of it exclusively in that light is to lose daily worship.
I am also reading through the Bible in a year, though my personal reading is more sporadic. I have learned to sit and crochet and let Mr. Scourby read my daily readings aloud to me—sometimes I have to listen through three days’ readings because I let it go! But I am determined to read it through this year, especially because I failed in the attempt last year. Plus, I just miss that daily reading when I don’t do it. I was sitting in church last night during the song service feeling a little unfocused, disconnected and lost; and finally realized it was because I had not done my Bible reading for a few days. I have been praying, but that Bible reading really helps too.
I'll write more about the new term later. Right now I have to clean out my closet and find a new place for our freshly-laundered blankets. We used to store them under the bed, on the dust-mite-ridden carpet.