|midnight at the LER – see the big dipper? (Matthew Baerbock – photo)|
Are you busy planning your school year? I am. I will have 4 in 4 different levels. Yes, it takes some work to get it all together, but it’s fun and I like to plan. I am often asked about how I go about teaching (insert subject here). What resources can I share? How do you plan different kids in different years? What do I think of such-and-such, etc. As many are feeling overwhelmed and going under, may I offer a word of advice? Try and remember that the thing is the thing.
What I mean by that is that a relational education using Mason’s methods is not about the little projects, extra workbooks, cute resources, supplemental dvds, perfect schedules and charts, and the like. For instance, for composer study, just pick a composer and choose a cd. Maybe a living book for biographical information. Why? Because the music is what you want to build a relationship with. It’s about the music. History? A FEW good living books and maybe some maps will do. Why? It’s about enjoying the pageant and building a relationship with a character and the time period. Sometimes the nifty extras can stand between the child and the thing you are trying to instill a love for in him. Poetry? Just read the poetry from a poet. The poetry is the thing, not the coloring page. The thing is the thing.
In When Children Love to Learn, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay relates another example –
Some well-meaning persons read about Charlotte Mason and decided it was a “good thing to study art” – to make it a part of the curriculum. Beautiful art reproductions were made available. These are wonderful, but the course that goes with them gets in the way. The living wonderful gift of art is spoiled by making it into one more lesson, textbook fashion. The children and teenagers who take this course may pass a test, but rarely will a love affair grow between the child and the art. They must learn more facts, more lists, and never fall in love (as it were) with the pictures that speak strongly to them. (p. 42)
|studying Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam|
The Charlotte Mason method is so very different in so many ways – even, I think, in how one goes about preparing lessons for the school year. It stands to reason, doesn’t it? And if it is that different, in what ways would the planning of the year be different? Because we teach from flowing streams, our planning should be full of ideas and life – not checklists and strife. They are watching us, even in our planning.
Resources are good – I know that. I also appreciate the way many share them so freely – Ambleside Online comes to mind – but be wary of taking in everything everyone suggests. It should be a beautiful and rich love affair with learning. Just remember the thing is the thing.
From joy to joy,
I Thessalonians 4:11 – to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands…
|Bobby Jo’s wall hanging|