Saturday, June 19, 2010
The gold on the blog represents virtue.
I don't plan on posting much here any more. I have already written 11 essays on the new blog. There are a couple that are old essays that I copied over.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
When I think about quaint I think about the authors Louisa Mae Alcott and Jean Stratton Porter. They wrote quaint stories right? I've never liked their books because they were quaint. What is it about quaint with me? I've read Laddie three times in an effort to like quaint books. I've read multiple Porter books and multiple Alcott books. I've read the books were they go through the Indiana marshes (or whatever they were) and found moths. I read an entire book on moth collecting!! I read Little Men and all the boys were so perfect and never didn't anything wrong. The little ones cooked "cakes and pies" in their little oven in the toy room. Is that what it means to be quaint? I've tried to like them, but they are just so......well, quaint!
The online dictionary says:
Quaint–adjective, -er, -est.
1. having an old-fashioned attractiveness or charm; oddly picturesque: a quaint old house.
2. strange, peculiar, or unusual in an interesting, pleasing, or amusing way: a quaint sense of humor.
3. skillfully or cleverly made.
4. obsolete . wise; skilled.
I like old-fashioned things, but I'm not big on quaint old-fashioned things. Perhaps I see quaint as having things a little to perfect and everyone just a little to happy. That's not good though. We want perfect and happy. What is my problem?
My problem is that I really don't like Porter and Alcott's books and I'm worried that I'm going to have to all of a sudden like them. I like Austen, Glaskell, and Montgomery though.Quaint.
What am I going to do?
Back to the point. I've been reading Charlotte Mason's Original works. (Lazy can be really pushy that way sometimes). I've wanted to buy them for years, but have never gotten around to it. Remember they are on one of the recommended reading lists in the back of the TJEd book.
I have had "aha" after "aha" with these books. I wish I had read them BEFORE I had children. This was the owner's manual I was always wishing I had. I will make sure Olivia does a through study of them before she becomes a mom though. Lots of gems in those books. I could write for years on some of my thoughts from them and I've only read two of them.
Last night I was finishing up book two. I sure wish every adult would read book two. They sum up one of my husband's campaign points, "The Family is the First Sovereign Unit of Society." That's one of the "truth's that we hold self-evident" or at least we should, but everyone seems to be forgetting. All of a sudden parents aren't capable of making choices for their family.....I digress again....
A couple of months ago there was a heated topic in "The Great Debate/Conversation" about why we all wanted "the best" for our children. Wouldn't it be more realistic to be happy with good and better things and not be so fixated on the best? I maintain that having the best in our family should be our ideal. Sometimes that means letting go of some really good things. Sometimes that makes us look weird. Sometimes that even challenges our thought process. Sometimes we have to do hard things. We've all read Elder Oaks extensively in that discussion. He says our ideal should be the best.
Moving on to Charlotte though. I discovered some quotes from Charlotte Mason about the very same topic. Here are her two bits:
"Children must be Nurtured on the Best. ...They must grow up upon the best. There must never be a period in heir lives when they are allowed to read or listen to twaddle or reading-made-easy. There is never a time when they are unequal to worthy thoughts, well put; inspiring tales, well told...and we shall train a race of readers who will demand literature-that is, the fit and beautiful expression of inspiring ideas and pictures of life." Book 2, "Parents and Children" pg.263.
"Children must have the Best Books. One more thing is of vital importance; children must have books, living books; the best are not too good for them; anything less than the best is not good enough; and if it is needful to exercise economy, let go everything that belongs to soft and luxurious living before letting go the duty of supplying the books, and the frequent changes of books, which are necessary for the constant stimulation of the child's intellectual life." Book 2, "Parents and Children" pg. 279.
Thank you Charlotte. You bring up some excellent points.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
The first time I read headgates (thank you very much Karen for posting about it right after the Forum), I was blown away with truth. Some of the specific examples I thought were a little extreme, but I loved the concepts and the principles. (I'm all for great ideas!) I felt strongly that she taught truth. Truth and principles that I could take and interpret within my own sphere.
I applied many truths she talked about, adapted to fit our home and our personalities.
STEP 1: We got rid of a lot of stuff. We removed clothes, shoes, sheets, wall hangings, decorations, dishes, spatulas, a computer, piano books, office supplies (like paper clips! - we had a lot), movies, and LOTS and LOTS of toys and books. I think we removed 50% of our stuff. Really.
STEP 2: We stoped certain activities. We classified toys and tools. Office supplies were used for legitimate projects. Building tools were used for legitimate projects. The computer became a tool and not a toy. Food became a tool not a toy. Movies were not to be watched unless they served a purpose and usually only if the entire family participated.
