Under the Maple Tree

Living the Life…

I often lament the slow plod of our days.  I start off each week with big plans, each day with a long list: school work to be done, chores that need accomplishing, tasks to tackle.  But how often am I really able to check everything off in a day?  Not often.  Then I cry, “We didn’t finish our reading lesson; the laundry is piling up again.  Yikes! We have to get that present before the birthday party!”  But in the end, as I look back, I have to remember that there is so much more to life than checking things off of a to do list.
When thinking of our little homeschool and the lessons that my children have been learning I need to realize that there is much more to the educated life than reciting facts and digesting information. 
This is the substance of our chat at this past week’s Charlotte Mason Support Group: atmosphere. 
Miss Mason says that ideas are the substance upon which our minds feed, the stuff of education.  If we provide our children with a bountiful diet of ideas, then they will grow and thrive educationally.  And how do they acquire these ideas?  She maintains that there is much more to gaining an education than just having information thrown our way.  Atmosphere is a key ingredient to a vibrant education.  It is through our atmosphere that we show our children our values, we help them to love learning, to have compassion, to practice patience, to solve problems. 
Listen to what Miss Mason says about atmosphere: “a child draws inspiration from the casual life around him.  The thought of any of our poor words and ways being a daily influence on a child should make the best of us want to hold our breath.  Sigh, she knows my thoughts.  I wish that my kids were gleaning positive lessons more often.  No, more often than not it is exasperation, frustration, impatience that they soak in.  My list!  When will we get to my list?  But alas, “what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15.
So how do I find hope?  Just as I will never have a house that would pass a white glove test, so will I constantly fail and be the wrong influence on these children I have been entrusted with.  There is another way.  My hope lies in knowing that my priorities are wrongly placed when I make the outside charm in either my home or the lives of my children or me the paramount cause.  Instead I can gain real value in knowing that it is the inner relationship that counts, knowing Jesus and his priorities.  Will I ever get through all of my to do list?  No.  But if I look at what it is that really counts, knowing and loving Jesus and people then I can reorient my measurements of success.
So the list will live on but I commit myself to measuring the quality and success of my children’s education by the depth of relationship that they have with Christ and the way that they are able to love those with whom they are in contact.  Our education is about continuing to live the life of captive pursuit of Jesus.
Wishing you success in Jesus’ eyes.

Come, have a visit “Under the Maple Tree”

Dear Friends,
Over the past few years, as I have had the privilege to meet so many people at conferences, home school meetings and online through my involvement with Maple Tree Publications, the one thing that I have enjoyed most is hearing your stories, getting to know you.  Of course, I love the products that I sell – I know that I am not much of a sales woman and so I could never represent a product that I didn’t believe in.  I also love to teach so the chance to engage the minds not only of my young students at home but of the willing adults that sit through my seminars is so much fun for me.  By far though it has been the community that I have had the honour of being a part of and the people that I have gotten to know that have been the greatest delights in this work.
As such, I thought I would take the opportunity to expand the newsletter that I have been able to send to so many of you and to invest in this new world of blogging.  Over the past couple of years I have really enjoyed being able to connect with people through their blogs and so hope that this sight might be an encouragement to you and yours and might be a way to get to know more of my unique, interesting and vibrant readers.
This blog will be a mishmash of many things….  Hopefully the commonality is the usefulness of information and the encouragement that you will receive.  Please look forward to receiving here thoughts and ideas on home education, book reviews, encouraging notes, answers to some of the questions that friends and readers write to me with, excerpts from Maple Tree books, information about upcoming book launches, conferences, specials, and other events, and more….
Please subscribe now.  Then, when you have a chance, pour yourself a cup of tea and come back often.  I very much look forward to your company and to the chance to get to know you better.
Peace and Blessings,

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