Classical Conversations. As I mentioned in my last weekly update, I had to wrestle with this concept and consider carefully whether it was too much pressure to put on him, or even if I was sure of its value for his education. Eventually I came to the conclusion that yes, this does have value, and no, it is not too much pressure. Rather, I began to see the constant practice and rigor as a mental discipline and not a burden that I was placing on him. He is a sharp kid who memorizes very easily, and if he can store things that are important in his brain, then he ought to memorize as much as possible.
So in the last week we have been practicing daily for the Memory Master proofing process. This entails reciting all 24 weeks of the memory work without errors in eight different disciplines. They are "permitted" 2 mistakes on the final proof. He must be "proofed" by both parents, his tutor, and the program director. If all of these levels are passed, then he has earned the status of memory master. On Wednesday, I decided to do a surprise proof. He didn't really know that I was proofing him, but he passed, with only a few mistakes and a hesitation here or there. Then Thursday we worked out those kinks and that evening his dad proofed him. He made no mistakes. I have to admit that even though we have worked very hard to this end, I am still amazed at his ability to retain all of this information!
There has been an additional lesson in this which I could not have anticipated. It has been such a wonderful thing to watch my son learn not to give in to his natural tendency to worry and fret over the smallest aspects of a thing. It has been a challenge for him to think about the things he is getting right and not focus on his mistakes. Then one evening when he had done about all the studying he could do, we talked about how he could just place the outcome into God's hands. That way if he succeeded, he could not be proud, and if he for some reason did not, he would have no need to feel as though he had failed, but rather look for the lesson that God would have him learn in the process. He understood, and immediately the pressure came off. He prayed that God would give him the words, that he would work through him, and that no matter the outcome, it would be to God's glory.
Serendipitously, this is all falling into place in such a way that we should actually be finished with the memory work a week early, and can then proceed into some OTHER THINGS. Molly will finally be able to get the full attention she deserves in her language arts and math (she has been so patient), and we plan to make a couple of lap books on topics that we covered in the memory work in the second part of the year. Be sure to check back on the progress of those lap books as we go. I will blog about how we are doing them and post pictures along the way.