Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Big Concepts, Deep Thoughts

Part of our reading each week involves Caedmon choosing a book we brought home from the library for me to read aloud. (We bring home about 20, so there’s never a shortage of options.) He then does a “book report.” I made a form, and it gives us a place to list the title, author, (illustrator, if applicable), and a note about the book.  He tells me what he would like to remember about the book, and I write it down. At the bottom of the page is a place for him to draw a picture about the story. It’s not fancy, but it has been a great thing for us. We’ve read a lot of books this year, and it’s a great way to not only keep track of them, but to help Caedmon learn how to transfer what he hears/learns to the page.

Caedmon is in love with battle. Of all kinds. I know some find it disconcerting that a 6 year-old is completely obsessed with weapons, war, and battle strategy. But God made boys to be interested in battle. Boys grow up to be our warriors. So, we are allowing Caedmon to pursue this in what we feel is an appropriate way. Lately, that’s included finding the war section in juvenile non-fiction at the library and bringing home as many books as I’ll let him have.

War is a tough thing to talk about with anybody, but especially a 6 year-old. And it’s even more difficult when your 6 year-old is a deep thinker. He’s not into dates and facts. He wants to know why and how and because. Realities are harsh things, and the other day, I found myself explaining not just the reality of war, but of another difficult topic.

We read “The Tuskegee Airmen: African-American Pilots of World War II.” And I quickly found myself trying to adequately and appropriately explain segregation and discrimination (the book doesn’t give much background on the topic). Yes, Caedmon was asking questions about it, but I also wanted him to grasp just how big a deal it was for these men to become fighter pilots, and how much they sacrificed in order to do so. And even how much they dealt with as they were fighting for and alongside men who didn’t necessarily believe in them. And when they came home to America, they were not considered the war heroes they should’ve been. I’m not sure all of that “stuck,” but Caedmon was super impressed that not one bomber was shot down while be escorted by the Red Tails (the 332nd Fighter Group’s nickname), and that no other escort group’s record was as good. 

Yes, it was kind of a hard discussion to have. Lots of questions were asked, and I answered to the best of my ability, which is less than perfect. But this is one reason that I’m so thankful we homeschool. As Caedmon is learning about war and history, we can also talk about how we were all made by God. A God who doesn’t make mistakes, and doesn’t make people with different colored skin, hair, eyes, or size by accident. We all look different, and He made us just the way we are on purpose. And no, I don’t really understand why everyone doesn’t see that. People make mistakes and they sometimes think and act in a way that’s not right. And it doesn’t excuse their actions or make them ok, but God still loves us, and He loves them.

Those little conversations have been sneaking in more and more lately. Bigger concepts. Deeper thoughts. Conversations that are made sweet by having them in the moment, with the heart, instead of after-the-fact with the head (if at all).

Homeschooling can be hard. I’m the first one to admit that. But moments like these make the hard and so much more worth every second.

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