as we toured monticello, the idyllic home of thomas jefferson, one detail consumed my thoughts. this was a man was faithful to his calling, and he knew how to honor that. we gazed in awe (and moved to tears) at a fraction of his vast collection of books. we wandered through rooms that still stand as testimony to his intelligence, his curiosity, and his standing among men. he was broken and flawed, and he got some things backwards, even while impacting his world in powerful ways.
but what awed me, as a woman who seeks to put first things first, is that thomas jefferson, in this home, lived not just as a political icon and international ambassador, but as a father and grandfather. as the guide described the pattering of feet in the halls of history, i was challenged: there is no calling or “job” on earth worth pursuing, if it does not build the hearts and minds of my first calling: my own children. it is in raising the next generation that i have the most opportunity to impact the world to come. oh, that i may be faithful.
sometimes i get ruffled by the everyday noise of five kids schooling at once in the same house. we’re raising noisemakers, although it’s usually humming or enjoying background music via pandora. sometimes, i get a little hair-gripping-crazy impatient and just want to rush through the “requirements,” skipping past any fun that might incidentally happen. thankfully, when i do, my littles are sure to help me in the “creative mama,” or rather, “crafty kid,” department!
recently e. made up two review games that he and blue enjoy together when they’re reviewing memory work. i was pretty impressed (they’re way more fun than me), and i thought maybe other mamas and students could use it, as well.
the boys draw a circle with two tracks extending in “wavy tracks” from either side, divided into game spaces. each space gets labeled with a subject of study. the first space on each track (furthest from the circle) is labeled “start,” with each player’s name. the circle in the middle gets the words “memory master,” (a classical conversations title), or “something encouraging,” according to e.
each player rolls the dice and uses the game piece of his choice (we’re big fans of playmobil) to move that number of spaces, minus two (a two or 1 equals no move; this is, as e. explains, so they don’t run out of game board too quickly). if you miss a question, you must return to “start.”
the winner is the player who first reaches the “master” circle.
draw a game board, creating a “maze” of sorts, with a path divided into squares.
roll the dice. your opponent picks a subject (in this house, the one they think will be hardest for you!), and asks you a review question from that subject.
if you answer correctly, move your game piece the number of spaces rolled. if you answer incorrectly, move back the number of spaces rolled (players at “start” remain in place for an incorrect answer).
the first person to the end of the maze wins!
i’m pretty sure this game would work well for any curriculum… be sure and share below if you’ve got any “crafty kids” ideas for your child’s schooling!
when first i fell in love with lens and light, i hoarded that love. i held it as my private gift and sanctuary combined, and i had no desire to share that love. i reasoned that i am with my children all day many days, and we share much… i needed something of my own.
life, after all, with my loves, is loud and fast, and slowing time in silence was a rare gift and one i held sacred; necessarily solitary, i thought.
but they pursued, and i assented. i handed them my valued gear and that love, shared, grew. somehow, it instilled a quiet all its own, just from the “working alongside” that happens from letting another in to a sacred space, from teaching a learned skill and from giving of a passion.
how can one explain joy until it is shared?
now they, too, have a sacred space full of wonder…
once i gave in and passed on knowledge and delighted with them in new discovery, the gift became greater for the sharing.