This one’s for you, Silvia. Thanks for the nudge. 🙂
So, I have been thinking lately about balance. Those beautiful women, who went through Brandy’s Start Here discussing Charlotte Mason’s 20 Principles, have heard me mention balance over and over again. So, I suppose it is no surprise it is on my mind again.
Balance. A very, needed thing in my life – on many fronts. This time I am pondering balance as I consider our school plans for fall. I know it is important, not to overfill our days, even with good things. I have strived to allow time to ponder, time to be, for awhile now. That is not a new goal.
In early summer, I discovered the archives. I found the programmes and couldn’t help myself comparing what Charlotte scheduled in the different forms to what I schedule for my own children. Was I scheduling too many books? I have strived hard not to do so, and have sometimes painfully nipped and tucked at the planned books for the year. What I discovered is that my list did not look bigger than hers. If anything, it was smaller and did not cover as well the vast an array of subjects such as all the varied languages. In fact, there are things I could add, but all in all, I was satisfied that it was really pretty close.
So, if what I am scheduling is similar to what she did, then why do I feel we are out of balance? Why is this on my mind so much again? As I continued looking at her programmes and reading, I was struck anew that Charlotte used the entire day. Not everything scheduled on the programmes was done during the morning time tables. No wonder it doesn’t all fit! Some activities were specifically done in the afternoons, some left to evenings or free time, and some to Sunday reading. So I suppose it would be more accurate to say not only did Charlotte use the whole day she used the whole week. And when I go there naturally what follows is the realization that of course she used the whole of life.
Life should be all living. Vol. 3, p. 170 – emphasis mine.
None of this is actually new information to me, all except the knowledge that I am not actually trying to do more than she did. Then why do I feel out of balance? Well, I don’t think I use my whole day, my whole week, dare I say my whole life as Charlotte did. I have tried, but there is apparently more progress needed. I have tried to not speak as if there is a start and stop time for learning, for growing, and for living. But somehow this perception still creeps into my words, into my home, and into my life. I know a Charlotte Mason education is a life. For some time I have strived with Lister to implement Charlotte’s principles not “more or less” but “exactly.”
“I knew all this before and have always acted more or less on these principles”; and I can only point to the unusual results we obtain through adhering not ‘more or less,’ but strictly to the principles and practices I have indicated. I suppose the difficulties are of the sort that Lister had to contend with; every surgeon knew that his instruments and appurtenances should be kept clean, but the saving of millions of lives has resulted from the adoption of the great surgeon’s antiseptic treatment; that is from the substitution of exact principles scrupulously applied for the rather casual ‘more or less’ methods of earlier days.
Whether the way I have sketched out is the right and the only way remains to be tested still more widely than in the thousands of cases in which it has been successful; but assuredly education is slack and uncertain for the lack of sound principles exactly applied. Vol. 6, pgs.19-20 – emphasis mine.
I would like to think part of my struggle comes from living in a different place and time than did Charlotte. I’d like to think I have more distractions, more responsibilities, and that life moves at a faster pace. Surely, my life is busier. But is it really? I have had a chuckle several times while reading either the volumes or a Parent Review article and you would think it was written by someone living in today’s day and age with today’s struggles.
But regardless, I do have a need for more balance. I can feel it. My guess is my children can also feel it. What do I need to change? What is realistic? Schooling six days a week is not going to happen. Neither will read-alouds every night of the week. Nor will all electronics vacate the house, however much I sometimes wish they could. And I will soon have two teen-age drivers. But what can I do? What can I change?
While on this Charlotte Mason journey, I have learned that often it starts with me – my habits, my attitudes, my own learning and growth. So likely, my guess is that once again it will start with me. (And here I thought I was simply educating my children). 🙂
Tomorrow, I start out for the annual Living Education Retreat where I will meet with many like-minded educators and friends. I look forward to being encouraged, inspired, and refreshed. I also look forward to some time for reflection and quiet. I am ready for the waters to be stirred. I am so glad I am not in this educational journey alone! Instead, I have the Great Helper, the Great Teacher, who wants to come along side of me.
‘God doth Instruct.’ … Let this be the mother’s key to the whole of the education of each boy and each girl; not of her children; the divine Spirit does not work with nouns of multitude, but with each single child. Because He is infinite, the whole world is not too great a school for the indefatigable Teacher, and because He is infinite, He is able to give the whole of his infinite attention for the whole time to each one of his multitudinous pupils. We do not sufficiently rejoice in the wealth that the infinite nature of our God brings to each of us. Vol. 2, p.273