a SYLLABUS for a normal child

3 points – (a) He requires much knowledge, (b) varied, and (c) communicated in well chosen language

This is exactly the title of the next Charlotte Mason Carnival that will be presented on 9/18 at Charlotte Mason in the City. 
Just two years of reading these type of well chosen language books and it has already been an incredible challenge for all of us. One that I will not trade for anything else in the world of curriculum. One that has enriched my two young girls inmensurably.

There has been some moments in which I have mentally made a pause and said to myself, what on earth are you doing reading this book that seems to be a tongue twister, a book that you do not even grasp in its fullness? And an evil inner voice whispers quiiiit, quiiiiit… ha ha ha. The beginning of this year 2 of school books with the girls was brutal. We had a few old friends, but everything else seemed so much, so complex, too rich. Sometimes the feast appears to be more a potential indigestion than something to look forward to.

Many of our books have people who speak using the thou and hath. The words that Hawthorne picks, for example, are many times Spanish cognate words, but I have long forgotten they exist in my language, let alone had I known they were English words as well. Are we sure this is the SYLLABUS for a normal child? I have thought many times that a normal child of the 19th century is nothing like a normal child of today. This Charlotte Mason is for sure a method for elitist and snobbish people. The funny thing is that some children of today hit it right away with these books. So, why is it that my child is not as normal as the neighbor’s?

A teacher friend told me this whole Charlotte Mason thing I was trying to explain to her, telling her how the teacher should abstain from those explanations or books with simplified language, she said it seemed feasible for children like mine (little did she know I do not consider we do as well as we should with this whole enchilada). She said it will not work with those who have poor language, or a difficult school and life background. I thought those are the children who would probably need this the most. But I know they will have to drop the testing and exams, that is the true impossibility of this syllabus in a public school that has to abide by the laws of the state regarding education.

So if I think this would be the best method for those children who are so deprived, if I am selling it so well to my friend as our thing, what is my problem then?, why do I have to have one? It is simply that I do not see fruits immediately or when I wish to see them. Impatience, impatience kills me! 

We all know deep down there that much of it is a matter of time. A matter of faith if you want. That is what keeps me going. That is why I continue with those books and principles week after week. Waiting. Some days with more patience than others. I keep adjusting, reconsidering, and getting at it again and again. Because there is no other thing I can do, or I want to do, or I should do. And I stop waiting and start to simply enjoy it all.

Why is it that we, “Charlotte Masoners”, hold on to these old and rancid public domain type of books relentessly? Why do we insist on our children listening to sections of these books and narrating from them? Why do we care about nature walks when children are too old to be at the park on a week day morning? Why do not we get serious and buy a grammar book for our second grader? 

For those into the Ambleside selections, why don’t we abandon Little Duke on the second or third reading when it is apparent that the names and events overwhelm our short term memory, and get tangled up in our mind? What makes us keep coming back to Parables from Nature, or to open up week after week all the hard books even when last reading was sighed upon, complained about, or not welcome with enthusiasm?

I think of many reasons why we do all the above.

 

  • Because we know much knowledge, varied, and in well written language is the only possible syllabus for ALL children.
  • We hear our children at the least expected moments say something like ‘it is adequate to use your fingers when eating chicken’, when they recall some of the readings, make some of this knowledge truly theirs, and it is something hard to describe, but we all see true learning then, and no matter how little this may seem, we know all the efforts are worth it.
  • Some time passes and these books start becoming old friends. Our children start to connect with them. The readings become more fluid. Then we start enjoying Nathaniel Hawthorne to the point you hear your seven year old girl speak of the Wonderbook for Girls and Boys as if it were the last best-seller, and you hear your five year old tell your guests about the triple head of Quimera, or they recognize a Pandora inspired Mickey Mouse comic.
  • We discuss history with our spouses at dinner just because we love it so much we have to talk about it.
  • And once you have tasted a small portion of this SYLLABUS, you would have hit a point of no return.

 

Got Living Books?

This is the THIRD Charlotte Mason Carnival and I have been late to the previous two. I do want to make it to this one for I am passionate about living books.

