Friday, June 28, 2013

Pouring and leaping through strange seas

"The Wart did not know what Merlyn was talking about, but he liked him to talk.  He did not like the grown-ups who talked down to him, but the ones who went on talking in their usual way, leaving him to leap along in their wake, jumping at meanings, guessing, clutching at known words, and chuckling at complicated jokes as they suddenly dawned.  He had the glee of the porpoise then, pouring and leaping through strange seas." 
                   ~T.H. White in The Once and Future King

Whenever I talk to someone who wants to try the Ambleside curriculum I always try to warn them that the literature selections might seem too lofty for their young ones, but not to surrender too quickly because they might be surprised at their child's ability to comprehend and enjoy the chosen books.

Case in point:  Ambleside Year 2 (2nd grade) adds Pilgrim's Progress to the list.  This is not an abridged, children's version, but the original KJV English version.  We first came upon this when Grace was in Year 2, 4 years ago. I thought this was going to very difficult, if not impossible, but I figured if we were going to do this we were going to do it all the way.  We took it in small snippets like they suggest, reading only 3-4 pages a sitting and, lo and behold, I was shocked to find that not only did she enjoy it, but she actually retained what we had read, enough to be able to narrate it back to me at the next reading.  Reading 3-4 pages at a time is really as much as I can take in myself, since the book is so rich and requires time to chew on and digest it. 

It is now our third time through this gem as Naomi is finishing up Year 2, and I believe her comprehension is even better than Grace's because she has had the privilege of listening along to books that were way beyond her supposed grade level since she was born.

My point is, never underestimate the ability of your child to enjoy books that you think may be too far above them.  And even if they can't comprehend it all now they will enjoy leaping along in the wake of the words, "jumping at meanings, guessing, clutching at known words, and chuckling at complicated jokes as they suddenly dawn."  They will have the glee of the porpoise, pouring and leaping through strange seas. 

10 comments:

  1. You have got to have the smartest children in the world! Pilgrim's Progress--that is really something 'to chew on'! GREAT!! I love hearing how you teach these classics to your children!

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  2. Thanks Aunt Becky, but I know I don't have the smartest kids in the world by any stretch. Ha! All we have to do is watch the the kids on the Scripps National Spelling Bee to realize that we have a long way to go! Those kids are incredible! We do our best though.

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  3. Your kids are so smart because they have a very smart momma!

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    2. And their momma is so smart because her momma is so smart. :)

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  4. Yes, Phyllis I agree with you. And Christy, You go above and beyond Because what you are doing takes a lot of determination and dedication!! I pray for home schoolers because it is not an easy task. For several years now I have been a community judge at debate and speech contests here in San Diego. I always enjoy doing this because I see young people who have been home schooled participate. I am ALWAYS impressed at their knowledge. They are so knowledgable about the topics they are debating. I always learn so much. And I am sure your children will also be very capable debaters when they are older.

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    1. Are you really?! That's very interesting! I would love to sit in on something like that!

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  5. It is very interesting. There are participants from all over the US. We have home schooled children in our church participating. The organization is called Stoa. At least the ones I have been privileged to attend. There may be others also.

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  6. Inspiring. Reminds me of Charlotte Mason's warnings to "avoid Twaddle" when choosing literature for our children. Only the best!
    I have loved reading your guest posts on the Arts over at Classical Conversations at Home...glad to find another like-minded mama (and one who also hails from PA!) :)

    Blessings, Joanna

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    1. Thank you for your comment and kind words! You have a lovely blog yourself!!

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