Fairwell to Poetic Knowledge Book Club

It has been such an intense and rewarding book club. It looks like yesterday when I begged one of the ladies that hang up at Miss Brandy’s blog to host a book club on Poetic Knowledge. Reading with these ladies gives you so much, a deep understanding, sharp observations, and applications to our life, not just abstract intellectual bluff. There is no bluff in any of them, they are true scholars because they are unpretentious learners. (Or are they unpretentious scholars because they are true learners?).

I never thought reading this book would change me so much or that it’d bring out some of the things I was wanting to do and let them influence and guide our homeschooling without reservations. Writing this I feel a bit silly, like those women on reality shows or infomercials, but it’s true. These months of reading Poetic Knowledge and translating Charlotte Mason have been an existential boot camp. But no, I haven’t changed my faith, dress style or hair color (other than stop coloring it!), or sold my home and moved to a commune in the boonies.

Mystie asks What is one specific thing you are changing as a result of reading this book?


We have slowed down, I’m remembering not to look at education under modern eyes, with lists, things to get done, milestones, etc, but as a life goal. And it has also made me realize we can follow AO Year 1 and the others our own way, because we are inspired by Charlotte Mason, not slaved by any curriculum but graciously enhanced by the gratitude of others who have walked this path before and left many trails for us to explore. Actually, I found out that year 1 is much simpler compared to all I wanted to do last year, when I still looked at education more scientifically and rigidly. But reading the book, it pointed to me to all the richness beyond just the books. It is the walks, singing, dancing, the conversations, the music (that’s something we are paying much more attention after the book), acting out, narrating, drawing, creating, and being involved in life what gives my children and us richness in life. The books are crucial, yes, as much as we let them be in direct contact with the children. We feast from their ideas, and we don’t take them as a race, or force them upon the children or ourselves. But the book in combination with Charlotte Mason, has given me even more confirmation and new courage to continue with a simple life that doesn’t leave out all these experiences linked to poetic knowledge, which, by the way, we can lead our children into without the need to pay an expert to “teach them” or without being experts ourselves.

This book revived in my mind the controversy about media exposure. I read Endangered Minds some time ago, and I found it funny that it was full of statistics, research studies that had been done, experts opinions, and even some neurology and data about the brain. ALL TO JUST read parts of the book where the teachers spoke with their INFORMED COMMON SENSE, and to find out that the book proposed what I already “knew”. I listened to a program on the radio about music and language, and the experts only said with technical words what we all know. It’s strange how I’m finding the academia world a bit laughable these days. There can’t be a study of the brain that will lead us to more knowledge of our humanity. They all say that the more they ‘study’ (modernly understanding this as scientifically approaching any subject), the more they see we all have a ‘basic’ knowledge, a ‘feeling’ that can’t be put with words, something that is linked to our emotions… poor modern man, trapped in his own crystal cage. Now it seems we need scholars from schools to tell us we don’t need schools to learn, experts on the brain to tell us that they can’t figure out how we “could have”  evolved this ability for rhythm that no other “animal” has… Maybe they could ask the common man, we could tell them that we are not evolved organisms, neither animals, we have a body, but we have a soul, thus it’s not difficult to explain we have things animals don’t have, and that we posses a knowledge that doesn’t rest on our BRAIN, neither on our rationality (seen as an added part to our bodies), but that as whole persons and humans, we have a poetic ability to know truths. And we who homeschool draw from that integral part that being humans gives us, and we reclaim our God given right to educate as part of what humans have done, can and will do till the end of times.

There will always be the dichotomy, the believers in God and the non believers. And truly the non believers, materialistic and scientific to the point of making science a religion with its own new vocabulary and hierarchy (titles, credentials, etc), amuse me with their naivete if they don’t annoy me with their arrogance.

We too, as Brandy defends, have seen a correlation between more technology and less ability for poetic knowledge. We mean those children who are anxious if they don’t have something that fills their minds with images, noises, or things that give them stimulus and require fairly automated responses. The same goes for children who have had much ‘modern and bad schooling’, they become dependent of others telling them what to do, what comes next, and they become restless and uncomfortable if they are by themselves, they are in one word, deprived of their ability of being bored.

