Homeschooling

What Are the Children Reciting Now?

The children are always memorizing poetry or Scripture, but we take our time with it. In fact, we may spend an entire month on one piece, reciting it daily. The hope is that these beautiful pieces will become a part of them–lodged deep within their souls.

Right now, the older children at home are memorizing the “Canticle of the Three Young Men” from the book of Daniel in the Old Testament. It’s one of my favorites, especially the line, “Ice and snow, bless the Lord.” As I detest ice and only appreciate snow–from about December 24th through December 31st–it’s a good reminder that these things are ordained by God and therefore good. (May it please the Lord to remind me of this come February.)

The Eldest, who attends a classical school, is memorizing two pieces: “A Christmas Hymn” by Richard Wilbur for her Literature class and the “Judica Me,” or Psalm 42, for her Latin class.

My other son, who also attends this classical school, just finished memorizing “The Flag Goes By” by Henry Holcomb Bennet.

And how about the Little Girls?

As they love Robert Louis Stevenson so much, they’ve been reciting “The Swing” for weeks on end. Oh, and a few nursery rhymes.

What’s coming up for December?

While every year is a bit different, we do tend to return to a few of our favorites this time of year: “A Visit From St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore, “Prologue to St. John’s Gospel,” “Stopping By the Woods on Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, and “Wintertime” by Robert Louis Stevenson.

I love the size of this little book. His last name seems appropriate for the season too…

How about you? I’d love to hear what you’re working on.

Life is Worth Living

We Love Santa! And All Other Fairy Tales Too

All right, enough of you are interested and apparently would like me to say a few words on Santa Claus.

Most of you know the difference between St. Nicholas and Santa Claus, right? If not, there are plenty of other capable websites out there willing to chronicle the similarities and differences of these two men. (Well, one was a sainted bishop and the other a fictional, old man, likely based on the former…)

But today I’m not interested in detailing the particulars of St. Nicholas, whose feast day is December 6th and wherein many children (including ours) receive chocolate coins in their shoes to commemorate his generosity in helping out three destitute sisters long, long ago.

Rather, today I’m only interested in our modern culture’s Santa Claus–you know, the fat, jolly, old man from the North Pole with a bunch of magical, flying reindeer at his service.

As I was saying, we’re not haters around here. In fact, I like Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus and Rudolf and all those hard-working elves. You may remember the charming poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore? This poem is all about Santa Claus and my children recite it every December. Why? Because it’s beautifully and imaginatively written; it’s a lovely story with a happy ending for all the good boys and girls in the world.

But it’s just that–a fictional tale that’s fun to read and dramatize in costume and song and generally just enjoy.

And like all other fairy tales, we cannot tell our children that they’re true because they aren’t, and they know it anyway.

So, for our family, we enjoy the tale of Santa Claus, while avoiding lying about his eternal, omnipresence–for he isn’t eternal or omnipresent. There is only One who is, and He was born on Christmas day, and His story is tremendously important and magical and beautiful. Happy Birthday, Jesus, on December 25th!

Now that’s a story, and a true one at that. And on Christmas morning, we don’t care to have any competition with it. So, no gifts from Santa, but…

Jesus’ birthday cake, early Christmas morning last year. The children had carried Him over from the Nativity Set and had just sung for Him. We chose 3 candles for the Trinity.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!