I would like to talk about what LIVING BOOKS have done for us at home. They are our antidote to burn out, to boredom, to dreadful days of going through insipid textbooks trying to retain disjointed information. After grazing in the pasture of the living books, I do not know if I will be able to return to the desert of public school teaching. The look of the basal books and the booklets with questions about those stories (though not all are bad, treating them as texts to be dissected, and the forced activities that follow each reading), the leveled readers, and the filth they sell us and they I promoted when I taught, all of it gives me serious shivers. Not to mention the Science and Social Studies text books. I won’t be able to wake up at 6 am every day knowing I had to use them.

Many object to the term living. In a strict sense I agree that there is one and only living book, The Holy Bible, what we mean by the term living book it is derived from Charlotte Mason’s idea of living, wholesome books, and used in all respect to mean books that put us in straight touch with ideas and with other minds.

Much has been said about what and what not constitutes a living book. There is though an infallible rule to me. Those books you could read again and again and again, those books you do not tire of listening to, those are living books.

Back to what living books do for us, I can’t simply conceive our learning and living without them. They are our “curriculum”, for I rarely use anything in addition to living books. I can’t but thank Ambleside, An Old-Fashioned Education, Stephanie (here is her bookshelf), Simply Charlotte Mason, and my many CM inspired friends for their constant recommendations when it comes to living books. And apart from the comfort of sharing and seeing the living books others are reading, there is nothing as the gratification of finding them yourself.
Since I have no reference for living books in Spanish, and my childhood has a mix of twaddle and living books, I am now in the pursue of finding titles in Spanish that fall into the living book category. I will be adding titles in Spanish that are not translations in a few months, when, Lord willing, I will travel to Madrid and hopefully be able to visit some old and new too book stores and find several living books that I will share, as well as titles available in English that I’m always catching in the library sales and retail stores, etc.

If your days are long, your weeks never end, your children are not motivated and you dread the routine you’ve gotten into, do something for you and your children, find a few good books, and let the ideas and learning flow from them! Trust me, they will.

P.S: latest “living hits” at our household:
The Little House, by Virginia Lee Burton
Japanese Twins, from the Twin Tales

The Princess and the Kiss
Phewtus the Squirrel, VH Drummond

Weekly Wrap-Up

I always read my friend Ellen’s weekly wrap ups, and I see some others, and I thought it’d be nice to do it myself. I like to stop and think about what we are doing. When I do that, I appreciate how much the girls are growing, how much we are living and experiencing together, and if I count my blessings and write about them I will leave less room for complaining! 🙂

This week we had some lessons, continued with our weekly readings. On Wednesday we have the Japanese Twins in our reading. My friend Heather said her daughter loved this so much. They finished it, we are three quarters into it. And Heather’s daughter is drawing Taro and Take (the twins), and their kimonos and clogs. We watched some sand painting videos, since they did that in one chapter, and it is a fascinating art. See for yourself,

Heather and I were talking about unit studies, and how her daughter, inspired by the reading of the Japanese Twins, is locating books about oriental culture by herself. She said she does not use unit studies since the reading of some good books on a topic leads her daughter to learn more about that and that happens rather effortlessly on her part. She said maybe unit studies are for moms who do not know how to do this, and a few good books on a subject maybe a good start. But I tend to think that if you as a mom don’t know how to pick living books, a collection of books on a topic may not necessarily help  you. I wouldn’t know how to homeschool with textbooks only (apart from the math, for security, and some guidance books), without living books that lead us from idea to idea. It is you first the one who needs to know how to learn like this and read like this. You need to see how ideas work on you, and then you will be able to model, inspire, and recognize this amazing activity of the mind happening in your children. If you want to know more about living books, the next Charlotte Mason Carnival is precisely about this topic, READ ALL ABOUT IT AT AMY’S.
Also, if you want to know about the ground for all the other “traditional knowledge”, read with us about POETIC KNOWLEDGE in our book club on Tuesdays. This will be revealing for you, and it will open you up to a broad view of your children. It may also, incidentally, save you money and worries too! It will hopefully give you an adequate balance between books and other things that are crucial but we tend to abandon (music, dance, physical activity, contemplation, play, singing, art, walks…)
We had Heather and kids on Tuesday, and our little friend Z. the day before. Wednesday we went to our homeschooling group End of the Year Party (I can’t believe one more year ended), and had fun with our friends bowling.

