Friday, February 4, 2011

The Clown of God

Our Five in a Row book this week was a really interesting choice. The Clown of God by Tomie DePaola is based on a french legend about a poor juggler whose final gift brings about a miracle. This french legend is based on an even older medieval miracle play. It is a beautifully written and illustrated story.

I had mixed feelings about reading this story to Aidan. The main character dies near the end of the story and Aidan is very sensitive to the notions of death and heaven right now. I try to answer his questions when he asks; but, I also try to avoid bringing up the topic whenever possible. The story is also fairly long and filled with some difficult concepts.

I decided to go ahead with the story and had planned to just move through it quickly without delving too deeply into it's meaning. I am so glad I made that decision. Of all the books we have read so far, I think this one has captivated him the most. He sits beside me completely engrossed every time we read it. He asks really great questions and has drawn some amazing conclusions. Today, during our final reading. he even pointed out the circular aspect of the story. For my part, every time I read the story I love it even more. It is very simply told; but, almost magical.

This retelling is set in Sorrento, Italy. We had already read a few stories set in Italy this year, so we didn't spend too much time discussing the country for social studies on Monday. Instead, we talked about elderly people and the ways we could help and respect them. On Tuesday, for language arts, I asked Aidan lots of questions about the story to gauge his actual comprehension. For art on Wednesday, we looked at church architecture and compared the illustrations with our old home church back in Ohio, St. Patrick's. On Thursday, for math, we practiced more grouping and some very basic concepts of multiplication. This weekend, Matt and the kids plan to head to one of our local science museums for some gravity studies. We also continued working on math and handwriting, studying basic addition and a few more letters.

Next week, we will finish out Volume One of Five in a Row. The next collection of books has already arrived and we can't wait to start working our way through it.

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