Tuesday, May 17, 2011

For the Children's Sake

My reading list has been rearranged a bit, but is coming along well! I will update it again soon, but I wanted to write some thoughts about one book, For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay.

God taught Seth and me a lot through the process of choosing the right education for our kids (home school, public school, or private school). We prayed and talked about this decision for about three years. This year, of course, we decided to send Isaac to a private school in Indianapolis. We are so thankful for God's leading and guidance. In my research of education, I was drawn to the methods of Charlotte Mason and the classical education, specifically The Well Trained Mind. For a more in-depth explanation on those methods, click on the links. I read almost everything out there on homeschooling and education and was drawn to Charlotte Mason and classical education, which are not always linked together (differences explained here). When Seth and I attended our first information session at The Oaks, the presenter explained that The Oaks uses Charlotte Mason methods, as well as being a Christian classical education school. As soon as we heard that, we knew God had led us to The Oaks. It still gives me goosebumps to think about. We have loved our first year at The Oaks and can't believe the year is almost over! Lord willing, we will send Isaac to 1st grade there in the fall, then the following year (2012-2013), Asher will start kindergarten there.

I have an interest in education because I want the best for my children. I want them to develop a love for learning and for God's creation. I want them to be excited about school. For me, those things are made possible through the methods explained above (Charlotte Mason and classical education). For my reading list this year, one book I chose was For the Children's Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School. The author, Macaulay, basically read the six-volume The Original Homeschooling Series (written by Charlotte Mason in the late 19th century) and applied the principles for modern times.

As this school year draws to an end, I wanted to be intentional over the summer vacation to continue the Charlotte Mason methods at home. Based on the principles in the book, here is what I plan to do this summer with the boys...
  1. Nature Walk - go to a park with plenty of trees to observe and explore. Purchase a quality artist's notebook and colored pencils for sketch time during/after the Nature Walk. I hope to do this weekly.
  2. Outdoor Play - plenty of time for free play out of doors, preferably in the back yard..and the swimming pool!
  3. Habit Training - continue The Oaks' habits at this age level of attention, obedience, and respect.
  4. Living Books - books that make kids excited to read! Read aloud to the boys daily. Read a few chapter books over the summer. Have Isaac read independently for 10 minutes (at least) a day.
  5. Narration - after reading a book, have the child tell the story back to you, with as much detail as possible.
I love that with this method, learning is not a task to be completed, but a way of life. Learning is not something you set aside a couple hours a day to do, but it is woven into each moment of the day. The result is a passion for life, learning, and the world around us. I hope it will keep the boys' minds active and engaged, rather than bored, which leads to fighting. I want to treasure each day with my boys and not wish the days away. I know these principles will help us to make the most of the summertime!

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