In her talk about habits at the LER this year, Marcia Mattern said that Charlotte Mason recommended moms keep 4 things to stay afresh. Self-culture, needlework, exercise and a commonplace book. Marcia also showed us her Book of Industry in which older students would keep track of learning the tasks needed to run a home.
Marcia's kids began with a list of 10 breakfasts, lunches and dinners they would learn to cook.
My kids are young and not ready to keep track of recipes just yet.
But, helping mom in the kitchen is the precursor to future household industry.
Marcia's blog linked above has a copy of her family's book of industry if you are interested.
Above we're making Cheeseburger Quiche again; its a favorite here.
Here's the recipe we use minus the crust.
A very awesome friend let my boys and I pick her cherry tree one steamy afternoon.
This is my first time ever cooking with fresh homegrown cherries.
What else to make but pie! Not very THM, but SO fresh and crumbly drippy perfect.
Plus 3 little jars of pie filling canned for later.
Bacon Cucumber Tomato Salad -- a quick lunch for mom
A weekend set apart for retreat is so so good,
for a refreshing focused look at the work ahead, parenting and educating.
This beautiful mess of parenting can be all consuming to those well-intentioned. Being so focused on doing our best can often catch us unaware. Like Jason Fiedler said in his plenary session, he was just working on making tree houses for his kids' gifts and something bigger than he realized was calling for his attention. It took him a little before he realized more fully what was landing in his lap. But even though education is not a job that can be reduced to its essentials and even though the result may be unknown, we can rest knowing we may not be meant to know. But God knows and is with us and is enough. Jason's honest snapshot is refreshing.
A few summers ago I first read about what Charlotte Mason calls The Great Recognition, a huge mural painted on the wall and ceiling of an Italian chapel that greatly confirmed to Mason that her theological insights on education were more widely supported than she first may have thought. Like so many who are happily reading along in her volume and come to that part, I had this ah-ha! moment as I felt her excitement leap off that page written around a hundred years ago. I was being introduced to this deeply inspiring idea that the Holy Spirit is above me as the supreme educator of my kids. And my role as parent and teacher is
to stand nearby as helper (or hinderer.)
This daily impacts life, home, and education.
So, at this year's retreat I especially appreciated Art's break down of the painting which he has been blessed enough to view twice in real life. In his session he asked another of his ever thoughtful questions of Mason's ideas on The Great Recognition saying, Yes, this sounds awesome, but how true is this idea? He proceeded to take us through Bible references and scholarly quotations and chronologically through Mason's writings breaking down the Great Recognition into its 3 main ideas. 1. The Holy Spirit is the supreme educator 2. of things spiritual and natural and that 3. there is co-operation with the human teacher and the divine. The bottom line of this deeper look helped me understand that The Holy Spirit is intimate with knowledge, and every fruitful idea comes from Him. It is His role to draw us to Christ. And when we learn about these subjects, spiritual or natural, we are drawn closer to Christ. I am looking forward to re-reading Mason's words in the book that was unveiled at the retreat. It pairs the painting with a few texts that explain the theological insights, from Charlotte Mason and John Ruskin.
The many aspects (how and when and where) of this idea are worth meditating on.
"The LORD of Heaven's Armies is a wonderful teacher, and gives ... great wisdom."
Isaiah 28:29 NLT
Morning Meditations at the retreat are not to be missed. I made note of a few worded gems.
Listen, don't look back, be not afraid.
Sing in the face of ill.
Send our roots rain.
Call the Sabbath your delight.
My vocation = a call to worship, prayer, in the small now of our present lives.
Retreat- a going to, letting go of assumptions, holy, set apart for work to do,
to wrestle with the holy we put off. Trapped into retreat. Never to walk the same again.
As I look back over my notes from the weekend, these phrases stand out:
Be process focused not product focused.
Allow rest time before narration. Not always immediate. Let them formulate the thoughts!
Motivation: If they don't learn it, they won't know it.
We are to educate like princes- to know a little of everything.
