We decided it was time for “school”, so I sat on the couch with our current books on my lap and waited for everyone to get quiet so I could start reading. Morgan was beside me telling me about what he had read in a book about energy. He told me about electrons and how much fuel tankers hold and all kinds of interesting facts (something about windmills too). Meanwhile Shawn was behind me in the kitchen continuing our discussion we had started previously about a 14 year old African boy who built a windmill based on pictures he saw in a library book and provided electricity for his village. Shawn has been studying about how to build a perpetual motion generator himself, so it was encouraging to him to see that a boy was able to start with just some pictures of windmills and figure out how to generate electricity for his village.
We had also been discussing the Invisible Children and the controversy surrounding their methods of trying to capture Joseph Kony in Africa. So I still had thoughts about that going around the back of my mind. Kelsey was writing something in a notebook, and I was curious about what she was writing, but I didn’t get a chance to ask her, because Patrick kept saying, “Let’s read!” He wanted to go play a video game, but he knew we had to do school first.
So I started reading from the Bible. We are in Acts. Chapter 15 was where we stopped. So I started reading about the Judaizers coming to where Paul and Barnabus were and telling the new converts that they had to be circumcised and follow the Law. I read about what the council decided the Gentile believers needed to do – abstain from meats dedicated to idols and things that were strangled and blood and to stay away from sexual immorality. I commented on those being the only things that we as Gentile believers are accountable for in regard to Judaic law. And Shawn added a few comments about the food laws and how they are healthier but we are not bound by them as Jews are. The Jews thrive on all of Torah because that is the culture that God set up for them. They don’t consider it burdensome or try to make other people do it, too. It’s just God’s way for them.
Then I read to the kids from a Childhood of Famous Americans book about Martin Luther King, Jr. We were at the end of the book, so we read about the march in Birmingham, Alabama when the police used fire hoses and dogs on the children who were marching peacefully, chanting, “We’re going to walk, walk, walk. Freedom… freedom… freedom.” My kids were outraged. We hate injustice. We finished that book. It took us several weeks to read the whole thing.
Then I started the last book in a trilogy by Rosemary Sutcliff that is set in the time of Rome but in the province of Britain. The books are called The Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch and The Lantern Bearers. We have read the first two books already. I call it a trilogy, but I just read on Wikipedia that it’s a loosely connected series (they are set in time periods generations apart but the main characters are descendants of the same family in each book), and it appears there is another book called Sword at Sunset. Just when I thought we were almost finished with this part of history! I will probably get the next book and read it, too. Rosemary Sutcliff is a very good author, and we all enjoy her stories. I feel that I am learning British history for the first time while reading these books. And, hopefully, my children are soaking in the understanding of what it was like to live in Britain during the time of the Roman Empire and the Saxon invasions. I read the first chapter, and we were introduced to a few of the main characters with familiar-sounding names because they were descendants of the people we got to know in the first two books we read. The father was named Flavian and the daughter Flavia (one of the main characters from the previous book was named Flavius) and the main character’s name was Aquila. The man who started this whole family dynasty was named Marcus Flavius Aquila. We read about him in the first book “Eagle of the Ninth”. So we got our toes wet in the plot, setting and characters of this new story and our appetites whetted for the continuing story of life in Roman Britain.
Then Shawn read aloud from a book called The Blood of Lambs by a former Muslim terrorist in America who came here to practice Jihad by blending into the culture and taking it over from within. He became a Christian after Allah failed to answer him when he called out to him. Instead the true God answered him and kept him from killing himself with a gun. The man’s name is Kamal Saleem. He is from Lebanon. Last month we read Brigitte Gabriel’s book about Muslims and the true agenda of Islam in America, Because They Hate.
The older two boys have been reading on their own books by General Gerry Boykin. They are learning about our Army’s special forces and how they work. And along the way they have learned a lot about terrorism, history, politics, diplomacy, and military tactics. They are also doing their own physical training which includes a lot of martial arts fighting styles. Shawn is also learning a lot about survival skills. Patrick is learning some Eastern European history, especially about Czech Republic, since he met someone online from there.
Last week I read to the kids about Ronald Reagan’s life. It was the first time they had really heard much about him. We learned a little bit more about Eastern Germany, East Berlin and the Berlin Wall by reading about Ronald Reagan’s role in bringing down Communism. We watched and listened to his speech at the Berlin Wall where he demanded, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
We also read a book called The Candy Bomber about an American cargo pilot who dropped chocolate candy for the children of West Berlin during the airlift right after World War 2. It’s written by Michael O. Tunnell. Through this story we learned a little more about Communist Russia and their tactics to try to starve the isolated Free World sectors of West Berlin into accepting Communist rule. Did I choose this book because I knew we would be studying about Ronald Reagan and the Berlin Wall and the Berlin airlift? To be honest, I didn’t even know they were about the same topics. I grabbed the book at the library because I thought it looked interesting. And I liked the title.
Did I make a conscious decision that it was time for us to move into more recent history and current events? No. Did the Holy Spirit nudge us in this direction. I believe so. And the interests of my children prompted us to move forward in our studies. If I had stuck with my planned study of history chronologically, we might never have reached this period of history. As it is, we are studying Roman Britain, World War 2, the Civil Rights Battle, American military operations during the 1970’s and 80’s, the fall of Communism and Islam in America all at the same time. Not to mention all of the side projects and books and topics that the kids are working on in their own time.
My plan at the beginning of the year was loosely based on studying the Middle Ages and Early Church History. We have studied some of that, but the bulk of our studies has been more about issues that are affecting us right now. I’m reminded of Proverbs 16:9 –
A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.
I can tell you one thing. Letting the Holy Spirit lead our homeschooling sure makes life interesting!
My mother in law used to correspond regularly with David Gergen, President Reagan’s chief of staff. She was a very well-read, high school educated, Ohio mother of six. She kept copies of all her letters…. When she heard that Mr. Reagan was going to speak about the East Bloc, she wrote to Mr. Gergen that the president should say, “Tear down this wall!”…. And he did!
Heather, How cool! That is amazing that you know the person who suggested that famous line in history! Thanks for sharing that with me!