Schooling Davy Crockett

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"Mooooom! Can we do school yet? I wanna learn more about Jonah!"

I looked up from checking my email to see two little boys in coonskin caps, plastic rifles, homemade tomahawk, and fringed shirts. "Puhleeeeeeease? Can we start NOW?"

"Sure, Davy!" I replied.

I met him at the kitchen table with colored pencils and a printout of the text of the book of Jonah. We've been going through the short story (only 4 chapters) and marking key words. We went through the first chapter of Jonah. Every mention of Jonah was marked with a fish, mariners were marked with a boat, etc. This slowed us down and required that we looked at every word carefully.

Hidden in our 'learning how to study like Daddy' exercise were some grammar lessons: capitalization and pronouns. *wink* I've also thrown in some map reading activities. All of the questions are answered from the text, which can be a challenge when we think we already know the whole story. Davy comes by this trait honestly, unfortunately *blush.*

Davy doesn't realize that he's learning parts of speech, creative writing, study skills, etc. He thinks we are just ferreting out interesting facts that he can dazzle Daddy with when he gets home.

Each day, he writes out things he learned from the text.

His list for the first chapter included:
1. He learned a new word -- mariners -- and what it meant.
2. He learned that the mariners went from calling on several gods, to making a sacrifice to God after surviving the storm.
3. He learned that Jonah was a prophet. (Apparently, Davy Crockett didn't think God would use a rebel for that purpose. *smile*)

So, we recorded our findings sitting there at the kitchen table. Davy wore his best fringed shirt and jeans (with a hole in the knee) for the occasion. We sat there with a Bible, a map, extra paper and colored pencils, determined that every word be given careful consideration. Learning SO much -- especially ME.

I learned that if it is framed as an adventure, my never-wants-to-fail son is a happy learner. He's not afraid of a struggle. He thrives on the feeling of accomplishment that comes from seeing his own progress. He isn't a BIT interested in seeing a good grade on a test. Grammar or writing exercises for the sake of practice would just tempt him to rebel. He needs to see it all as a means to an end -- learning with a purpose.

One day, he will have a family of his own to teach. He realizes that he NEEDS to know how to study these words and KNOW their meaning for himself. He's learning how to be a teacher, to bear the weight of man-things. . . Such a HUGE task for a skinny kid . . .

Yet, when we were done, he flopped his coonskin cap back onto his head, shouldered his haversack, picked up the plastic rifle and with shining eyes said, "You think I'm doing good, mom?"

"Yes, son, you're doing GREAT!" I replied.
He stood a bit taller on his bare feet and said, "I'm going outside, okay?"

Sure, Davy -- king-of-the-wild-frontier -- go play!


Betty Boop Smith said...


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