In our vacation to a State Park we had sooooo much fun. We saw different plants and animals, the girls learned to ride their bikes, and the weather was perfect. I couldn’t ask for more in life. Now back to our fast pace city and our routines. But it was a nice break and we are re-energized. We definitely be taking some more breaks to that wonderful park.

My husband has agreed to do math with my oldest, for a change and to be involved. I keep preparing for our first year with Ambleside, and so far they are doing great. (Understand this doesn’t mean there are no intense days or moments we loose our patience, or that they don’t fight, or that they need correction, prayers, adjustments, redirecting or changing gears completely. But when I sit and reflect I know we are fine). I realized how much my six and a half year old girl has grown this past six months and from five. She has learned to read, to ride a bike, to swim (she floats, she does not have much style or continuity yet), she has beautiful handwriting (and she is practicing cursive), draws with imagination, loves being read to, narrates nicely (her favorite is the Bible stories), loves, loves, loves DOGS, is crazy about jumping and doing hand stands, and enjoys singing.

My youngest, four and four months, has gained so much detail this past month. Her drawings are full of details, she attempts profiles too, draws people holding dolls, or walking pets, different hairstyles, glasses, slanted eyes, crying and smiling people, details in clothing, etc. Her memory is quite amazing, and she loves listening to stories and SINGING. She says she wants to be a “cooker” and a scientist to make her own experiments. Now it is becoming difficult to differentiate some of her drawings from her sister’s.

But what I am most content about, it is that I see they have a wonderful heart, they care about others. (My youngest told me her friend -Heather’s daughter- looks beautiful in her bike). There are still some rough edges we are working on with both of them, some areas of their character that need attention, habits still not acquired, but all in all, I can already see the benefits of educating at home. It makes us both, parents and children, better persons.

My four and four months old drawing. The second girl to the
left is Strawberry shortcake with a strawberry hat.

 

Memorial Day

 It is only 4:00 pm of this Memorial Day, and it has already been such a wonderful day for us.
The day started for me at 6:00 am, when I walked with my friend and neighbor around our neighborhood. We did this two weeks ago and loved it, we walked three mornings for 45 minutes, and now that her husband’s job hours have changed, we can do it again. And I am excited. Excercising 3 days a week makes me definitely feel much better.

After a great breakfast at our patio, we all looked at these books about constellations, and drew and made some of them. One of my goals this year is to be  able to look at the sky when we camp and such, and identify some of the stars and constellations.

The gourd is from the time when we read Follow the Drinking Gourd, which was a song that pointed slaves to the way to freedom by following the Little Dipper and  the North star, which is at the handle of the Little Dipper. Here there is some history on the song and the  meaning of “follow the drinking gourd”.

While we were working on the constellations, I turned on the radio, and we were so lucky to hear The Carnival of the Animals, by Saint Saëns, the aquatic piece is magical, according to my oldest. It also trasported us to the times when we heard this piece, and Bernstein, Peter and the Wolf…

This giant sunflower you see, was not planted by us. It was a gift of nature, a seed from the wild that took root in the best spot of my garden, in the middle, right by our tomatoes. Our side roads become full of these gorgeous sunflowers.

 My husband was so nice to paint the cabinet trims which needed paint badly.

Before the girls left the table, I squeezed in a bit of Hamlet… it was not super welcome initially, but they warmed up to it, and we managed to finish the third act.

On their own accord, one wanted to practice piano, and both played some SPEED.
Just so you know life is good, but not without its challenges, after my oldest daughter practiced the piece she knows at the piano, I worked on having her try and study the next song. She is very change resistant, every new thing, even a new song, or a new book, etc., makes her uncomfortable, and one has to insist and help her embrace the next step.

At 1:30 we arrived at the park we have been going for 4 or 5 years every Memorial Day. This is Colonel Richard P. Pannell honoring the fallen. Attendance this year was embarrassingly low.  It was only dribbling a bit throughout the ceremony, which was nice, since most years it is burning hot, and the men in uniform have to endure those crazy temperatures in full attire.


These are the cadets of a nearby middle school. They did great. Right before, when the Houston Police shoots at the Gun Salute, that first boom never fails to take us by surprise.

Back home it started to pour down in torrents. And now, 4:32 pm, I am typing with the lull of the rain hitting my window.

I forgot to mention… at the Ambleside Forum, someone shared this Longfellow poem called Decoration Day, -that is the former name of Memorial Day, called Decoration because people used to decorate the tombs of their relatives who had died at the Civil War-, and we read it too.