I saw the book Outside Lies Magic in Melisa’s blog, and I’ve ordered it but it is not been shipped yet, or at least I don’t have an email stating it. I HOPE it comes soon, it’s a book about daring to make your own connections, to explore. My husband told me that in our days, where technology wasn’t that prominent, he thinks we were happier. OK, it maybe much of that past times are always better feeling of middle age people, and Mystie, we are not detracting technology but more pointing to the extinction of poetic knowledge and filling the gap with technical and scientific experiences in their place. And my girls watch some shows on the computer, some movies too, they are allowed to use the computer for different things, I only say that we need to be careful that technology or media do not invade the pastures of life our poetic soul needs to get rest. And our spirituality rests also in those pastures, therefore the need to be careful with the tarnishing of our souls that modern life can bring. Remember the criticism of modern commodities? No, it’s not so much to throw dishwasher and AC, but to revive or preserve as much as the poetic we have in our life, relationships, and homeschools. I think there is some truth in the observation that a childhood outdoors, without the narrow demands of a modern education, leads to independent thinkers and poetic souls.

In the first post I wrote for the book club I ventured the thesis that homeschoolers are the last poetic souls, not with those words, but now, at the end of the book, I restate it with conviction. We, from the more school oriented to the radical unschooler, have an organic ability for the poetic (which is the beginning and end of knowledge). The extent to which you cultivate, how conscious or unconscious you are about it, it’s your own personal choice, but in homeschooling it lies the poetic. I am convinced we are the best school that our children could have, where LOVE is present and our EDUCATED intuition prepares them not for college, but for a well examined life.

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4 thoughts on “Fairwell to Poetic Knowledge Book Club

  1. Mystie says:

    Good post, Silvia!

    I wonder if a good way to put the technology dilemma is that the more technology we have, the more wisdom and maturity we need. But if you don't rule over your technology, but let your technology rule over you (I think of compulsively checking one's smart phone, for instance), then you've got it upside down. And our children begin without wisdom and maturity. If they get tangled up in too much technology, they could easily be cut off from getting the wisdom and maturity they need to be able to handle the technology. The problem is likely too much technology too soon.

    I, too, find it funny that there are more and more books coming out that scientifically prove old-fashioned common sense. I think that in the beginning of the modern age we were eager to “start from scratch” and forfeit our heritage for science, and now finally science is beginning to come full circle and “prove” to us that we should never have given up our heritage. Hopefully we can regain that heritage and continue to build on it; unfortunately, the answer of postmodernity is that we can't build or know at all.

    I'm so glad you read and wrote so faithfully through this book club! Thank you!

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  2. Pam... says:

    May I re-state your last thought? “Within a homeschooling home we have one of the greatest opportunities toward living the poetic life, and passing that peaceful lifestyle down to our children.”

    And in applying Charlotte's method; not by the letter but by the spirit; we have the richest sources of possibilities to draw from toward that end. God has used her to stir our passions; teacher and students alike. Her method is poetic, and we must embrace it in that way.

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  3. alecat says:

    Poetic Knowledge sounds like a book I'd very much enjoy. I'm currently in the throws of trying to balance the 'need to get some learning done' vs 'the love of learning'. I always thought that my enjoyment of a subject would always rub off on the children, but sometimes it just hasn't as much as I'd hoped. It could be my child's broadening of interests into areas that don't match my own, or perhaps I'm implementing some stress of 'getting it done' inadvertently that's causing a little resistance. I'm trying to bend and relax to promote the better part of homeschooling, but a little guidance would be welcomed.

    I also have the second book you mention, Endangered Minds, and have picked it up to read a few times. I put it down again, and your point that it's stating many facts we already know is probably what's kept me from just reading it right through. I still hope to get it finished, though … I've just got a few other books that are holding my interest atm.

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  4. Brandy @ Afterthoughts says:

    Great post, Silvia! I am so glad you asked for a book club–it has been one of the best I've participated in so far! (Of course, some of that is thanks to our brilliant hostess…ahem…)

    I might have to check out that “Outside Lies Magic” book…because I like the title. 🙂

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