I remember the very first “F” I’ve ever gotten.
It was in Math. 12th grade. The first exam of the year. I had just missed an entire year of Math instruction in Germany because I was busy taking fun classes like “Life Sports” and “Psychology” at an American high school rather than worrying about Math. And, apparently, a couple of weeks of private tutoring is not quite enough to make up for a whole year of missing discussions on integral calculus and analyzing vectors. Go figure.
I also remember the second “F” I’ve ever gotten. It was last week. On a linguistics assignment.
Linguistics is the “scientific study of language and its structure, including the study of morphology, syntax, phonetics, and semantics.” It’s almost as complicated as it sounds. Taking the linguistics training here in Missouri has already taught me a lot, not just about how languages around the world function, but also about humility and what the training is all about (not grades, as you can guess).
With that being said, I wanted to give you, my faithful readers, a glimpse into what the life of a linguist-in-training and a stay-at-home-dad-of-two-wild-boys looks like these days:
7:45 AM — As part of our morning routine, John and the boys walk me down to my class every day, drop me off with kisses and hugs and a “You go to your school? I go to my school!” from Judah.
8 AM – 12 PM — Class time! Contrary to popular opinion, we do not learn actual languages in linguistics. We learn how to analyze them. Imagine this… you get to a remote tribe somewhere in Africa, where people speak a language that has never been written down (with clicks and tones and other sounds you didn’t even know existed). How do you get from that to a Bible translation people can read and use? That’s the process we spend all our time and brain power to learn: from the first transcriptions of words (Phonetics), to interpreting and analyzing all those sounds as to how they should be written and how the native speakers perceive them (Phonemics), to then creating an alphabet that is both true to the sounds of the language and easy to use (Orthography). A God-sized task, for sure!
12 PM – 1 PM — Lunch break! I rush home to see my boys and enjoy lunch with them (prepared by super-dad-and-super-chef John). Then I tuck them into bed for their naps, grab a cup of tea (or coffee, depending on the day), and head out the door again.
1 PM – 3:30 PM — In-class homework time for me. John has been very faithful in dedicating his free time in the afternoons to studying German (besides doing the dishes for the 5th time that day, of course). So we’re really both doing our own linguistic studies :).
3:30 PM — Time for a new family routine that started with some beautiful spring weather hitting Missouri every now and then for the last weeks. Running! John walks down to my classroom with the boys and we go on a run with the boys in their double stroller. Great way to get a brain break for me and some time outside the house for the boys.
5 – 7 PM — Dinner time, clean up time, book time, play time, bath time, bed time. We loooooooooove our early bed time for the boys :)!
7 PM — Homework again for me and time for John to do some more German or just crash on the couch exhausted from his full-time job. I average about 2-3 hours per night of homework and have only had 2 really late nights of finishing assignments. I expected worse :).
We’re so grateful for the very smooth transition we’ve had into this very new schedule. The most helpful thing was asking advice from other who’ve done it before us and creating a schedule that does not only keep John’s sanity while he’s at home but also allows us to have some quality time as a family. Is it stressful at times? Yes. Is it worth it? Totally.