And during the trip to and fro, I read one story from the Book of Golden Deeds, it was the Crossing of the Thermopylae, and those famous 300 hundred Spartans led by Leonidas. I have chosen this book for family read aloud, since my husband loves history and geography. Specially because both my children are girls, I need to remember to add to their education and life books like this that talk about golden and heroic deeds, battles and their significance. I don’t know any military person that is not a peace advocate. That was one of the first mentions of the colonel who gave the speech. Not every man, -or woman-, is called to serve his nation in the military, but those who do, do it impelled by defending freedom, and with the hope of reestablishing peace and safety among their families and fellow citizens.

I share with many friends that a Charlotte Mason education is not a curriculum, neither a philosophy, but a style of life.

The Sacredness of Personality

Beautiful and wise words:

vol 6 pg 80

Chapter 5 The Sacredness of Personality

Our crying need to-day is less for a better method of education than for an adequate conception of children,––children, merely as human beings, whether brilliant or dull, precocious or backward.

vol 6 pg 81
Maxima reverentia debetur pueris has a wider meaning than it generally receives. We take it as meaning that we should not do or say anything unseemly before the young, but does it not also include a profound and reverent study of the properties and possibilities present in a child?

vol 6 pg 89
But knowledge is delectable. We have all the ‘satiable curtiosity’ of Mr. Kipling’s Elephanteven when we content ourselves with the broken meats flung by the daily press. Knowledge is to us as our mother’s milk, we grow thereby and in the act of sucking are admirably content.
The work of education is greatly simplified when we realize that children, apparently all children, want to know all human knowledge; they have an appetite for what is put before them…

Charlotte Mason

I used to choose words to describe my daughters, specially my oldest, that were not mindful of her as a person. I did not respect her. What could be wrong about saying… she is not doing this, she does not like that, she has this weakness, that deficiency? Some do never show pictures of their children out of privacy and respect, which wI can understand clearly. But then I do not have any decency whatsoever when continually portraying my children in words that, if my spouse used to describe me, would cause me strife and elicit feelings of betrayal, and which I will surely grief.

I wanted my oldest in particular, to be this and that, I expected her to do certain things, to act like other children could and do academically speaking. I talked about her as less than a person, as my inferior to my charged, not my equal endebted to my care by Him. I engaged in describing her behavior by looking at what appeared to me as her shortcomings, and thus devising strategies to change, mold, channel, persuade, and what not, in order to get the girl I think she ought to be. Until it hit me hard. My oldest daughter is a person, I am not superior as a person. I just have a different role as a grown up woman and her mother, a role not to be abused. (To know more about this role, read Charlotte Mason on authority, that was also the past Carnival topic of discussion).

Why is she not showing interest? Why is she, (who on the other hand is such a pleaser) not engaged from within? Sometimes she could make herself do something not to make me mad, to please me… but I figured too that we cannot sustain her whole learning on this basis… the pleasing behavior turned rebellious or indiferent, my guts told me it was not right to agree to narrate something so that I do not become vexed. And I do not talk about persistance here. That is very different and needed.

It did not take me that much to realize that prizes and punishments do not work. Consequences… yes, but not so much artificially designed by us, parents, because there are few natural consequences that I have found I can apply, most were being truly arbitrary. That regime of not having such activity in their day, or not doing such if they do not do such and such, never worked with us either. Then I remembered, and truly worked at deciphering, what Charlotte Mason tells us in the last paragraph I quoted above, knowledge is delectable. If my daughter is not engaged in learning, and not liking what she is doing, then it must not be true knowledge what I am offering. I changed. My attitude. What we did in our day. My expectations. The checklist. We went back to our first love, the time when she was little and not in second grade with a full week list of books to listen to, narrate, math lessons to finish, handwriting to practice… We returned to our journal drawing, our walks and time outdoors, our reading poetry and delight into it. I stopped comparing, keeping count, I started to listen and learn who they are, who she (the oldest) is. I simply started to practice what I have always preached after C.M.

