My Homeschool Journey Part 3
Our mother gave several talks at our church about homeschooling and child training. She began homeschooling in 1986 with a daughter beginning 4th grade and a son in 1st grade. Mom ended her homeschooling teaching in 2002 with 16 years of experience under her belt. She was a wonderful teacher because she loved to learn herself and was willing to admit to mistakes and try to change those things for the better. We will miss having her here with us to ask advice on raising our own families. We are grateful she wrote some of her thoughts down. This is part three of her story.
Before we go to the last part of Charlotte’s motto for education, I must tell you of her love for God’s Creation. She included in the children’s education Nature Studies. Nature Study is not just another subject to study with your children. Nature Study is the greatest means to get to know God!
One of the things that Charlotte Mason felt was necessary for ALL children was plenty of time out of doors. She felt that children needed several hours outside each and every day! This time was spent doing the things that cannot be done inside…..explore, climb trees, watch clouds, learn about weather, collect nature (rocks, flowers, leaves, etc.) watch animals, hunt tracks, learn natural geography and so on. Keeping a natural study notebook is more than making entries to fill up a book. Getting close to nature helps children to get in touch with God’s Creation. They are able to see, feel question, think, observe first-hand the marvels of God’s Creation!
You can incorporate hymns of nature, poetry that illustrates the beauty of God’s creation through the beauty of well-chosen words, paintings and so forth.
I can tell you from my own experiences that God has taught me many things from observing His Creation. Most of you know that I am a grandmother and my grandson just turned one. For some time now, I will have him look outside while I ask him if he sees the trees blowing in the wind. I tell him that God says He is in and through all things and we are reminded of that when we hear the wind. He knows that there is something special to this by the enthusiasm in my voice.
Education is life. One of the most surprising elements for me to discover in our home schooling journey is that real life goes on! No matter how much attention you give to your home schooling studies, you will have temptations, trials and it’s all in the midst of doing good for the Lord. I believe that we are to wholeheartedly embrace the work for the Lord he has called us to do even when life looks so very bleak.
I would like to share some personal moments in my journey. When we first began to home school my parents were not supportive of our decision. They didn’t like it at all. They didn’t give us outward problems but neither did they give any encouragement. I think they thought it would probably just go away. Well, several years into our schooling I thought of an idea and I asked my Dad if he would teach Jason some carpentry and I asked my Mother to teach the girls some crafts. My parents embraced the idea with enthusiasm. I can tell you that looking back at that time was the turning point for my parents support. I have given it a lot of thought lately and was delighted to discover how much God spoke on the topic of Grandparents. I know that some of you have parents or family members that are totally unsupportive of your decision to home school. I would suggest that you pray about this and possibly attempt to find things of value your parents could bring to your children’s lessons of life. Grandparents can provide dimensions of purpose in life, seriousness and stability that only come with age. Perhaps if they see a purpose in your own journey of educating your children they can be a blessing to you.
Education is life was sent to us in the form of illness. When my youngest daughter was 11, I became extremely sick with lupus. I have many, many testimonies in the journey of being chronically ill. But I did want to share that because I had already implanted the educational teachings of Charlotte Mason into our lessons, we had established methods of learning that would help our children and I in. I had many days spent in bed but my children would bring their lesson books to the bed, and we would have discussions on what I expected from them that day. They were able to give me oral narrations, read aloud to me and many other treasured moments in our home schooling.
I use to fret a lot over the gaps that would be in our schooling because of my illness. I would like to share something with you.
You see this basket:
These thoughts came to me the other day. The basket is woven and I think this basket can be an example of the life of your child. See the lines going this way…..this is the relationship your child has with God, learning of his ways, reading the Scriptures and learning how to apply them to their life. They learn to have a servants heart and how to dwell peaceably with their siblings, their parents.
The rows going this way I think of the practical life skills they will learn. How to read, how to communicate through their writings or in talking, learning math, science, history, and all the topics of learning they will encounter.
Do you see how you cannot have one without the other? Our lives, your children’s lives need both to become a wholehearted child of God. But I see something. I see gaps. I believe that is the faith that is required to allow the Holy Spirit to move in us, to teach us all things and it will take all of our appointed days on this earth God gives us to become what He wants us to be. Please do not think you have to teach your child every single topic available by the time they are through with their schooling with you.
It has been a joy to prepare for this talk and I hope I have brought you encouragement, and enthusiasm for the task before you in discipling and nourishing your children.
I will end with these words:
“It is well we should recognize that the business of education is with us all our lives, that we must always go on increasing our knowledge.”