Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Old Stories, New Questions

Today, as part of our block on the Old Testament, I told the story of Lot, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and Lot's wife being turned into a pillar of salt. Rowan declared, "I think God is a jerk. How could he kill all those people, including children? What about the animals when all the fire and brimstone fell?" Hmm. This is a hard one for me. It all started with Noah. Rowan did not think it was fair that only two of each kind of animal was saved. He could not understand why God would drown all those animals due to the "badness" of humans. He hears these stories and notices the highly judgmental nature of God in them. I try to bring a fullness to them, get a sense of the deeper meanings so that I can imbue the stories with that feeling, create a beautiful picture, but I am not sure if it is working. I suppose Rowan's reaction is a normal nine year change thing that questions authority and the fairness of things. Still, I wonder how I am going to possibly tell the story of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac without Rowan being aghast at the idea of a father being asked to kill his son to prove his love of God! The points are stacking up against the God of the Old Testament in Rowan's book. I hope by the end of the block that I can help him have a more balanced understanding.

On the other hand, my attempt to bring in lessons on shelter and clothing along side the Old Testament are going very well. Right away this week Rowan was very interested in the types of houses that Abraham lived in. He wanted to build a clay model house immediately. We do not have access to a kiln like we did when older brother made his ziggurat, so we had to settle for the DAS air-drying clay. For the past two days we have spent a bit of time molding and stacking small clay bricks, modeling the structure on photos and drawings we found of Biblical clay houses and ruins. This was a very satisfying activity for both of us.

We also spent some time today learning all about wool. I dug out my old drop spindle (although I don't know how to use it!) and we went around finding things in the house that were made of wool. Rowan had fun working with the carding brushes. We discussed how cool it is that so many different animals can give up extra hair by combing or shearing without needing to be killed. We also talked about how in some places, like in Greenland or Alaska, animal fur and skin is essential for human survival. I had Rowan write an essay on the subject of wool in his Nature and History main lesson book.

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