Feelin’ hop, hop, hop

Here’s the song reference.

As previously mentioned on this very blog, the girls are studying Latin this year.  They have generous enough to include Mr. Man in their studies, which has led to the uproariously funny happenstance of two first graders having their Latin pronunciation corrected by their three-year-old brother.

One of the great beauties of homeschooling is that, when the weather is favorable, we can carry our lessons outdoors and, occasionally, find some ridiculous way to study something that requires a certain amount of repetition or practice.  Such was the case this morning; since we were blessed with a pleasant morning and some friends who shared our desire to visit one of the local parks, I advised Bugaboo and Beanie that, if they were to finish their English and math lessons in a timely manner, we could head for said park and practice our Latin with something akin to a game of hopscotch.  It’s always good when we can get away from the table and have a little fun with what we’ve learned.

This intrigued both girls greatly, and the lessons were completed in something approaching record time with near-perfect accuracy.  There was a noticeable absence of whining, as well.  After quickly assembling a tub of peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches, some carrot sticks, some gummy fruit snacks, and quite a bit of bottled water in the cooler, we tossed a big bag of sidewalk chalk into our park bag and headed off in search of amusement, with a side order of pronunciation.  Some of our friends awaited us when we arrived, and the tribe scampered off, eager to explore climbing apparatus, bouncers, slides, swings, games of tag and conversation with friends.   Mr. Man was back by my side in an instant, looking for a bag of fruit snacks, as is his custom, and Beanie shortly followed.

After I caught up on chat with my friend who happens to be the mother of the tribe’s friends, I dug around for a piece of sidewalk chalk and began scrawling rough squares containing single letters, phonemes, and the few Latin words we’re studied.  When Bugaboo and Beanie meandered back to the table to see what all I might have tucked into the cooler, they noticed the letters chalked on the cement floor of the picnic pavilion and started to investigate.  Seizing the moment, I called them over to a spot of ground a couple of feet away from where most of the chalk scribbling was and explained the rules of the game.

I would ask a question, such as “what sound does a Latin ‘a’ make,”  or “what Latin vowel makes the ‘oo’ sound,” or “what Latin word means ‘I walk,'” after which they would find the relevant square and jump on it.  Anything that involves jumping is generally big fun for the tribe; Mr. Man saw us gathered off to the side and came to read off what was written on the pavement and join in whatever hijinks were to follow.

Well, we managed a few rounds before the lure of the playground, friends, and a cooler full of goodies diverted their interest.  Beanie, Mr. Man, and Baby Guy cajoled sticks of chalk out of me, and cheerfully set about decorating the pavilion, sidewalk, and, in Baby Guy’s case, teeth, with powdery hues of pink, blue, and yellow.  To my great amusement, some of the other parents who had brought their small people to the park scrutinized the grid on the ground, and set about recalling their own Latin studies.

On the way home, around a bite of sandwich, Beanie burbled, “I liked playing hopscotch with our Latin words and letters.  Can we do that again?”

Yeah, I think we can, little one, and I’ll bet we can come up with a few more applications for that, too!

Today’s prayer:  Lord, thank You for sidewalk chalk, for friends who come to play, for enough food and drink not only to sustain ourselves, but also enough to share with our friends and random passers-by.  Thank You for the laughter and silliness of Your blessings on summer mornings, for their sweaty little heads and hands, for the proofs of Your grace of patience You send us through them. Thank You for those who thought to preserve ancient languages, so that we may study them and learn what our forebears said in their own words, in their tongue, and learn of the rich heritage of Your people.  Please keep us mindful of Your servant’s prayer, that we should seek more to understand than to be understood; inflame us with the desire to understand, and thus grow in our love for You and our reverence for Your creation, with its many landscapes and languages.  Help us to learn and to teach joyfully, and to recall that instruction and correction are equally valuable to those who are wise.

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