There is no doubt that I miss my Humanities classes from last year. They will always be extra special to me because they were my first classes in the new program. They suffered with me through the really dark days and they made those same days bright inside my classroom. I am thoroughly enjoying my new classes as well. When we started out the year I knew more what to expect; I told them we would grow we grow to be like family and we have. I have a ball with my freshmen.
Last year I had a hard time getting my freshmen to talk. It seemed like it took forever for them to loosen up. Once they did, we had some great discussions and some real fun together. This class, though, had no problem talking from the get go–getting them to hush is more of an issue. They are an interesting group. I think the fact that we now have a humanities approach in the middle school helped. Last year they had an opportunity to learn to discuss, debate and analyze. Their teachers did a great job and it shows. They are, as a whole, very good writers and they understand what I think is pretty difficult literature without much explanation.
We have read Beowulf, Song of Roland, and Murder in the Cathedral so far. They make it fun by really getting into it. A new thing we are doing this year is called a Big Question Essay. For each work of literature they read, they write an essay in answer to a question that goes along with it. These have been pretty heavy questions. One question involved discussing the difference between justice and revenge. We also wrote about whether pride should play a role in heroism and discussed what pride is. Is all pride bad? We discuss before they write and we look at scriptures that apply. It’s pretty heady stuff.
In between we have a lot of fun. My freshmen always make me smile. They are fun and talented. How many people can stand a lolly pop up on the edge of it’s cellophane wrapper? One of my freshman can!
They seem genuinely happy to be in high school. When we have special days, like we did before Christmas, or during spirit week, they participate enthusiastically. Here’s a picture of some of our feet on Silly Christmas Sock Day.
My freshmen are also creative. They did some really beautiful illuminated manuscripts when we studied monasticism, and sometimes they make things voluntarily just to make me happy. A couple of my boys started making me a whole paper army of French Crusaders and “Paynims” when we were studying Song of Roland and the Crusades. I keep them on my desk and they make me smile. They are my own personal knights in shining armor and they chase away my blues.
Because we are on a rotating schedule, I don’t have my freshmen on Friday. I have to go from Thursday afternoon all the way to Monday morning without seeing them. Freshmen-less Fridays are just not as bright and cheerful as other days. I miss my Fantastic Freshmen.