Thursday, September 11, 2008

Back to School

Three things I learned in this first week back to school:

1. Even if it is a Catholic book about the saints, I should at least skim the content before reading it aloud. I like to start the day with a brief bio of the saint for the day read from Saints For Young People for Every Day of the Year.

Sept 10th--the feast of the Japanese martyrs began with a truly horrible description of the torture endured by missionaries and Japanese Christians near Nagasaki in 1622. The description was so shocking I had to breathe deep and pretend to take long sips of my coffee to gain my composure. Luckily, this first description went right over the boys' heads, but just when I thought the worst was over, a six year old boy witnesses his own father's beheading before being dealt a horrible martyrdom of his own. This struck a chord with my children. This they understood. I looked up when I finished reading and all eyes were upon me in a heavy silence. One child began to laugh nervously citing the surprising bravery and endearing feistiness of our young martyr. We all tried to join the laugh, hoping to relieve the heavy feelings on our hearts. I don't remember who it was, but one child's laughter dissolved into tears and before long we were all crying on our books. Not a very cheerful start to the day, I would say. Remember to skim.

2. A Tuatara, sometimes called a living fossil, is not a lizard though it looks like one. It is the only surviving species in the class Rhynchocephalia of the Reptilian order. It differs from lizards in that has no external ears, posseses a third eye on the top of its head and has teeth designed for ripping the heads off sea birds. I ask you, does the fact that this information fascinates me explain why God chose me to be the mother of sons or has being the mother of sons taught me to find such things interesting?

3. Two eager little preschoolers can go through $60.00 worth of Kumon books in less than a week, and get to lesson 32 in their comrehensive preschool skills books as well. It is nice, though expensive, to have such eager preschoolers.

Three good questions I was asked this first week back to school:

Nicholas: Do you remember the dream I had last night about a train?

Zachary: If there's such thing as fresh water and salt water, why isn't there such thing as pepper water?

Simeon: If the Vikings named a flat island "Flatland" and a place they hoped people would move to "Greenland" and a place full of grapesvines "Vinland," what would they have named our yard, Fire-Antland?

One thing I am very grateful for this school year:

I am so, so happy that Nicholas has gone from doing this sort of thing during school hours...

to this:

What a difference!