charlotte mason, homeschooling

Renewed Love

I want to thank NANCY for her generosity, for being there for friends when we need her, and for the renewed love for Charlotte Mason she has helped me regain this homeschooling season.

After seven years of reading and writing mainly from theory about homeschooling and Charlotte Mason, I can say I’m now in complete love and amazement of what an education at home guided by the Scriptures and Miss Mason’s principles can start to look at and be. And this is only the beginning.

Nancy says that if you are looking for advanced academics, CM is not your choice. The academics will come too, but it’s not just that, if you chose this path, in her words: CM will take them just as far academically, but more importantly they (the children) will love learning and CARE about many things. 

My oldest daughter just turned six, and that magical time has come. She is reading, she is reading in Spanish and English. I’m not saying this with the pride of a mom whose daughter excels. We simply have two languages at home. To me two languages don’t mean increased chances of enrolling into a “prestigious” university, two languages mean our life as immigrants, as grandparent-less children, about physical family away, no talks with the lights off under the bed with grandma…but two languages they have, and in two languages they talk, and now read. She is now enjoying listening to readings from books with scarce or no pictures. And I feel a knot in my stomach,  I suddenly realize that I have been pretty stupid, so guilty of not having had faith. I’ve worried, stressed, doubted, and doubted, stressed, and worried a bit more. I could see her getting there, making progress, but to my greedy eyes that was too little, not enough for my ego. I look down, Lord, it was never about me. She is yours. I’m resolved to do better.

Philippians 4:6 (New King James Version):  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. This is very familiar to all of us, but it’s about time I not only quote but apply it.

Less is more. No need for long days indoors when the weather is gorgeous. No need to be in a race to finish everything in a day when we are working meaningfully and diligently, even if we are focusing on a couple of things alone. Time flies, and as they grow their diet of readings, narration, subjects, ans workload will increase, and it is NOW when we need to still have that carefree childhood we all need (moms too!) We are enjoying our days with plenty time outdoors, looking at God’s Creation, singing, dancing, reading and talking about the Bible, sharing meals, praying, drawing, cleaning and acquiring other habits, and we have started to incorporate narrations into our days.

Our small steps into NATURE STUDY are also giving fruits. We are noticing insects, birds, leaves…I’m learning more than them, they are even drawing at least once a week some of our findings. That small bug box is one of the best investments…it was actually a present from someone dear who knows we would like to catch and release small creatures. I stopped pushing and started doing what I was pushing them to do. Now they are the ones who tell me and show me what they find. A hawk flying in the distance, a yellow butterfly, a katydid seen alone in the park the same as the one we saw with Miss Heather. And my three year old informs me that ducks eat bread and seaweed. Is seaweed tasty? I ask. Not for us, but for the ducks it is, mom. They are very small, simple and marvelous conversations that I tuck in my heart.

Click to read their tales

We have four volumes with the whole Grim Brothers tales in Spanish. We are reading one a day mostly every day of the week. My oldest daughter goes inside her little tykes car and says, “bye, I’m going to my next class”. She arrives at the picnic table again. I say, tell me about The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids, and she replies, “but come to that spot so I can tell you about it”. We sat in their small trampoline, the sun is beaming again, and the black plastic is hot, but I’m in heaven, she is telling me a story that is the best version you could ever hear of that old tale….Is it true that chalk makes your voice softer, different?, she asks, I think so, although I’m not sure about it, I reply, but I venture that I know it’s not safe to eat chalk (I remember if you do that you can get a fake fever, but I keep that information for another time 😉

And we read about Jacob and Esau, and we see how Jacob, as the cunning wolf, disguises himself as someone he is not. We discuss lies, birthrights (I can see that concept flying over her head as the hawk she saw before). Were they bad? Why did Rebekah lie too? Are they in heaven now? My oldest asks if Jacob also wore a wig (she was looking at a picture in our children’s Bible). No, it doesn’t say he used a wig, just that he wore his brother’s clothes and some goat skin on his throat and over his arm to appear hairy as Esau. We read at the margin about lentils. We eat lentils, I didn’t like them as a child but my girls do. “Lentejas, comida de viejas, si quieres las comes y si no las dejas” (Lentils, old women food, if you want you eat them if you don’t you leave them).

