Sunday, February 9, 2020

"The Tower of Lon-geon"

Proud Charlotte Mason mama moment: 

When your daughter, during free time, creates a “Tower of Lon-geon” (London + dungeon) out of Lego, complete with 2 hangings and Good Queen Bess locked inside! Also, it is a working candy dispenser!! 

High marks for creativity and historical content. 

Overheard the same afternoon:

J: Is that Queen Mary?
A: Yes.
J: Are you going to hang her?
A: No. Well, actually yes.
J: Yeah, she's Bloody Mary.
A: Actually I'll put her in the Tower. ... This is Good Queen Bess over here. 

Why I can't get this kind of detail in required narrations I don't know, but it's heartening to know it's in their brains somewhere! :D 

Saturday, February 8, 2020

A Large Room: Reviving Neglected Corners

This blog has been on my mind lately. I've neglected it, due in some part to lack of inspiration or purpose. Many days I have the urge to share an aspect of our home education journey, or capture a small moment of our home life. I haven't known what to do with them, or perhaps how to frame them.

When I first started this blog, I was a newlywed, living in a tiny apartment over a clothing store on a historic Ontario mainstreet. The name "Little Hearth" came from my desire to kindle a meaningful and beautiful home life, no matter how small our space.

Once we moved to Prince Edward Island, got a bit of land and a big old house, had a few kids, and started homeschooling, I expanded the name to "Little Hearth and Homestead." We were trying our hand at some basic homesteading activities - chickens, gardening, pigs. We enjoyed those things, but I find our focus has now shifted. The "Homestead" part of the name didn't fit into my big picture in the same way, at least in terms of blogging. "Little Hearth" on its own didn't quite do the trick either.

What next?

Well, I've been reading Karen Glass' book Consider This, a treatment of Charlotte Mason's place in the tradition of classical education. Today I read in Chapter 5 about Mason's "science of relations," which has to do with her "captain idea" of synthetic thinking - the ability to place things and thoughts within a wider picture of the world. It's all about the student forming relationships within an interconnected, ordered whole.

Glass quotes a paragraph by Mason which I've read before, but which met me today with a certain freshness. This is it:

"Children make large demands upon us. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests. 'Thou has set my feet in a large room,' should be the glad cry of every intelligent soul. Life should be all living, and not merely a tedious passing of time; not all doing or all feeling or all thinking - the strain would be too great - but all living; that is to say, we should be in touch wherever we go, whatever we hear, whatever we see, with some manner of vital interest. We cannot give the children these interests; we prefer that should never say they have learned botany or conchology, geology or astronomy. The question is not, - how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education - but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he find his feet set? and therefore, how full is the life he has before him?" 

(Charlotte Mason, School Education, p. 170-71)

This is what captured me - the large room. What a beautiful picture for the goal set before us. As soon as I read it, I scribbled a note in the margin of the book: Little Hearth & Large Room.

Little Hearth - I am still one small woman, striving to kindle and tend the flame of our home life. A life sparked by God's own love and goodness, a life which provides warmth and cheer for our family, a life that may bring light to others.

Large Room - This is the spacious place God has, in his grace, given us to roam. This is what education is all about - preparing and inviting our children to participate in the fullest life possible. This is our humble effort to implement the universal principles Charlotte Mason was so adept at expressing.

So it is with these thoughts in mind that I am reviving this corner of the blogosphere. It is a continuation of what has gone before, with hopes of sharing more living yet to come.

"He brought me out into a spacious place; 
he rescued me because he delighted in me."
Psalm 18:19

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