Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Changing Landscape - Growing in Distance

The Voyage of Life - Youth by Thomas Cole, 1842

As we head past the transition between my reading most of the books to my oldest daughter and her reading her own school books - which happened progressively during YR4 & YR5 - I found myself a little sad at the prospect of her reading her own books; ones I'd never read, without me. I know some moms do, but I don't keep up with all her readings and I realized she is in uncharted territory and I'm not right next to her reading along like I used to be - the landscape is changing.

She still narrates to me for school, (sometimes if I'm not available she'll narrate to her little sister) and writes out her narrations a couple times a week. And we do still read together - this term we are reading the Iliad most days and Shakespeare and Plutarch on Fridays with her YR4 brother. But it isn't the same as reading with her.

I now spend most of that same time I used to spend with her, sharing readings with my YR4 son - The Incredible Journey, George Washington's World, Abigail Adams - he reads a paragraph, I read a paragraph, and teaching my six-year-old daughter to read. I've ditched the dry phonics books this time around and am so happy to be over that hump in my homeschooling career. We also have our almost three-year-old who joins in the mix at every turn of the day.

What I've found now on this side of the transition with my oldest is that, while it is a little sad not to be reading all of her books with her, it's a whole new enjoyable season. The books she reads and the ideas she gains from them are not unknown to me as I expected. Rather, they are the substance of the many conversations we have together throughout the day - in the car, during meals, sitting on the couch at night; she shares her thoughts, ideas, and opinions with us.

There is interest, curiosity, awe, humor, indignation, and living thoughts forming about all the things that go on around her and in her books, and there are poems about wanting her cat to sleep on the other side of the bed. What I thought would turn into a sort of distancing between us at this point has instead grown into a new, even more rewarding companionship. She is turning out to be a companion of the most interesting and wholly living sort, and we are so grateful for the living ideas that have fed this amazing person and helped form this rewarding relationship we are blessed to have with her.

While I do look enviously at her carrying her stack of books to go read - Galileo, Story of the Romans, The Sea Around Us, David Livingstone - as I change another diaper and read through Minn of the Mississippi for the second time, I am thankful for this new season and recall the advice a friend told us once a long time ago, "Your kids are going to be older, a lot longer than they are younger."

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Magnanimous Way of Living

Do you ever find the truths behind the Charlotte Mason method peering at you in your books through the lives of others? I do. They really aren't her truths after all, she herself would say so; they were, and always will be, His truths.

"Shelley offers us the key to education when he speaks of 'understanding that grows bright gazing on many truths.'" ~Vol. 6, p.157

Here are a couple that caught my attention this week...

"'Green, green forest stretching as far as the eye can see on three sides, rising in mighty billows up the mountains, leaving bare only the rocky tops; high climbing, low dipping forest. A valley, like the trough of the wave of forest green.... In front the trees drop sharply down, like a cliff dropping to the sea, the green, green sea of the forest.' And the pool, the joy of their ravine, 'jade-green, clear, wonderful water-green, and when the angels are in a very kind mood they send a blue kingfisher to fish there. Then the pool is something quite too lovely for this everyday earth, and sets one thinking what the pools must be amog the green woods of Paradise. Then, too, it is deep, deep enough for diving, and its floor of clean white sand, the powdered dust of mountains. In this pool we, the holiday children and whoever is up with them, daily turn into water-babies.... If you have troubles, the pool washes them off. Worries are just kissed away.'" ~A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael

"I did not come to Schlonwitz in a glad or hopeful frame of mind.... but then everything turned out quite different from what I had feared. Instead of entering the stuffy world of theological bigotry, I found myself in one which combined much of what I loved and needed, clear theological work in companionship with others, who never let one be wounded by feeling one's own incompetence, but who made the work a joy; brotherhood under the Word which united us all without respect of person; and at the same time an appreciation of all that gives charm to the fallen creation; music, literature, sport and the beauty of the earth; a magnanimous way of living..." ~one of Bonhoeffer's ordinands in Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

And last but not least, I love this quote posted by Brandy on the AO FB page this week:

"Another writes: 'On my arrival at Ambleside I was interviewed by Miss Mason who asked me for what purpose I had come. I replied: "I have come to learn to teach." Then Miss Mason said: "My dear, you have come here to learn to live."'" ~Essex Cholmondley in The Story of Charlotte Mason

Living truths. For ours and the children's sake.