And, voila! It all started to fall into place. My attitude each morning changed. I no longer started the day accusing her of being this or that, or saying things like you never, or you always. I still suggested her, “let’s read from our history book”, or “let’s work on some math”. But I no longer felt the superior, the master of the show, devising what had to be accomplished every day, finishing my sentences with the classic innuendo, for your good… I became the companion instead. The one learning by their side, and learning for my sake, not in the hopes she will replicate all I engaged in (which I used to do with a feeling of obligation before). Nowadays, I am the mom who is learning piano at 42 years old, without expecting any of them to practice hours and hours on their own. But also the mom who knows duty, and asks for some practice every day, out of habit, consistency, and because learning piano (at whatever level we are made to achieve), is such a wonderful opportunity to connect with beauty, to appreciate music when you hear it.

My daughter happens to be a wonderful human being who has so much to unveil that I wish to have life to witness. A girl who cares much about others, and who delights in learning more and more everyday. She has much to teach me about relations. She is showing me gratitude and I am in awe about the beauty of persons through her and others around me. That He created us unto His image, is most manifest in children, though. It has been such a mystery that I could never solve when it was always in front of my nose, so close I failed to see it. Children are persons. And persons are born with this wonderful yearning for knowledge. It has become my own personal crusade to inspire other parents to see this in their children, instead of thinking in terms of problems and solutions in their homeschools, or considering children as end results. They are poetry in progress, men and women of character in potency, and if we do not recognize them already as such, but talk about them pejoratively, they will grow up broken and with a low self esteem, and they will have a harder time finding that person they once were and we buried.

And today that is where we are. With our feet planted on joy, and our hearts and minds in awe.

Poetry in Progress

Beautiful and wise words:

vol 6 pg 80

Chapter 5 The Sacredness of Personality

Our crying need to-day is less for a better method of education than for an adequate conception of children,––children, merely as human beings, whether brilliant or dull, precocious or backward.

vol 6 pg 81
Maxima reverentia debetur pueris has a wider meaning than it generally receives. We take it as meaning that we should not do or say anything unseemly before the young, but does it not also include a profound and reverent study of the properties and possibilities present in a child?

vol 6 pg 89
But knowledge is delectable. We have all the ‘satiable curtiosity’ of Mr. Kipling’s Elephanteven when we content ourselves with the broken meats flung by the daily press. Knowledge is to us as our mother’s milk, we grow thereby and in the act of sucking are admirably content.
The work of education is greatly simplified when we realize that children, apparently all children, want to know all human knowledge; they have an appetite for what is put before them…

Charlotte Mason

I used to choose words to describe my daughters, specially my oldest, that were not mindful of her as a person. I did not respect her. What could be wrong about saying… she is not doing this, she does not like that, she has this weakness, that deficiency? I did this but now, when I read other moms doing the same, it saddens me much, I don’t know why. Some do never show pictures of their children, or cover their faces on the photos, out of privacy and respect, which I can understand clearly. But then I do not have any decency whatsoever when continually portraying my children in words that, if my spouse used them to describe me, would cause strife to our marriage, elicit feelings of having been betrayed, and would leave me grieving.

I wanted my oldest in particular, to be this and that, I expected her to do certain things, to act like other children could and did academically speaking. I talked about her as less than a person, as my inferior to my charge, not my equal indebted to my care by Him. I engaged in describing her behavior by looking at what appeared to me as her shortcomings, and thus devising strategies to change, mold, channel, persuade, and what not, in order to get the girl I think she ought to be. Until it hit me hard. My oldest daughter is a person, I am not superior as a person. I just have a different role as a grown up woman and her mother, a role not to be abused. (To know more about this role, read Charlotte Mason on authority, that was also the past Carnival topic of discussion).

Why is she not showing interest? Why is she, (who on the other hand is such a pleaser) not engaged from within? Sometimes she could make herself do something not to make me mad, to please me… but I finally  figured  too that we could not sustain her whole learning on this basis… the pleasing behavior turned rebellious or indifferent, my guts told me it was not right for her to agree to narrate something so that I did not become vexed. And once again, the old cycle. The strategies that never work but that I endlessly described to others who obviously, needed them not, in an pirouette aimed to convince myself of their validity.

