Hoo! This week has just blown by, and I am not even sure why. It’s Thursday night already.
Our week got off to a very nice start — after learning to ride her bike Sunday Violet got up and asked to ride at 7:30 am Monday. Victoria and I washed and stemmed collard greens, washed grapes, and made spaghetti sauce while Violet did math and Chinese, and then Victoria and I sat outside and read and snacked and played together while we waited for Violet to finish.
I started reading Real Learning, which I am enjoying so far.
Foss repeats that central homeschool idea that homeschool is not “school-at-home” but a lifestyle where the environment fosters learning and allows education to take place naturally, with a minimum of artificial intervention. I think the Charlotte Mason phrase is “masterly inactivity” on the part of the parent? So far I am finding Foss’s iteration of these ideas more resonant with my life than others I have read. I look foward to going deeper into the book.
What I’ve really appreciated so far is the lack of emphasis on the mother working, working, working; teaching, teaching, teaching. Instead the ideas in the book will, I hope, help us with what I have been trying to do the last few months, which is to create a domestic dynamic in which we all have our activities that we are doing, side by side. I’m pleased that this comes somewhat naturally to us — Eggmaster and I love to read, write, play music, and do other activities that are not about entertaining children, so that our kids can take their place in this environment along with us.
I’m also on the lookout for what I am calling, in its Beta phase, our Spirit Table, which is kind of a mishmash of Waldorf, Montessori/Catechism of the Good Shepherd, and my own thoughts on how to create a visual, tactile reflection of our family spiritual life. I imagine it as a place for concretely representing the colors of various liturgical seasons, large and small feast days, and other Church symbolism, but also photos of people we want to pray for or remember (living or dead), seasonal natural items, and meaningful words or images from — no flaming now! — other spiritual traditions that are meaningful to people in our family. I need a little table just the right size to fit in the corner of our dining room, ideally with a shelf or two underneath to store fabrics, candles, and other items not in use. So, universe, I hope you are listening! More on this as it develops.
Right now Violet and Eggmaster are reading a new favorite, having finished all the Harry Potter books until July 21. I hope Eggmaster will be encouraged to pop on and tell the story of corresponding with Daniel Pinkwater as a young fan of his books, and as an adult fan, years later. They are going through Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars right now, and she is loving it. Nice and weird. If you don’t believe me, ask the Washington Post Book World, which says that “Daniel Pinkwater is so obviously the funniest writer of children’s books that he should be made a Living National Treasure.” I think the bright, HG, PG, and otherwise independent-minded kids out there would really like these books.