Friday, March 13, 2015

John Allen's Amazing Christmas Gift

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a two part series wondering if our family was an unschooling family. Here's the link to the first post - Oh No! Could We Actually Be. . . *Gasp*. . .Unschoolers?!?  I won't tell you what the answer to that question is, you'll have to read the posts, but I will tell you that in that two part series I described how Sarah and I will look at what our children are interested in and then allow them to run with it. We often will build almost their entire homeschool curriculum around that interest - math, science, geography/history, English. . . everything will revolve around the present topic that excites them. We have had to do that especially with Joshua since he is an aspy and when he becomes fixated on something you may as well embrace it instead of fight it. I revived one of my old Angelfire blog posts about that a couple of days ago called "Oh! The Strange Ways Our Children Learn!"

John Allen, our oldest, is a more traditional learner. We have pretty much stuck to a more conventional approach to learning with him although from the beginning we have chosen his curriculum based on his strengths. We have, though, deviated occasionally, and last fall and winter was one of the times that we deviated.

It all started a little before Thanksgiving when he asked for a Latin Bible for Christmas so that he could read the Bible all the way through in Latin. John Allen is in no way fluent in Latin, but he did take three years of it in grades 4-6, and we decided to pick it up again for his two years of high school language.

The day after asking for the Latin Bible, though, he came to me and said "Dad, I've been thinking. Before I read the Bible in Latin, maybe I should read it in English. I read through Genesis today. How many chapters would I need to read a day to complete it by Christmas? "

We figured it out and it was 26 chapters that he would have to read per day. I was thrilled and very impressed with his desire to read the Bible so I wasn't about to tell him that most people don't even get the Bible read in a year and for many it takes years for them to read it through, let alone four or five weeks!

I was very pleased to see him really sticking to his plan. He was faithful in doing it day after day. This was one of those times when I just let things go with the flow. He was spending a couple of hours a day reading his Bible and I wasn't going to stop him just to work on math, Latin, or anything else. He even took his Bible to McDonald's to read when we were babysitting our pastor's kids and took them to the play place to play. We allowed him to just go with his interest.

He would have gotten it done before Christmas if the owner of our ministry building and home hadn't decided to sell the property and we wouldn't have had to move. John Allen was my right hand man the whole time in our move and, although he was faithful in reading, had to cut down on the amount of chapters he read.

I am very excited to say, though, that he persevered and on January 19 he finished! Many people never read the Bible through but John Allen was able to finish it in about two months! I am super proud of him!

During that time I was telling my sister about what was going on. She called us up one day and said that she was sending a check to us. She wanted to pay for John Allen's Latin Bible. Last week he got it and has already started to read it. It is very slow going. He really needs to finish a couple years of high school Latin in order to understand it more but he is trying. I am amazed! John Allen has inspired me to try to read the Bible through maybe a couple of times this year.

I'm beyond confident that taking a break from his regular homeschool schedule and letting him follow his own interest was very well worth it!


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