Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Egyptian gods

Today we got school started around 10:00 - after we got everyone out of the toilet. *sigh* We started with math and learned about the greater than and less than symbols. I can see where some people could get confused by Singapore's methods without the teacher's manual. Luckily, I had learned that the alligator eats the larger number when I was a kid so when a big crocodile was the only explanation of the section, it made perfect sense to me! I'm kind of weird that way though. ;)

For phonics we finished the second half of Tuesday's lesson. Phonics lessons are still a struggle, but Cameron is finally reading things when we're out and about. He reads words all the time now. He read "Read and Grow" on a sign at the library (except that he said the wrong form of read (red)). He read "Press Here" in the back of 10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle. He's reading the names of animals off of a big blow up globe that we have. So all the guilt about forcing him to read and possibly turning him off of it forever seems to be sinking away at last. He still has a fear of books - I can't get him to finish that Level 1 reader on rockets that we started last week - but at least he is reading in the real world. And it's not like he's trying either. He can just look at a lot of these words now and know what they say. That must be so liberating for him.

We had another reading breakthrough tonight at bedtime. I've been slowly reading Dar and the Spear-Thrower to them each school night before bed. They're more willing to listen then because it means they get to stay up that many minutes longer. Anyway, the chapters are only a couple of pages long so it's been taking us forever to get through it. I've been ready to give up more than once because they just don't seem to care most of the time. But tonight, even Cassia was hanging on every word! It was a super exciting chapter (finally) and I think that if I had offered, they would have even wanted to read another. But it was late and I think I like the idea that they might actually be looking forward to hearing what happens to Dar next. If we make it through, which I'm almost positive we will, it will only be the third chapter book that we've ever finished reading aloud. (The other two were Akimbo and the Elephants and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.)

For History today we read the Usborne Book of World History and the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia entries on early Egypt. Cameron woefully lamented having to do History "every day" but then ended up very, very interested in what I had to say. Silly boy. I remember being the same way as a kid: I never wanted to do anything but then once I was forced to, I enjoyed it. Anyway, we talked about kings and pyramids and gods and afterlives. There were some tough parts to the conversation. We've never really discussed god or religion or anything. I have my beliefs and they are very personal to me. I feel it is something that you have to reach on your own and I would never in a million years say that my views are the only ones or the right ones for everybody, even my own son. My thoughts on god are complex and have taken decades to make sense to me... I can't explain that to a six-year old.

But I made an attempt. I tried to explain god(s) and how people need him/them to make sense of the world and to explain things that can't be explained, etc. I must not have made a very good case of things because he said that was silly. He said, very point blank, "I don't think there's a god." I told him not to make a decision about that until he had time to learn more about the subject. I also told him that no matter what he believed, it was most important for him to not belittle anyone else's beliefs. I tried to stress very strongly that everyone has the right to believe in whatever god they want to and it is nobody's business but their own. I hope that made an impression. I think it did because when we were talking about Egyptian gods later, he did actually wait until we were in the car and the door was closed before he repeated, "I don't think gods are real." We will be studying world religions as they come up in the progression of History so hopefully he will get a greater understanding of what god means to people. I think we may have just started with a rather outlandish group of gods for an introduction to the topic, lol.

But back to those Egyptian gods, a reference on Maria's blog to these adorable little apostle dolls sparked my imagination and we ran off to the craft store to buy little wooden doll heads, felt, and pipe cleaners to make Egyptian god dolls. I also bought some clay, both air drying and oven drying, to try and mold some of those funky animal faces. Well see how they turn out. Who knows if they will be recognizable or not but I'm sure they will be fun.


G said...

Yeah, I've had a hard time explaining the god concept too. I've also had a moderately hard time explaining church (we went to one recently for a funeral, and I'll admit, it was their first time inside one). Hmmmm.

I like the Egyptian god doll idea! Sounds like it will be a lot of fun. BTW, LOVE the Greyson pic in the toilet. I showed CO and CJ, and they were rolling on the floor laughing.

Oh, is park day this week or next? I lost my newsletter in the move.

hsmomof3 said...

I totally learned greater than/less than with the crocodile, too! That's exactly how I explained it to my kids.

I have to say -- and I hope this doesn't sound condescending...I certainly don't mean it to -- that I am very impressed with the way that you're explaining religion/God to your kids. I'm sure you know, from reading my blog, that I am a Christian, believe in God and am raising my children that way. It really impressed me that, even though you don't share my exact beliefs, you're teaching your children not only to repsect the beliefs of others, but also not to rush to judgement about what they themselves believe. I think that's very cool.


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