Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yes, I'm here...and some CM thoughts

We have simply been busy with the daily round at the Treehouse, besides taking care of a couple of Squirrels who haven't been feeling well this week. Mama Squirrel's online time has also been taken up with working through last week's emails and working on some curriculum-related stuff. So the blog has been a bit quiet.

Our fall homeschool is starting to work itself out into the things that fit well, the things we're still figuring out, and the one or two things that obviously weren't going to fit in once we got going on our days. Over the past month or so, Mama Squirrel has had her mind back on Charlotte Mason's books and some of her "big ideas," because even when you think you have things the way they should be, there's always room to rearrange, shift focus, use things differently. For CM homeschoolers, the rut we often get into--even after only a few weeks of school--is turning everything into a book lesson. The challenge is to keep the big wonderful world close at hand, and to get out into it whenever possible, especially these days when the sun is still beautiful in the afternoons. And to remember that there are doll clothes to be made, games to be played, music to be listened to, nature walks to take, and that even subjects like French and history can benefit by an occasional change of scenery.

Especially when you're tired from a morning of teaching (she says to herself), it's easy to figure that you're done for the day, and it is true that (in CM terms) children should have enough freedom to amuse themselves for periods of time without the parents directing their play or hobbies...but a bit of extra effort to fill in the spaces around the books seems to set the whole thing into a more beautiful frame. Schedule in the hands-on, ears-on, feet-on, tasting-on if you have to, but make it happen. Use what's around you, go outside, do whatever you can to make learning real...then, strangely enough, the book lessons seem to come more alive as well.

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