At the L'Harmas retreat, Tammy Glaser did a demonstration lesson using "The Story of Grandpa's Sled and the Pig," from Little House in the Big Woods. In the book, Pa uses this family story not only to teach Laura to behave herself on Sundays, but to make the point that his Sabbath-keeping expectations are not nearly as strict as those of previous generations. In other words, she has it comparatively easy.
As do we, around here, in homeschooling. Non-homeschoolers are downright shocked when I tell them that no, we don't have to send in curriculum reports or have our children write standardized tests. In Ontario, it's more than enough to just send in names and ages. That's good for personal liberty, and I wouldn't have it otherwise, but it can be risky for the parents' self-discipline. There is very little accountability to anyone outside the family.
"What Mary does shows intelligence and pleasure in her work; but then she has done so little. She has only attempted one-third of the questions, and, even so, two of her answers are incomplete." "She does not know as much as Bessie?" "She knows six times as much. I believe she could have answered every question had she been able to pull herself together and get the work done in the time." ~~ Charlotte Mason, "The Parents' Review School," in the Parents' Review, Volume 2, 1891/92, pg. 308-317And Ambleside Online, being a resource, a project, and a community, but not an umbrella school, has no authority either, if one-third or two-thirds of the exam questions get answered, or if the nature notebook stays empty. It's up to the teaching parent. Charlotte Mason conceived the "Parents' Review School" as a means of increasing accountability and discipline in home schools, and AO functions as that for us, to some extent. But when some of what should be done, doesn't get done, what then? And how does a parent know how much to push? To require? How does one actually get Mary to work up to Bessie's example?
"But while we all think that our parents and guardians made gross mistakes with us, and that our turning out so well is entirely due to our superior natural dispositions, we fancy that our children at least will have no cause to complain of their training, and no pretext for making their forbears accountable for their failings and follies." ~~ Mrs. Ward, "'Grit,' Or Raising and Educating our Children," in The Parents' Review,Volume 2, no. 2, 1891/92, pg. 49Well, first off we want to be examples of what we expect. Why should we require self-discipline from our children but not from ourselves?
But if it's up to the students to learn good habits and eventually practice the Way of the Will (CM's theory of self-discipline), how do we get them there?
Maybe we start with a story.
Another Treehouse post you might like: Get Some Grit.)