I have to confess... my contact lenses are bugging me and I have a headache and the last thing I want to do right now is blog. BUT... I am going to do it because if I miss a week of recapping our homeschool it is a slippery slope towards abandoning my efforts to keep this record. I don't want to do that. So, here goes.
This past week I took a bit of a leap of faith from just reading educational philosophy to actually applying some of it. Specifically, I chose to start a biography with Aiden as part of our morning routine. This may not sound like a big deal, but I admit that up until we started reading I had my doubts. I chose a biography of John James Audubon, because nature study is something that Aiden has always loved. I did not look for a "children's" book, but instead just checked out a normal biography. The language is lovely, and I am enjoying it quite a bit. However, I wondered if Aiden would really get anything out of it.
I suppressed my urge to stop every few words to define things and "teach" concepts, and instead just let the book flow as the author intended. In keeping with the ideas of Charlotte Mason, I kept our reading to a chapter at a time and followed the chapter with Aiden giving a brief narration of what we read. According to her educational philosophy, if you provide a child with quality material to think about, their brain will continue to be fed long after a chapter is read. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to see that very thing happening. For days, Aiden has been randomly asking questions about different things from previous readings. One thing in particular that has captured his imagination and kept him thinking is being introduced to the idea of quicksand. There were questions for days, with a final resolution of sorts for him that when exploring you should always travel with a buddy and carry a long rope, ha! He has moved on now to other ideas, but that quicksand thing will forever be an important moment for me because it was such a minor part of what we read but his brain took it and ran with it.
While the fact that he grabbed onto an idea like that from the biography we are reading is interesting, I am also increasingly excited by the retention of ideas I am seeing by using this approach to history with Story of the World. I love how much he continues to recall about the nomads we have studied, and I love even more when I see it cross over the boundary from "school" to play when he is digging canals to irrigate like the first farmers did. I love that I don't have to teach as much as simply learn with him. I love seeing him draw connections between things we are learning that might not otherwise come together. Like how the Israelites were also nomads, for example. I know that helping him learn to investigate and really think about things is so valuable, especially in our age of endless information. Google can answer questions of fact in no time, but developing a love of learning and the ability to reason that is grounded in a desire to know the One who created all things is invaluable. What a blessing I have been given to be able to facilitate this journey. And what a huge responsibility.
Another concept I have been sorting out, through the books I am reading and the podcast I have been listening to, is the idea that each child is born a person with a purpose and unique perspective. This does not mean that we bow to the whims of the child, or allow them to overindulge in the mind's equivalent of "junk food". It is my job to provide quality literature, music, art, etc. that allow Aiden to grow in his own way and at his own pace, but there also still needs to be structure and routine in our day. There are skills to be mastered and habits to be developed. Recognizing a child's complete personhood (as opposed to the idea that they are merely vessels to fill or clay to mold) does not mean making them the center of the universe. We do not cater to the every desire of the adults in our life, and so treating a child in that way would be a disservice.
So anyhow, lots of growth for me as a home educator this week for sure. As far as other highlights from the week:
- Aiden particularly loved a math lesson this week that had him creating a triangle from different combinations of shapes. I know a lesson is good when he wants to do it again later just for fun!
- I am kind of blown away by how quickly he is picking up chess. Granted, I am way out of practice and to be completely honest I didn't think I needed to try too hard while playing... but he almost beat me in our first game! Ha!
- I am excited to see him doing well with his piano lessons again. I still need to really focus on being consistent in reminding him to practice... when his success depends partly on my discipline in making something happen it is not always easy for me.
- Matt was excited to start reading Ralph S. Mouse with bubs this week. It is fun to share things we loved as kids ourselves with our child!
- It continues to be a huge blessing to have Grandma around as another adult interested in his education. I love hearing them chat about things, and he is always learning from her!
- School is going way better this year in general. I really can't quite get over how much so. I keep thinking I must be missing something! No day is perfect, but I am seeing so much more enthusiasm for things overall (instead of just excitement for the parts that are his favorite) and it is a huge encouragement to me.
Considering I didn't really want to blog tonight, that sure is a lot of words! Ha! I am definitely glad I sat down to record some things. Week 3 was a great one! I look forward to seeing what Week 4 brings!
, by Branson Merrill