STEP 3: We instituted work time. We taught our children how to work. We began to expect them to do hard things. We expected them to do more than do the dishes after dinner or take out the trash. They learned to work hard for three hours straight. They learned how to clean toilets, do entire loads of laundry start to finish, make bread, vacuum, deep clean, dust, make dinner, serve people, move lots of wood on our land, and numerous other outdoor work projects. They learned to not whine. We taught them to return and report. We taught them to be responsible for their stewardships.
STEP 4: We gave them free time. Before we had randomness. Now we had work time and play time (or free time).
STEP 5: We changed to all lifeless toys. After a month or two we decided to go further down the path. We removed every last Lego, lightsaber and other "follow the instruction" toy. (We just put them in the shed until the experiment was over). We said we'd just do it for a month to just "see" what would happen. We moved the boys all into one room and made a playroom that was only filled with those toys.
STEP 6: Three months later. Let's evaluate. That's were I'm at right now. We really did all the things she said in her ebook (not her FAQ page-I think some are not right for our family. Just the same way I don't believe some of the ingredients are right for our family. But I've still taken truth out of it with out having a panic attack about the rest).
Evaluate. Yes. Let us do that. The scriptures say, "by their fruits ye shall know them." We had a really good home before. We had really good kids before, and I was was a really good mom. (Alex has always been great. I'm extremely biased). Now? We have great kids. We have great kids that work their guts out and are growing up to be real men that can take care of their families. We have a daughter that's growing up to be an amazing women. We have great kids that aren't bored. We have great kids that have amazing imaginations and can make all sorts of creations out of sticks and twine. We have great kids that don't whine when we ask them to fold the laundry. We have great kids that are respectful to us. They recognize where they are in our family structure and they embrace it. They know each of roles and they respect each one of us in our individual spheres. The 'me' culture seems to be getting driven out of our lives.
I personally, don't think that I have ever truly felt more peace and happiness in our family structure. Our home as become a heaven on earth. There are few worldly distractions and we pursue wholesome activities that we find joy in. The desire to have fun has been replaced with a desire to enjoy things.
About the books. Our children have come to cherish their free time. They spent a lot of time playing but they spend a lot of time choosing to read also. It is not uncommon to see Jared on the couch reading a 500 page book, Olivia in her room reading Cicero (or some other meaty read), Luke to be reading a Shakespeare play (abridged), or Caleb writing a story in his story book. Really. They didn't do that before. And really, they are happy.
About the Lego's. Yes, I'm going to bring the Lego's back. However, they are going to stay in the shed outside. If they want to play with them they have to go and get them. They have to act for themselves and not be acted upon (thank you Misty). They may then play with them and then they will return them to the shed. They can of course pursue this activity during free time. My older two boys have enough Lego hours saved up in their little minds to last a couple kids' lifetimes.
It seems hard to image that our life could be so drastically different for the better. We were a really good family before. We were always vigilant on our movies and entertainment. We had strict Wii 30 min time limits. We never let them read trash, no graphic novels, and a host of other books that I considered not worth reading. We went from good and better to best. And that has made all the difference in the world.
By their fruits ye shall know them. Yes, it is truth for us. We are grateful for great people that share their ideas and thoughts.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
On Monday morning each family member sets from 1 to 3 goals. These goals are of the individuals own choosing. Goals set this week included:
- Read one chapter in Robinson Crusoe
- Practice the piano every day for 30 minutes
- Work on 4 and 5 multiplication tables
- Schedule swimming lessons
- Order more campaign banners
We find that this creates unity. Each family member is encouraging of each others progress. If someone struggled to obtain a goal we work with them on how to set a more realistic goal for the next week. We only accomplish about 2/3 of our goals in a week. But we each continue to work on and improve. We aren't interested in perfection only progression.
I also wanted to add that I know that "goal setting" is typically considered a scholar activity. However each person pursues goals based on their phase (or grade/age). We use phases in our family, shocking I know. Caleb, who is still solidly in core (with no intention of leaving anytime soon!), sets goals like: brush my teeth at night, take a bath every night, do my jobs without whining, etc. His goals are very much "core phase" goals. Jared and Luke's are directed towards love of learning goals. Olivia makes scholar goals; read 100 pages in 1776, write and essay about Dolly Madison, answer questions from my mentor about Plutarch, etc. Mine revolve around Mentored Scholar/Depth. And finally Alex's revolve around Mission phase; read incumbents voting record on public education, create an 'issues page' for campaign website, practice speech, reread Proper Role of Government, etc.
We have been successfully engaging in goal setting as a family since January and have found that it is a worthwhile part of our family time.