It did not take me that much to realize that prizes and punishments do not work. Consequences… yes, but not so much artificially designed by us, parents, because there are few natural consequences that I have found I can apply, most were being truly arbitrary. That regime of not having such activity in their day, or not doing such if they do not do such and such, never worked with us either. Then I remembered, and truly worked at deciphering, what Charlotte Mason tells us in the last paragraph I quoted above, knowledge is delectable. If my daughter is not engaged in learning, and not liking what she is doing, then it must not be true knowledge what I am offering. I changed. My attitude changed. What we did in our day changed, my expectations, too, changed. I abandoned the checklist. We went back to our first love, the time when she was little and not in second grade with a full week list of books to listen to, narrate, math lessons to finish, handwriting to practice… We returned to our journal drawing, our walks and time outdoors, our reading poetry and delight into it. I stopped comparing, keeping count, I started to listen and learn who they are, who she (the oldest) is. I simply started to practice what I have always preached after C.M.

And, voila! It all started to fall into place. My attitude each morning changed. I no longer started the day accusing her of being this or that, or saying things like you never, or you always. I still suggested her, “let’s read from our history book”, or “let’s work on some math”. But I no longer felt the superior, the master of the show, devising what had to be accomplished every day, finishing my sentences with the classic innuendo, for your good… I became the companion instead. The one learning by their side, and learning for my sake, not in the hopes she will replicate all I engaged in (which I used to do with a feeling of obligation before). Nowadays, I am the mom who is teaching herself Italian, Hebrew with her daughters and best friend, learning piano at 42 years old. It is fine if they do not sit at the piano for hours, or with an Italian book or CD. But I am also the mom who knows duty, and asks for some piano practice every day, out of habit, consistency, and because learning piano (at whatever level we are made to achieve), is such a wonderful opportunity to connect with beauty, to appreciate music when you hear it.

My daughter happens to be a girl who delights me so much each and every day, that I wish and pray to have a long life to simply indulge in witnessing her. She makes me think of Sting singing Every breath you take, every move you make... A girl who cares much about others, and who treasures learning. She has much to teach me about relations. She is showing me gratitude and I am in awe contemplating the beauty of persons through her and others around me. That He created us unto His image, is most manifest in children, as Charlotte Mason implies. It has been such a mystery that I never appreciated, so close to my nose it was. Children are persons. And persons are born with this wonderful yearning for knowledge. It has become my own personal crusade to inspire other parents to see this in their children, instead of thinking in terms of problems and solutions in their homeschools, or considering children as end results. They are poetry in progress, men and women of character in potency, and if we do not recognize them already as such, but talk about them pejoratively, they will grow up broken and with a low self esteem, and they will have a harder time finding that person they once were and we buried.

And today that is where we are. With our feet planted on joy, and our hearts and minds in awe.

El PROBLEMA no es problema

Lo que muchos consideran PROBLEMA del homeschooling, la famosa socialización, no es el meollo del asunto. Sólo quien vive esta realidad o se ha acercado seriamente a ella sabe que eso es lo de menos, porque es más problema el elegir entre tantas actividades que hay a nuestro alcance y múltiples ocasiones de relacionarse y hacer amigos. Tampoco es qué materiales o método escoger, hay mucho y bueno de donde sacar y encontrar lo que se ajusta a nuestra familia. Ni lo es el que no sepamos las asignaturas o contenidos porque no seamos maestros o profesores, porque nos preparamos y buscamos ayuda y listo. Para mí el problema radica en LA CASA, Y LA DISCIPLINA, no sé si estaréis de acuerdo o no, pero en mis años en casa con las niñas sin lecciones como en las escuelas ni grupos de veinte o más niños de su edad, mis hijas no manifiestan ni retraso académico ni problemas a la hora de relacionarse (sí es un poco difícil callar a la pequeña, hacer que no hable con todo el que se encuentra y les cuente de arriba a abajo nuestra vida o contestar las preguntas sobre el mundo y la vida de la mayor, lo reconozco). Pero a lo que voy es a que esto no es problema.

El quehacer diario es el reto sobre todo de la madre que libremente se queda en casa (y estoy pensando en esto que escribió Esther) a educar a sus hijos, aunque esta decisión supere con creces los inconvenientes. Las tareas domésticas son una monotonía muy pesada en ocasiones. Nunca terminamos ni mi marido ni yo de atender la casa, preparar comidas, limpiar cocina, barrer y fregar, lavar ropa, atender el patio, las facturas y pagos, hacer la compra…todos sabéis de qué va el asunto.

