Weekly Wrap-Up: Relationships

Shoshone Falls 2011
Summer Travel – Rainbows and Waterfalls in Idaho

“Children should have relationships with earth and water. They should run, jump, ride, swim, and establish the relationship that a maker has with material resources, and they should do this with as many kinds of material resources as possible. They should have treasured intimate relationships with people, through face to face talking, through reading stories or poems, seeing pictures or sculpture, through finding flinthead arrows and being around cars. They should be familiar with animals, birds, plants and trees. Foreign people and their languages shouldn’t be something unknown to them. And, most important of all, they should discover that the most intimate and highest of all relationships–the relationship to God–fulfills their entire being.”
Volume 3 page 209

As December is winding down, it is a time for reflection on the past twelve months. I turn the pages in my calendar and remember the family time, the learning time, and the traveling with sweet sweet memories. It is easy to set aside the negative things but not before meditating on how we could handle things to make them better the next time. Even trials, the kind we have no power over, make us stronger if we allow them to shape our hearts, drawing us closer to God. I am trying to learn lessons from both the good and the bad and to embrace the power that comes from giving thanks for it all. Difficult things are a part of life and one of the best things we can teach our children is how to handle those situations with grace.

Yosemite 2011
The Making of a Video – Yosemite National Park

I think this year has been the closest I have come to meeting the goals that Charlotte Mason talked about in the quote above. I have made plans and those plans have gone differently than I expected. I made goals for my boys and they have come to me asking for different goals which means regrouping. I had my heart set on certain books and curricula but they didn’t mesh with the learning styles of my boys. What made me feel successful? My boys have developed relationships with their learning, building on their strengths and personal goals. I feel successful because I was willing to let go of my expectations and now I can see how their way was much better.

The little voice of insecurity whispered in my ear many times in the last year….Will they learn what they need to? Am I allowing too much freedom? Do they need to learn to stick to something when it isn’t right because that is the “real” world? Should they do what everyone else is doing? Can they learn things on their own and do I trust them?

Do I trust them? That is a big question.

If you have done the groundwork and showed them how to learn, they will learn everything they need to learn in a way that makes sense to them. This may be from a book, Wikipedia, the library, a friend or mentor, or from you. They will come to you when they need you. They ask questions that you do not know the answer to but you can help guide them to finding the answer.

Northern California Coast Lupine in Bloom
Northern California Coast – Summer Wildflowers

If you have given them a love for learning you will not be able to stop them from learning. It will be like eating and breathing, like an irresistible magnetic force, like the force of gravity. They will have a thirst for the answer to the question.

If you feed them with interesting thoughts and ideas, there is no way they cannot be engaged. An idea comes up and they drop everything to chase that idea until they are satisfied. This can be inside or outside of school hours…it begins to blur and their is no straight line. This sort of learning is messy and hard to record in a logbook. This kind of learning does not happen inside the walls of a public school because it would be chaos. At home we can allow room for chasing ideas, actually encouraging it as a way of life. It is very human to question, think, try, struggle, rethink, and conclude. We were created to be that way.

Conches and literature
Observing and sketching shells for literature? Works for me.

So what did we think about and struggle with this week?

  • Man’s Inhumanity to Man – Grapes of Wrath essay….almost finished.
  • House of Seven Gables – reading and starting a follow-up essay.
  • Human Anatomy – learning the skeletal system and wondering how he will ever remember all the names of all the bones. I told him learn one at a time and he laughed.
  • Lord of the Flies – symbolism of the conch. Mr. B drew in a nature study with this one and it made my heart happy.
  • Flu Epidemic of 1918 – both from historical and scientific perspectives. Fascinating!
  • Cubism research and Stravinsky listening.
  • Learning how to change the oil in the car.
Family Vacation Tahoe 2011
Capture it quick! All four children cooking me dinner on a family trip to the mountains.

Go ahead…comment on how grown up they all are. I see it in the image and I still can’t believe it. What did they fix? Pasta with meat sauce and freshly grated mizithra, huge green salad, garlic bread, and for the adults Mr. D brought a bottle of fabulous red wine. Sweet times, wishing we could have more of them but soon we will be sharing with others as they form their own relationships and families. What a thought that is! So full of possibilities.

2011 has been a year of changes and growth for all of us. 2012 promises to bring even more change….learning to be flexible and see the relationships build.

If you enjoyed this post, you may like to read this series of posts:
Homeschooling Without Feeling Overwhelmed

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