Summer at the Strongo Asylum
Last fall, as Valor was seven years old, the state of North Carolina required us to register with a “Notice of Intent to Operate a Home School” in order to keep on the
good obedient side of the law. It wasn’t that big a deal—only requiring that we keep attendance, testing, and immunization records—except that we had to come up with a name for the school. Something like “Gjertsen Christian Academy” seemed a lot like what everyone else does, and the House of Gjertsen sort of has a reputation for straying off of the beaten path. As we were brainstorming names, Percy suggested “Strongo” and a few minutes later we had “Strongo Asylum for Exceptional Children,” which seemed to strike a pleasant balance between absurdly pompous and self-deprecative. We all laughed about it and used it as a working name until we came up with something better.
And while the deadline for the paperwork arrived, we realized we couldn’t. Strongo strong!
While our homeschooling community of Classical Conversations is on summer break, our little “asylum” keeps running:
The boys are memorizing the New City Catechism and completed a basic theology curriculum for Trail Life called God and Me. The latter involved creating various kinds of games, which they really enjoyed doing.
They both took swimming lessons at the YMCA this summer. Percy enjoyed a week of day camp there while Valor was staying with my mom in Raleigh doing an engineering camp that was half Lego Mindstorms and half Minecraft: Redstone. So basically, Valor got to use both halves of his brain.
Valor became proficient at riding a bike early in the summer. He is continuing to learn Python programming, progressing his hero through Code Combat. Abby has been working on cursive with him as well.
Percy started a formal math curriculum this summer, and is learning to read pretty much on his own steam because he won’t let Abby teach him from a textbook. Quite on his own he decided to start climbing the tree in our front yard. The one we named Grant Perseverance is turning into quite a confident adventurer.
I’ve enjoyed going through the Tuttle Twins books with them, which they really enjoyed. These are children’s books which distill the essence of a famous book about free market economics or liberty. I was really surprised how much the kids got out of them, and I suspect we’ll read them through again and understand them at a deeper level in the future. I also read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to them, which was so much fun that Percy decided he wanted that to be the theme of his 5th birthday party.
Abby had the idea this morning that since Percy is so adept at memorization and so oriented towards drama that she may try to get him to memorize some Shakespeare. We’ll see how that goes. I briefly tried to teach the boys how to do the Thriller dance, but I don’t think they had the attention span for it. We may revisit that later.
Speaking of dance, just a couple days ago Abby was asking the kids if they liked Ritz crackers, which led to her showing them a video of Fred Astaire’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” which led to canes being assembled out of Lego Technic pieces and ultimately this:
Exceptional children, indeed. 😉