Monday, October 15, 2007

Some things you just can't do at school

Crayons and I sat down this morning to do "Grade One." That's what we call the half hour or so where I read her some of whatever's up in this week's Ambleside Online Year One. (The subjects we do with fifth-grader Ponytails don't count, in her mind, as Grade One.) One day it's Paddle-to-the-Sea, another day it's a fairy tale or Just-So Stories. Usually we read something from A Child's Garden of Verses and either a fable or one of the Fifty Famous Stories Retold as well, since they're pretty short.

Today we read the poem "The Land of Counterpane" and then we were about to start "Alexander and Bucephalus" from Fifty Famous Stories. But first I asked her to go over to the bookcase and pick out a book: Start in the middle. Now higher! To the right! Count five books over! What's the name of the book?

Stories of Alexander the Great, by Pierre Grimal. I love this book; the Apprentice and I read most of it the summer Crayons was born. "That's who this story is about," I said. "Alexander the Great."

"Okay, let's read the story out of this book," Crayons said.

"Well...okay." So I read it in Grimal's version (it's translated from French).

"So, my son, you think that you know more about horses than your father! Do you really think that you could break this one in?" he asked.

"This one, yes, of course," replied Alexander. "I am quite sure that I can deal with him far better than your squires."

"Well," replied Philip. "Why don't you try? If you do not succeed, what penalty do you deserve to pay for your presumption?"

"I will pay the price of the horse," replied Alexander.
And we read the ending:
"My son, it is time for you to find a kingdom worthy of your talents. I am afraid that Macedonia is too small for you."
Crayons started narrating it all back to me:

"Once upon a time...there was a king who was going to buy a horse for a famous price. [She meant fabulous.] Famous price now means that it's really cheap, but a famous price then meant it was really expensive."

Ponytails had wandered in after finishing her own assignment, and she kept saying, "I remember this story. This is a good story." (Pick up jaw from the floor.)

Crayons by this time had really gotten into her narration.

"Alexander said, 'I can ride this horse.' His father the king made a deal with him. If he couldn't ride the horse, he would have to pay the whole price of the horse himself."

"Do you want a horse?" Ponytails offered. "I'll be the horse."

Crayons considered the offer and then took Ponytails by the "bridle" and continued.

"He took the horse and turned him so he couldn't see his shadow. Then he got on and rode the horse. Then he galloped the horse."

(Ponytails: "Ooh! ow!" But she was a good sport.)

Crayons finished her narration, Ponytails got up from her knees, and we decided that one story was about enough for Grade One today.

Only in homeschool.

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