It’s a strange season of life I find myself in.
Having been home schooled all of my life, I’m pretty comfortable in the homeschool world. When someone talks about curriculum, different methods of homeschooling, and varying thoughts on scheduling, I nod my head in understanding. As a high schooler I read “A Charlotte Mason Companion” as I was so interested in the Charlotte Mason way of teaching. I was convinced that I would be the perfectCharlotte Mason homeschool mom, with all my little students gathered around me in a lovely little homeschool room complete with our schedule on the wall and my perfectly compiled homeschooling notebook. It sounded like a perfectly lovely way to spend my days.
Hah! With five young children surrounding me, I’ve woken up to reality.
In truth, I spend most of my days juggling teacher manuals trying to find what page I’m on, three children asking me all at once to “come help me mama”, the toddler is at the kitchen counter eating a stick of butter (why do all my children like to eat butter?), the baby needs nursed, it’s 11:00 and we are only on our first lesson. My homeschool room is our dining room, which normally is full of crumbs under the table, and laundry that is spilling out of our laundry room onto our dining room floor. The Charlotte Mason idea is a dream in my head as we open a textbook which I have a love/hate relationship with.
I was the youngest of three children and spent my high school years alone with my mom. Life was quieter and slower. My mom needed a quiet house with her illness, and as children we learned to adjust to that. With five children eight and under life is anything but quiet now.
I’ll be honest and say it’s been a real struggle lately. School has lost it’s joy and has become more of a drudgery routine that we must endure. I have a child who does not like math, language arts, well, basically anything involving a textbook he does not like. It’s not that he can’t do it, it’s just not his favorite thing to do, and he lets me know this frequently. I finally woke up recently and realized something had to change. I couldn’t just keep forcing the textbooks without adding some joy into our school again.
After searching online, I’m delighted to have discovered Heart of Dakota curriculum. It seems like the best of both worlds! It is a christian curriculum based on Charlotte Mason with lots of reading – which will interest my oldest who adores to read. Normally curriculums that involve a lot of living books clash with my list of what is acceptable for our family. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that almost every book that is on the Heart of Dakota’s reading schedule will pass my approval! I’m very excited to start this and create a fun school atmosphere for my children again. I also am aware that if my mom was still alive she would totally support me using this curriculum, and that is nice to know.
My goal in teaching my children is not just that they will learn how to read and write. I want them to love to read and write.
“The most common and the monstrous defect in the education of the day is that children fail to acquire the habit of reading.”
― Charlotte Mason
I want them to truly have a love of learning, a passion for life, and a desire to serve God through the things they learn.
“This idea of all education springing from and resting upon our relation to Almighty God-we do not merely give a religious education because that would seem to imply the possibility of some other education, a secular education, for example. But we hold that all education is divine, that every good gift of knowledge and insight comes from above, that the Lord the Holy Spirit is the supreme educator of mankind, and that the culmination of all education (which may at the same time be reached by a little child) is that personal knowledge of and intimacy with God in which our being finds its fullest perfection.”
― Charlotte Mason