Awaking in Rome

My younger son performed his filial duty of waking mom at 6:30 this morning. Earlier than I would have liked, given some insomnia last night, but later than other awakenings. He’s 7 and wakes with fear, sure something is under the edge of the bed or peering down from the empty top bunk, ready to, well, I don’t really know what. He won’t move til I’m there but will yell from under the covers should I try to pretend his holler was a dream. Once I arrive, he creeps out from his covers and changes his jammies, a necessary action when you aren’t yet dry at night and your pj pants are a bit damp despite precautions.

Within two minutes, he’s snuggled up next to me, allergic-kid morning breath paired with the softest skin on earth, all warmth and love. Before I can revel in the moment, I’m barraged with the history of ancient Rome, his current passion. “Mom, did you know why Hannibal chose elephants when attacking Rome in the Punic Wars? Do you thing it would be worse to be a slave or a gladiator?”

I’m still trying to maintain a position of sleep, closed eyes and all, but he’s warmed to his subject and oblivious to my fatigue. “Will you read me some history, Mom?” he queries.
I give up on sleep, accept the Usborne History Encyclopedia he offers, and find Rome. Again. We’ve read these sections before and will read them again. He reads them to himself, but nothing’s better than hearing them aloud. As we read, I pause periodically to make a comment or listen to his consolidation of information. He makes new connections every time we go through these pages, and it’s fascinating to listen to his ponderings and conclusions. It’s a privileged view into his incredible brain at work as well as a view of history through the eyes of a child.

These moments are homeschooling at its best. Curiosity aroused about Rome two years prior (when we were actually studying Rome as a family) returns. With much more history under his belt, he has new ways to look at Caesar, Octavian, and Hannibal. His view of the world, two years older, allows him to turn the history around and around, mixing it with all he’s experienced since he’s last played with that part of the past.

I know this affair with Rome won’t last forever, but I’m just as certain this interest will return down the road, taking on the shades of knowledge not yet acquired and life not yet lived. And I’m hoping to awaken in Rome with him, although maybe just a bit later in the day.

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