Saturday, December 10, 2016

Weekly Reflections - Week Thirteen....

At Home

Fall sure does provide us with some unique and beautiful sunsets!  The weather has since turned frightful. We are bracing for 4-7 inches of snow by morning. I was thankful to be snug inside today participating in IEW's Virtual Winter Retreat.  Andrew Pudewa was great as usual and overall the retreat was fabulous!

Riley and Ruben finished this semester of choir this week.  They put on a delightful concert Thursday evening.  Their hard work paid off. We now have a couple of months off before spring semester begins.

My CM Study Group met last night to discuss more of Consider This by Karen Glass. There were six of us in attendance and the conversation was great.  Earlier this week, I posted some thoughts on Chapter Two. I did get a bit behind on posting so coming soon, I have five more chapters read to share.

This week, Ruben said to me, "Mom, I'm doing a lot more reading and writing this year." He was proud and it was good for me to be reminded that even though we may not be on grade according to certain standards, he is right on track for where he is supposed to be.  Something I wrote in my notes during the retreat today was, "do not compare with other students of the same age - instead focus on progress they're making - no such thing as being behind unless you view education as a conveyor belt"....WOW, no conveyor belt thinking here, ahem, nothing like a good slap in the face to bring perspective!

Around the Web

Would an educational philosophy by any other name smell as sweet? by Brandy Vencel was an interesting read, which sparked some debate in the comments.  I happen to agree with Brandy in the fact that I would not limit myself to any one particular method/philosophy.  As Lisa A mentioned in the comments, "I don't like being put in a box". I'm too much of thinker for this, which ultimately is something I believe Charlotte would have agreed.

I do indeed hold a great respect for Charlotte Mason and her philosophy.  However, I am not Charlotte Mason and my circumstances are no where near hers. For one thing, I live 100 years later and the times are much different. For another, I am a homeschooling mother, balancing many roles within our family, not a single teacher.

With that said, I do practice many of Charlotte's methods in my homeschool.  I have read and studied her Volume 6, A Philosophy of Education, and agree with much of what she said.  However, I do not limit myself as I also study and read about other philosophies.  As was mentioned, mimicking Charlotte Mason alone is limiting.  Because Charlotte was progressive, I believe she would encourage us to continue moving forward, taking the best and making the rest better.

In A Study of Charlotte Mason's Books, Lisa Kelly shares thoughts on some of the books Charlotte used in her school for geography, history, and science. I used Charlotte's geography when the kids were young.  I was now particularly intrigued by the history books mentioned, most likely because it is a favorite subject of mine. I was able to find both history books mentioned free online as well as the zoology mentioned for science in order to take a peek.  I love the conversational tone, illustrations and margin notes in each book. I think Kelly brings up a good point about teacher prep and book choice.
With the exception of the book choices for history for the lower years, Charlotte Mason's history books are textbooks, but of another kind. In the end, it seems that the emphasis is on what the book offers over what category we place it. If we are preparing the readings and providing the student with a book that promotes interest and allows for narration, then we are meeting more of CM's educational principles than perhaps with other book choices.
We need not be afraid of textbooks, but rather diligent in our search for just the right textbook.

It's lovely to live on a raft.  We had the sky, up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made, or only just happened - Jim he allowed they was make but I allowed they happened; I judged it would have took too long to make so many.  Jim said the moon could a laid them; well, that looked kind of reasonable, so I didn't say nothing against it, because I've seen a frog lay most as many, so of course it could be done.  We used to watch the stars that fell, too, and see them streak down. Jim allowed they'd got spoiled and was hove out of the nest. (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Ch 19)
 But the worst of imagining things is that the time comes when you have to stop and that hurts. (Anne of Greene Gables by L.M. Montgomery, Ch 4)
Why must people kneel down to pray?  If I really wanted to pray I'll tell you what I'd do.  I'd go out into a great big field all alone or into the deep, deep woods, and I'd look up into the sky - up - up - up - into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness and then I'd just feel a prayer.  (Anne of Greene Gables by L.M. Montgomery, Ch 7)

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