She reads Small Pig by Arnold Lobel. We stop at the middle. It’s long for a new reader. I tell her something naughty with the word “coop”. We laugh. She practices handwriting with an easy book that I wanted her to do forever and it was the wrong time. Now she loves writing the letters, she always asks which one I like the best. The timer is set to five minutes, she goes over a couple more. We bring up the math. MEP year 1, lesson 29. She can do it, but it’s getting a bit hard. I’m thinking we’ll put a stop and continue with the games and oral lessons. She loves to play with numbers and invent and solve oral problems. I don’t want her stuck in something that it’s getting too challenging. Less is more.

Stories about children from other lands

We read Stories about children from other lands (similar to Children from other Lands which is non fiction). This one is a collection of stories from other places. Yesterday we read the King of the Sharks, that happened in Hawaii, and today she was thinking about it. “Mom, was the King of Sharks a shark too?” “Do sharks eat other sharks? Little sister interjects…NO, they eat fish. In the non fiction book they say that children of the South Pacific Islands eat eel. She got Pass the Celery, Ellery, and she saw an eel. I’m fascinated by the magic of the connections that come our way so spontaneously.

Our English reading is the story of The German Cuckoo Maker. I’m surprised at how much math it contains. She asks about Germany. Is it in the other book? Her mind is racing to find out information about Germany. The math lesson tomorrow will be around this, I’m thinking out loud. Would you like to make a cuckoo clock with a box, and a bird for it? YES, she says with excitement. We’ll see. I’m thinking we will make this WOODPECKER. I know they’d like it.

Close to two hours have passed. Lunch and then getting ready to go skating. Our prayers and thoughts are now busy with a baby who had botulism and who is having a difficult recovery, and about an elderly friend who is going through special hardships. Tomorrow I’m going to a Bible teaching workshop at our church building, and dad will take them to a local Tea Party (yes, we are that type of family 😉 I thank the Lord for the beauty, the simplicity, the amazing experience of watching and listening to children when they learn with love.



5 thoughts on “Renewed Love”

  1. Oh, Silvia,
    What an encouragement YOU are! Thank you for the kind words. What a beautiful work you are doing with your family. How wonderful to see that “the science of relations” is coming together for your daughters – it's exciting, isn't it? I like this line, “I stopped pushing and started doing what I was pushing them to do.” CM thought this was so important and had her teachers “do” everything they would require of the students. There's a real key in that. Thank you for sharing your journey. I learn so much from you and others like you.


  2. Wonderful post, Silvia, and just as thoughtful as usual. I've been wondering about some of our choices this year, and you've given me food for thought.


  3. All I can say is YES! I'm so happy for you!! 🙂

    These days you've described are what it's all about and it all sounds absolutely delightful! Yay!!

    My Bria started off reading in both too. I was relaxed and though she wasn't reading both at an early six, she certainly was by almost seven. I too was SO proud, and baffled! I didn't realize it could be so easy! Well, you know my story 😉

    It's fun to be on this journey with you 🙂

    amy in peru


  4. Ellen, while I'm not “officially” on the AO curriculum, I'm experiencing lots of freedom to make my picks, at the same time having a framework for your picks such as AO is great. I guess we have to keep making our own choices or substitutions, and that's the hard (but rewarding) part of thinking about this process.

    Ditto, Amy, it's so much fun to be in this journey with you.


  5. Ellen, while I'm not “officially” on the AO curriculum, I'm experiencing lots of freedom to make my picks, at the same time having a framework for your picks such as AO is great. I guess we have to keep making our own choices or substitutions, and that's the hard (but rewarding) part of thinking about this process.

    Ditto, Amy, it's so much fun to be in this journey with you.


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