Durante el día hay que hacer el quehacer, valga la redundancia, y cuando nos ponemos a nuestras lecciones cortitas, o salimos al parque, o pintamos, etc, si no están hechas las tareas domésticas nos esperan acechantes a la vuelta. Sobre todo la comida, porque tenemos la mala costumbre de comer varias veces al día en mi casa. Y en muchas ocasiones es difícil sacar el tiempo para arreglar armarios, hacer limpieza más a fondo cuando se requiere. Por eso muchos que educamos en casa desde pronto entrenamos (o tratamos de entrenar) a los niños en esto. Y ese entrenamiento hay que estar trabajándolo contínuamente también, claro. Y además de algo más vive el ser humano que de lo puramente físico, hay que alimentar el intelecto, el espíritu, y el corazón, y eso con el trapo y fregona en mano se puede hasta cierto punto (ponemos música cuando limpiamos, conversamos cuando cocinamos, etc.), pero tiene un límite. Al menos para mí, que necesito sentarme a leer, a escribir, o a simplemente disfrutar de un té y no pensar en nada, o irnos a hacer ejercicio también, y estar con amigos, vaya, vivir una vida un poco no sólo como la hormiga ni tampoco exclusivamente como la cigarra. Pues ese es el intríngulis de educar en casa, buscar el tiempo para cultivar las distintas facetas del ser humano, atender las necesidades primordiales, pasar momentos con los hijos, con la pareja, y algunos ratos en soledad y hacerlo todo en la famosa justa medida, pesándolo en la balanza que por momentos se nos desnivela, y por momentos vuelve a su equilibrio.

Por eso es, pienso, que muchos de nosotros han abandonado blogs o lo han intentado (que no te dejamos Marvan, ¡eh!), los han hecho privados, o se han retirado una temporada y vuelven o no. De hecho este fin de semana he vuelto a ponderar el asunto del blog. No, no me voy a retirar, pero voy a volver a lo que hiciera hace unos meses con buenos resultados pero que enseguida abandoné, que fue limitar el tiempo a los jueves y viernes, quizá miércoles noche también. No hay una fórmula exacta para todos, cada uno busca la propia. A mí me funciona desconectar por completo unos días porque si no internet se me convierte en una constante (y obsesiva) interferencia. Y no quiero ni desconectar del todo, ni abandonar a mis amistades que forman parte de mi vida y tanto me ayudan en mi día a día.

Y luego está la disciplina. En el Carnaval de Charlotte Mason en el blog de Amy el tema para esta entrega es ese. Amy nos sugirió unas lecturas cortas (al final de su entrada) que ya hice y que fueron muy reveladoras. Y eso, la disciplina, entendida como obediencia a la ley, no como castigo exclusivamente o como simple materia de estudio. Obediencia no mecánica como ocurre cuando hacemos lo deseado pero no por convicción si no por estímulo-respuesta, buscando premio o evitando castigo. Disciplina interiorizada por el niño, adolescente, y adulto. Entendida como obediencia y sometimiento a la ley porque es lo correcto y no como simple reacción para evitar lo indeseado (aunque esto es el comienzo), o por complacer a padre, maestro, o a otra persona (que es también un componente de la disciplina, pero no el definitivo), si no porque aceptamos y nos resulta gratificante el buscar el comportarnos honestamente y cumplir con nuestras obligaciones. Sería como estar en una tienda sin cajeros ni policía y dejar el dinero de lo comprado en la caja. Por cierto, aquí en USA a la entrada de las bibliotecas hay estanterías con libros y una huchita donde se deja el dinero de lo que te lleves. En navidad y todo el año ponemos cosas fuera que nadie roba, y muchos periódicos se venden así. O el niño que no sólo se porta cuando está el maestro o padre delante, sino que no coje lo que no debe, o hace lo que está mal cuando no tiene a ese adulto delante, o el adulto que igualmente no tiene doble moral y no aspira a que sus hijos estén ocupados en lecturas y actividades positivas, que tenga buena conducta con amigos y familiares, o que quiere que coopere en la casa cuando él  mismo no lee, vaguea, habla mal de otros en privado, o participa de actividades moralmente bajas y carece de ética de trabajo y no cumple con su función en el hogar y el mundo. (Y conste que no apunto con el dedo, que estoy hablando de mí la primera).