Posted by : Karen Thursday, May 17, 2012

 Elizabeth Ann fell back on the bench with her mouth open. What crazy things the teacher said! She felt as though she was being pulled limb from limb.
 "What's the matter?"asked the teacher, seeing her bewildered face.
"Why - why, " said Elizabeth Ann, "I don't know what I am at all. If I'm second-grade arithmetic and seventh-grade reading and third-grade spelling, what grade am I?"
The teacher laughed. "You aren't any grade at all, no matter where you are in school. You're just yourself, aren't you? What difference does it make what grade you're in? And what's the use of your reading little baby things too easy for you just because you don't know your multiplication table?"
"Well for goodness' sakes!" ejaculated Elizabeth Ann, feeling very much as though somebody had stood her suddenly on her head.
"What's the matter?" asked the teacher again.
This time Elizabeth Ann didn't answer because she herself didn't know what the matter was. But I do, and I'll  tell you. The matter was that never before had she known what she was doing in school. She had always thought she was there to pass from one grade to another, and she was ever so startled  to get a glimpse of the fact that she was there to learn how to read and write and cipher and generally use her mind, so she could take care of herself when she came to be grown up. Of course, she didn't know that 'til she did come to be grown up, but in that moment, she had her first dim notion of it, and it made her feel the way you do when you're learning to skate and somebody pulls away the chair you've been leaning on and says, "Now, go it alone!
This wonderful excerpt is taken from Understood Betsy, by Dorothy Canfield Fisher, and is part of Core B of the Sonlight Curriculum we follow. We've really been enjoying this read-aloud: it's about the gradual blossoming of a very sheltered nine year old girl in the 1900's, as she is exposed to learning in every day life once away from her over-protective and very traditional aunt. This excerpt actually made me go cold, as it just spoke so deeply to me about the way that we label our children, whether or not they are in mainstream schools or schooled at home. 

Our children are so much more than the grade they are in. Their learning should be about so much more than just getting from one year to the next. And on that note, it's been such a beautiful golden week here, beginning to see the fruit of out homeschooling coming out in our eldest child.

King Arthur regaled his siblings with tales about surface tension this week; went willingly on a nature ride all around our estate to find pond skaters; told me that when he grows up he want to be a conservationist. I'm sure Charlotte Mason is the one who mentioned that children should be allowed to make relations with the things they learn, and I can so see this happening in King Arthur. His passion for the world, and looking after it blows me away (yep, he often challenges me on what's to go in the recycling!), and I love watching him unfurl. It's almost too beautiful for words...

this is why I love homeschooling....

I get to be a part of it all.


One Response so far.

  1. That book was one of our favourites from Core B! And that quote is etched in my memory for the same reasons you highlight it. Yay for being a part of it all! :)

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