It’s ironic that I missed my weekly wrap-up this week given that this is wrap-up week for most of our school work. The kids are still completing math and science work, but we devoted all of the other time to completing year-end projects. Each of the kids has a topic that they select from this year’s studies, and they expand on it to pull together a full-length paper and/or exhibit. This year, our son was intrigued with P.T. Barnum and why his circus, especially given his questionable start (cheating people by leading them out of exit doors, which meant they had to pay to get back in), was so popular. This question led him on a journey to discover American life in the 1800’s and what types of entertainment were popular. The oldest chose to expand on the suffrage movement, introducing her to a group of wonderful women–and men–who fought overwhelming odds to gain equal rights and privileges. The point of the paper is to learn to research information and use reference materials. It’s also neat to see what peaks their interest as they decide what they’re going to research. They pick their topics in January, which is probably a bit unfair since we’ve only covered a little over ½ the year’s work. Yet, they have plenty of time to meet interim deadlines for defining their topic, gathering research, etc. I think they enjoy seeing their final projects emerge from drafted intro statements and index cards as well.
Did anyone see Lindafay’s “Ask and It Will Be Given to You” post recently? You can view it here, if you wish. Her post, in essence, thanked God for the Charlotte Mason approach and what it has done for her family and her home. What intrigued me, however, based upon where we’ve been, were a couple of key statements:
‘I had no idea it could be this easy, that it would be this rewarding and produce children so enjoyable to be with, who feel at home with the aged, the learned, as well as the young and the ignorant. ‘
I’ll come back to this at another time, but suffice it to say that since my post on friendship I’ve been thinking long and hard about the number of
parents adults who have children who have totally abandoned their responsibilities.
This was where I wanted to go. From her same blog entry:
‘Music, art, animals, nature, politics, literature, poetry, equations, Rome, Iceland, Ireland, the moors, the sea, metropolises, machinery, the universe, the past, the poor, royalty, Heaven and earth…you name it, they have dipped their hands in the chest and pulled out something of value as they have explored truth and beauty in the world around them.’
Wow. I’ll confess that I never thought about the Charlotte Mason approach specifically as an answer to prayer, although, undoubtedly, this method has had added an immeasurable richness to our school day and in our home. Yet, what immediately hit me as I saw it in black in white is the number of places our own studies have allowed us to go, whether we’ve been there physically or not. You can hear our kids’ “travels” in their conversations. The “trips” they take don’t leave them bogged down with T-shirts, caps, and photos that cry out from the dust to be placed in an album, but indelible impressions are left upon their minds after every journey.
In our effort to get financially back on track and take care of all of our home repairs, we have decided that we will not travel as much this year as we have in previous years. The superhero is hating being “grounded” even more than I am. However, after reading this portion of LindaFay’s post, I am re-energized about where we’ll go this fall. Both our girls will tour ancient Greece and ancient Rome extensively, and the oldest will have a brief stint in China. Though most curriculum publishers don’t think it important, our world tour wouldn’t be the same without checking in on Africa–Egypt as well as other countries. Aesop, Josephus, Archimedes, Pompeii, the Great Wall of China, Hercules, Gilgamesh, Homer, Virgil? The girls will see them all. Our son will remain between the Asian and African continents for the bulk of his year. Mary Slessor, David Livingstone, Mother Teresa, Johannesburg, Gandhi, the Mongols, and Louis Braille are all awaiting our R.S.V.P.s. We’ll use Tanglewood, Great Books, Apologia and Sonlight, primarily, to get there, but it is already promising to be a fun ride.
Where are you headed next school year?