Sunday, February 11, 2007

Did Your Teacher Ever Talk To You Like This?

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In Home Schooling they do it seems. Erin of bearing blog fills us in on a conversation with her son in the car one day

Ever since we bought the minivan a few months ago, Oscar and Milo have been riding in the "way back. " It feels so roomy, after being crammed into my sedan. But I'd forgotten how nice it is to be close together, too.

For the last few days all three kids have been riding in the middle row because I'd folded down the back seat to transport some chairs and hadn't put it back yet. Oscar and I are now within shouting distance from each other.

Wednesday on our way to Hannah's, he asked me, "English comes from England and Spanish came from Spain. Where do they speak Latin?" That began a 25-minute conversation about linguistics: how babies once learned Latin from their mommies but not anymore; how Latin matured and became modern French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Romansch; how English is not descended directly from Latin; why we have Latin words anyway; how the most people in the world speak Chinese, but people in the most countries speak English; how Spanish is the second most common language in our country; why Chinese and Japanese people do not use the Latin alphabet; how children in China learn to read and write; how the Chinese language is different from Latinate languages and from English.

(Finally, my very limited knowledge of Mandarin, which I acquired by playing with the Rosetta Stone software hosted at the county library, has come in handy.)

Thursday we found ourselves again driving to Hannah's, and Oscar asked me: "Mommy, if I want to be a saint, do I have to give away all my possessions?" (He must have watched the CCC video about St. Francis recently.) Thus began a 25-minute discussion about how St. Francis came to give away all his possessions; about how St. Frances Cabrini needed, not so much to give money away, but to acquire it, to do the work God was calling her to do, building hospitals and schools and such; about how Mother Cabrini didn't actually use a hammer and saw to build the hospitals, instead she prayed and did important organizing and fund-raising work; about St. Jane Frances de Chantal, who became a saint in part by being a good wife and mother; about St. Joseph, who used his money and possessions to take care of his family. Oscar said, "When I grow up I want to travel around the world giving money to many different kinds of people." That began a discussion about listening to God for your vocation and how most people aren't sure what their vocation is until they are grownups. He pointed out that in the biography of Mother Cabrini we just read, little Francesca "Cecchina" Cabrini knew she wanted to be a missionary sister from the time she was nine years old. Touche. I told him I didn't know for sure that my vocation was to be a mommy until I was about 23 years old. And I told him about my friend J.P., who thought for a while that his vocation was to be a priest and then while he was in seminary he realized that it wasn't that, and also about a priest we know who was a computer programmer for years before he figured out what his vocation was.

And then we got to Hannah's and he ran off to play.

I think I'll keep the boys in the middle row for a little bit longer. bearing blog

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