This summer I had the enormous pleasure and privilege to find myself stateside in attendance of several Charlotte Mason retreats, with some shopping and visits on the side. How kind and longsuffering my husband is to have taken care of things back home in Peru so I could have a couple of weeks of ‘mommy break’ as he calls it!
Among the interesting gems I have laid hold of this summer are: the importance of the manual hand work of Sloyd in early education; the place and importance of Mathematics, as well as it’s proper instruction; and how to take Science out of the box even in the upper years, getting the student to ask the questions. And perhaps outstanding amongst the others, the idea of being fully present and living fully wherever one is, also struck home once again.
Throughout my travels while ingesting all of these ideas about education, I was also taking in How Should We Then Live by Francis Schaeffer via audiobook. It was a perfect compliment to everything I was learning and a book I think every thinking Christian in our day should read or re-read soon.
Along that line of thinking, perhaps the most important thing I’ve come again to realize throughout these summer weeks is, amongst the pieces of this fragmented society and culture we live in, we and our children are integrated wholes. We and they function best when we promote that idea of wholeness.
Education is not just a boatload of subject areas. It’s not a schedule full of time slots to be filled. Nor are our children designed to have only one or two special lifelong interests (science & math, sports, literature & writing, or what have you). But they should be acquiring wide and varied knowledge about God, man, and the universe by means of a generous curriculum.
“What is the proper food of mind, has already been discussed but we may assume that education should make our boys and girls rich towards God (we remember the fool of the parable who failed because he was not ‘rich towards God’), rich towards society and rich towards themselves” (Mason, vol. 6, pg. 282).
Not only in education, but in life, we need to care for the whole person. Life in this fast-paced, technology sodden, fragmented society will not naturally nourish our souls, it will bankrupt them. We have to break out of the mindset of the world today and live purposefully, beautifully and richly within our set number of days. Our children’s education will only benefit from that.
While we care for our little persons, we must remember to care for our own persons.
To keep spiritually fresh, physically fit, emotionally healthy, all of these things will help us BE better so that we can teach our children more effectively. We recognize that God is still in the business of growing us as we grow our children. We experience and give grace. We teach and are taught.
“But once the intimate relation, the relation of Teacher and taught in all things of the mind and spirit, be fully recognised, our feet are set in a large room; there is space for free development in all directions, and this free and joyous development, whether of intellect or heart, is recognised as a Godward movement” (Mason, vol. 2, pg. 276).
So, these are just a few of the things I have been and will continue to mull over in these recent weeks.
What grand or simple ideas have you laid hold of this summer?
© Amy Tuttle 2013