It’s that familiar time of year again; the hedgerow berries are turning from red to black, the swallows are silent as they retreat back to Africa and my body and soul are eager to find that familiar, comforting rhythm of routine. I can smell Autumn in the air through the last attempts of a British summer and I’m starting to put my youngest two children to bed in the calming dusk light again. As much as I’m clinging onto the summer nights and late mornings I’m also ready to begin our happy habits of pencils and poetry around pots of tea.
I’m not much of a curriculum hunter; in fact I’ve never bought curriculum per se in our 8 years of home educating but I do plan; I shop for second-hand living books and draw up a schedule of learning for each child (whether we stick to it or not is another thing!). I feel accomplished and satisfied with my perpetual planning and look ahead to that all important first September morning when breakfast is served with a smile, classic FM is gently playing in the living room and the books for the day are piled high on the table.
But as we all know from the trenches of this parenting journey the ‘perfectly’ planned day can turn with an unexpected fever, a broken night’s sleep, a pre-teen clash of agenda’s or you catch the curve of a hormonal roller coaster; yep – we’ve all been there and I’m sure we’ll be there again!
The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom – Henry Ward Beecher
As Mr. Beecher puts it so beautifully; actually, when it comes down it to it, it’s not the seamlessly sharpened pencils or the record-breaking research into the most up to date learning tools that win our children’s attention – it’s our hearts, our attitudes and our very present lives that hold theirs.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Psalm 139:5, The Bible
It’s that unshakeable rock that we build our lives and convictions upon that enables us to press that all important ‘reset’ button and see greatness in every broken and imperfect day. His story becomes our story and our story becomes theirs – if we chose to embrace Jesus, then we’re hemmed in on every side.
Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life – Charlotte Mason
In our hurry to fill our Ikea cupboards with art supplies and realms of paper, in our eagerness to line our shelves with books and pinterest printables, have we forgotten to prepare our hearts? Charlotte Mason challenges us as parents to evaluate the ideas that rule our lives and whether we like it or not, those ideas play a big role in what our children learn from us
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light – Matthew 11:30, The Bible
The atmosphere we create in our homes and learning environments, the discipline and daily rhythm of our lives and the constant devotional beat beneath our feet is the foundation of why and how our children learn at home. If my children delve into the depths of my heart to learn, love and live then that is what I must cultivate first.
What you say flows from what is in your heart. Luke 6:45, The Bible
In part 2 I’ll be sharing my 3 top tips for cultivating the heart so watch this space homeschooling mama…