I would like to say, for any mother who might ever pop in here looking for encouragement regarding
Tapestry of Grace Year Four (which is the year we are working through at the moment)
we are having a crazy high carnival of a time now working through materials which cover four weeks of work……. and my advice is
* do not try this at home. *
This should only be attempted by professionals.
I have never been in this situation before. We are spread across weeks six through nine. And when we get together daily, sometimes twice daily, to cover the discussion of what was going on in Europe after WWI, during the Russian Revolution, as American women were fighting for the vote, and as the African colonies were scrambling for independence and India followed suit, and then we must deal with the decline of family values in Europe and America, and, Oh wait, here comes Hitler……
I have never wandered across even two weeks of Tapestry of Grace material before. And I hope never to do this again. Organizing the teaching notes and assignments is something like governing a tribal state, and I am only able to manage it with sticky notes in five different colors.
My assignment calendar looks like an Indian head-dress with all these neon-tone stickies hanging out everywhere.
So I have to explain how this mess happened.
Last year we were studying Tapestry of Grace Year Two.
So, we should have done Year Three this year.
BUT, when we did Year Three four years ago, we did such a thorough job….such an eviscerating job, that my kids asked very politely, hat in hand and all, if we might skip it this time and go straight into Year Four, which is modern history, and which we have not studied together before.
So, I agreed that skipping Year 3 was a good idea, …….almost……
We didn’t do the entire curricula for Year 3, we just hit the high points.
From August 1 until September 15, we did a lightening tour of the first 18 weeks of Year 3…..which took us from the colonization of America well into the American Revolution and some of the French Revolution.
Then we left all books behind, and hopped off to Norway and England for a very edifying four week long field trip.
And when we returned we hit the high points of American Governmnent and the Industrial Revolution over three weeks time.
Then we jumped right into World War One, which we studied deeply and with relish for four weeks.
Then came Christmas 2010, (and that famous New Years Day party at which we had 200 people, having expected only 100….and I was slow to recover from that.)
Then various children took ill in various ways, and I followed them. And that’s when I gave assignments which took part of one week, and attached them to assignments from a portion of another week. Then, I found that in order to cover the literature well, we needed to go back and re-coup some of the discussions and reading we had missed. So, rather than a straight line of reading, discussing and writing up our work which is the much more desirable norm, we are in a crazy quilt mulligatawny juggling act. So we’re working through the last dregs of “Socialism compared to a Totalitarian State”, Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky from Weeks 6 and 7, the last bits and pieces of the postwar national boundaries debacle in Europe which is in Weeks 7 and 8, various literature discussions from 6, 7, 8 and even 9, and then the introduction of Hitler as a young pup who took pathetic Germany by the horns. And then there is the Jazz Age, Women’s suffrage, Realist Literature, and applied Marxism.
The big kids read Animal Farm over the past three days, and loved it. Thanks to Marcia Somerville’s excellent curricula and Spielvogel’s Western Civilization text and Pipe’s Whys of the Russian Revolution they have such a good understanding of the all the architects of the revolution and the climate in Europe at that time. They enjoyed figuring out for themselves which animals in the book represent which historical individuals, and I sat back and watched and wished I had enjoyed it so much when I was their age. Their love of learning is more fun than a chocolate dessert for me. When I read Animal Farm in highschool, it was an ugly ordeal. That’s true of many aspects of my education. This second go-round is really a joy. When I was young, I had no good understanding of the finer points of all the drama in Europe during the Revolution, or allegory, or even of the beauty of dystopia and the wisdom we can find in it, if we can only understand it.
There’s a bit of travel happening for us beginning in two days….but I’m aiming at having us all back in line, doing ONLY Week ten, beginning next Monday.
So, around my house it’s all about totalitarian regimes and dark periods of history……except that the kids were remarking today that it is beautiful to notice that at the precise time in history that Europe was entering this sad time, and great misery brought about by evil men was overtaking so many ,many lives….. in North America, freedom and peace and optimism were peaking…..it was such a time of blessing and opportunity.
It would seem that even as God appeared to have almost turned his back on many in Europe, such a gracious hand of richness was being extended to another place on earth.
He is always here, He is always at work.
And the sustaining hand of God was not absent from the Russians or the Germans.
But the ways of God are not the ways of men. And God doesn’t do things the way we might.
And how lovely to find scripture to remind me that nothing is new to God, nothing surprises Him, and we are all a part of a story which He is writing. I was looking around in Isaiah for something else, and found this…….
6 Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.”
And that was so encouraging to me. God will accomplish what he desires, and He has a purpose in history. And it is all for His renown.
And Hitler and Lenin and Stalin and war are nothing before Him.