I don’t usually take the time to blog during daylight hours,certainly not in the morning. Morning is our time of concentrated learning. We have a routine that we follow and this year we have really been enjoying our learning times in the morning. This week is a bit more relaxed though and so I thought I would take a few minutes to write.
This week has become a tradition in the Dean house: it’s “January Reno Week”. Over the past few years our good daddy has booked a week off in January to be Mr. Fixit. He usually takes the time to catch up on the “Honey Do” list and to focus on one area of the house that needs some special attention. This year it is some much needed repairs to our basement bathroom, specifically a leaky shower. Big job.
It’s nice that some of the girls are now old enough that they can be quite involved in the project and as such we have modified their school schedules for this week. So, as I write, one daughter is downstairs helping with and learning about plumbing, another is writing a letter to Grandma, and another is making cookies to bring to Awana on Wednesday night. The little one is creating her daily painted masterpiece. Peaceful.
As I enjoy this relaxed learning time I have been reflecting on our goals for the year. You see, every year in the Dean home we make learning goals. I have noticed over the past few years a divergence between our long term goals (about things like virtue, compassion, and work ethic) and our yearly short term goals (about things like math and spelling and science). So this year we decided on four subjects that we thought would best integrate the short term and long term goals…
This year all of our learning is focused on these four topics: love for God, love for family, love for others, and love for learning. So while writing to Grandma will fulfill the need for writing, spelling and grammar lessons, it is most importantly a means of loving others. While painting is a wonderful creative thing for a preschooler to do, it is primarily a manifestation of the beauty that they Creator has instilled in the heart of a child. We learn to love God by all that is beautiful in this world. Learning plumbing is very useful life skill but is above all a method of being able to love and care for our family.
So, while not all days have this relaxed pace, and while it’s not all roses, (We have had the chance to learn about reacting with grace when our beads spill all over the floor this morning!) we are enjoying the day to day method to this madness. It reminds me of what I have been reading in Charlotte Mason’s books lately…
“Method implies two things – a way to an end, and step-by-step progress in that way. Further, the following of a method implies an idea, a mental image, of the end or object to be arrived at. What do you propose that education shall effect in and for your child? Again, method is natural; easy, yielding, unobtrusive, simple as the ways of Nature herself; yet, watchful, careful, all-pervading, all-compelling. Method, with the end of education in view, presses the most unlikely matters into service to bring about that end; but with no more tiresome mechanism that the sun employs when it makes the winds to blow and the waters to flow only by shining.” (Home Education, p. 8)
Friends, what do you purpose that education shall effect in and for your child? I hope that as you search out your purpose in education that you will find it as natural to learn together as a family as it is to enjoy the sun on your faces. We continue to strive for this depth and this simplicity rolled into one.