20% of our calorie intake goes to our brain. It's always forming new pathways. Habit formation will help or hinder a child's unique given nature. Visualize new habits. Think like this: If I do xyz first, then I will get to do xyz later.
Light touch. Sincere words. Have no anxiety.
My ideas are worth risking.
Earliest narrations may be the point at which memory begins.
Audiotape kids narrating and let them listen to themselves to enhance narrations.
Encourage children's sense of place- "I know this land and I'm connected to it."
Don't let frustration override wonder.
Establish roots. Teach model inspire. Watch for opportunities to give grace.
Share the sorrow of a child's poor choice.
We need the discipline of failure as well as of success.
I am made for Sabbath rest.
The depth in this way of educating carries great weight and meaning.
I love hearing people's thoughts on it.
These are some of the phrases I heard from those attending as the weekend transpired.
"Charlotte Mason gave me permission to do all these things I knew in my soul.
It filled in all these blanks."
"This is almost too beautiful to trust."
"It has changed me/ our family."
"This is richer than anything I'd been able to provide my students."
One of the secrets of the educator is to present nothing as stale knowledge,
but to put himself in the position of the child, and wonder and admire with him.
Charlotte Mason (1.54)
In this field small efforts are honorured with great rewards,
and we perceive that the education we are giving exceeds all that we intended or imagined.
Charlotte Mason (3.163)
I'm looking forward to attending the Living Education Retreat this weekend, and catching up with some lovely people. This will be only my second time attending as a guest, and I'm looking forward to a time of refreshment, beauty, and inspiration!
I am the light of the world...
I am the living water....
This is the tale of the Dragon's tongue beans.
The boys got these Powerful Plants Dragon's Tongue and Spinach seeds packages in their Easter baskets. We planted them today as our handcraft for school. Then we went to the website on the bean package and downloaded the free app. When you hold your device's camera over the seed package the character on the front comes alive! and tells you all about planting your bean, its history, and ideas on how to use your future harvest. My kids thought it was the coolest thing!
After watching the spinach man, we had to check out a Popeye cartoon. It featured Hercules, who we heard about in The Heroes book which we just finished for school. And Hercules smelled garlic to increase his strength, and we are growing garlic for the first time in our garden this year too!! We also had on today's reading schedule the Gifts chapter from Parables of Nature in which the garden seedlings have a little dispute and ponder life's meanings. It was a fun loop of Divine intervention today that I did not plan for. I have not preread any of our school books so far so I really love it when this kind of thing happens effortlessly!
Talking dragons, cartoons, gardening and good stories. A fun school day indeed!
From our bedtime story:
"In the little room at the top of the tower moonlight and firelight mingled
their silver and gold, and Maria smiled as she slept."
The Little White Horse
I could not be so sure of spring, save that it sings in me.
Even the children's voices, telling of their close understanding
and feeling for Nature, had a soothing quality.
Lois Lenski, Prairie School
"Then it is the brave man chooses..."
"..to side with truth is noble..."
"New occasions teach new duties..."
from this term's hymn- Once To Every Man and Nation
If you will go with us, you must go against the wind and tide...
you must also own Religion in his rags, as well as when in his silver slippers; and stand by him, too, when bound in irons, as well as when he walketh the streets with applause.
I tried some new herbs last year in my garden as well as some old faithfuls.
Sage, cilantro, lavendar, parsley, thyme, stevia, apple mint, oregano, basil and purple basil, dill...
Making stevia powder was my favorite new attempt.
This week I was finally ready to dive in and try something with my powdered stevia!
"I am recording this so that future generations will also praise the Lord for all He has done." -Psalm 102:18
I am a mama to 2 sweet brothers who aspires to a "thinking love" toward my children.
Take a peek into our journey towards a living education inspired by the writings of Charlotte Mason.
Be sure to leave me a comment if you're inspired!
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Librivox free audio books
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"In this field small efforts are honoured with great rewards, and we perceive that the education we are giving exceeds all that we intended or imagined.”
“It may be that the souls of all children are waiting for the call of knowledge to awaken them to delightful living.”