Touchstone: As a metaphor, a touchstone refers to any physical or intellectual measure by which the validity or merit of a concept can be tested. (Wikipedia 8/8/11)
I am thick into my school planning right now and I realized that I keep coming back to my touchstone…..well, one of my two touchstones, the first and foremost touchstone is Biblical and keeping a spiritual eye on all we learn and do. The second is more of a “how to” touchstone and is my interpretation of a Charlotte Mason style education….living books, lots of interaction with ideas, and narrating back in some fashion what is being learned.
This CM touchstone has helped me eliminate a lot of books, texts, and other activities that don’t fit that mold. What a relief to cut away all the fluff and busywork! As I look through each subject, carefully paging through the books and ideas for projects, I try to consider the learning style of my son and how best to use the books to help open up his thinking and to give him some ideas to ponder over. We are studying the 20th Century in history, literature, art, music, and science. We are looking for ways to connect these things together by using notebook pages and a really good timeline. Where the study will lead is up to his interests. I need to allow room for exploring the ideas and not just push through to a pre-planned finish (a test, an essay, or a project).
I feel a little like I am leaving myself open to missing “something” but with the added image in my mind of a touchstone…..I don’t feel like I am left dangling. I have a place to run to when I need encouragement, first to the Word of God and then to the goals we have set in place using the CM style of learning which include educating the whole child.
We have not been in too great a hurry to start official school work this year. Now that there are some plans down on paper though I realize that we will be ready to go when September 6th rolls around. The garden is starting to fade, I have very few sunflowers left in blossom and the veggies are slowing down. The leaves are beginning to rustle in the dry afternoon heat along with much cooler nights. We even had one morning this week that “felt” like fall. Now our thoughts can turn to school again.
Mr. B has been working on his juggling skills, his drawing, and still reading for many an hour on hot afternoons. I hate to disturb his summer too soon. The time is ticking on this last of my school age children and just like I savored Mr. A’s last year of homeschooling, I am trying to capture the last glows of homeschooling Mr. B. The dynamics of our household have changed dramatically in the last few months. This is not a bad thing but rather a new season of learning and living together.
My touchstone(s) have served me well and as I enter this new season I can’t help but be reminded of this scripture: Psalms 127:3-5….look it up and see if you don’t feel the same way as you look at your children.