This is what My Utmost for His Highest had for me yesterday, -part of it-,
If we are in communion with God and recognize that He is taking us into His purposes, we shall no longer try to find out what His purposes are. As we go in the Christian life it gets simpler, because we are less inclined to say –Now why did God allow this or that? Behind the whole thing lies the compelling of God. “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends.” A Christian is one who trusts the wits and the wisdom of God, and not his own wits. If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and leisureliness which ought to characterize the children of God.
Let’s listen to that again,
A Christian is one who trusts the wits and the wisdom of God, and not his own wits.
If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and leisureliness which ought to characterize the children of God.
That is just -or most- of what has been afflicting me. I have been trusting my wits more than His Wisdom. I have had a disconnect between my christian life and our homeschooling.
I realize I have carried a purpose of my own into our lessons, schedules, weeks, months, and school years. For 5 years, I have wanted to be in the lead, to tell others what to do, to get better at all of it that I know a CM’s education to be.
In five years, I cannot say everything has been a fiasco. The girls have grown, and they care. It has been simpler all along.
And then summer came.
Summer brought plans, retreats, projects, the prospect of a new school year, of fresh plans, and books, and music, artist prints, Latin, foreign language, more Shakespeare, Plutarch, grammar, time lines, books of centuries, maps, map drills, history, geography, biographies, devotionals, copywork, family reads, writing, hymns, recitation, dictation, memorization, nature walks, nature journals, dry brush, other drawing, typing, devotional, -what is Swedish Drill?-, poetry, literature, book clubs, celebrations, piano class, violin class, ballet class… (are you overwhelmed?)
To write, plan, think about all this, makes me uncomfortable. It shouldn’t. Many of those we have always done, and we are certainly familiar with all. My dear friend Kelly told me it was great I had found Charlotte Mason early. I answered that it is a blessing, no doubt, but in my case, I’m trying to get over my overdose.
I have always resisted those ideas and actions I thought I would never be good at. Now I am considering those more carefully, and I believe they are also for me. Example #1, habits. My daughters are 8 and 10, and I am still laying down the rails. It’s clear we need to have a couple of big habits in place before we can get the details and the whole richness I summarized two paragraphs before.
We don’t seem to be ready to resume lessons. Why? I believe children should want to resume lessons. (I know there can be a bit of reluctance, but it should not be complete negation). My girls want to continue living in summer mode. We have always schooled all year round, and this summer we have taken the longest break of all. A few weeks ago, I felt restless. I wanted to get back to lessons as “I know them”. But we didn’t do so. Now, I am not sure I want to resume lessons in the same way we always did them. Not before we work on habits.
I am trying to wake them up early as I do, and I am not going back to bed to read, but I am staying up, cooking breakfast, making room for lessons. I resisted the idea the lessons must happen in the mornings. Not anymore.
At the retreat, I was looking at the PNEU schedules, and though I am not going to ditch my schedules and make the PNEU schedules my new idol, I got the principle behind the schedules of doing lessons in the mornings, and allowing what we wrongly call “the extras” to drive the readings. I always have had that backwards.
Harmony reminded me of what we tell AO newcomers, start with one or two things, and add to that. Stephanie in her course says exactly that. Start with a couple of things, grow on them. So, no matter we have been doing -or trying to do-, the whole AO dance for five years, we will be stripping it down to the basics. The same I have decluttered my home in the past months, I will declutter our schedules and lesson times.
1. Stick to time blocks, not quantity of text to cover (blocks of 10, 20, 30 minutes)
2. Keep the schedule (that varies activities from more attention demanding to more mechanical) as a guideline, but keep it as a guideline.
3. Respect times/variety/finishing time. (Don’t cram in the name of finishing the “week/month/term/year.”)
4. Alternate this: time with both, time with each, independent time.
5. Plan one term at a time.