Thursday, September 4, 2014

For the Days When I Need Some New Habits & a Tour of our School Room

  "The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days;  while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with her children. Is she never to be at ease with her own children?"

These were the words with which I was first introduced to Miss Charlotte Mason.

I longed for the 'smooth and easy days' she described in such a clear way.
Days filled with the best books, the best minds, a sumptuous feast for the soul.
Art, music, poetry, and nature study added to the beauty of it all.

But I soon found a flaw in Miss Mason's ideal.......
well, not exactly in her idea,
but in me.
My children needed these 'good habits', but so did I.
And let me tell you, Mama learning a whole new way of doing things isn't the easiest thing in the world.

It has been almost a year since our bouncing, baby Mackay was born.
As much as I love her, it has been a bit of a wild ride since she arrived.
With a two year old and a newborn,
our school year, and yes, our life,
have been busy, frantic, frustrating, and ovewhelming
at various intervals on different days.
Not the 'smooth and easy days" I'd envisioned.

As I began preparing for our new school year with a cloud of apprehension hanging over my head and a growing fear in my heart, I realized that the hope for this school year had to begin with me.
I was the one who needed the training first.
Education is an atmosphere, and if I wasn't exhaling that truth, my children wouldn't be inhaling it either.

Listening ~
As I sit to plan our first term, I begin with a routine, a rhythm.
Our loving Father mandates that our globe spins on its center, and He has made us, His creatures to do the same.
My morning must start with Him.
Word First.
My children need this, too.
How can I expect their day to turn rightly without Him?
So we choose to make the time for Him before our day spins out of control.

Love ~
We take the second step for the day:  a prayer for God's help to love Him with all our being, and to love our neighbor as ourself.
This is a truth I must continually return to throughout the day, and usually I must lead my children back to this thought over and over again.
As I mother these babes, I must constantly sacrifice my desires, my wants, my time.
I choose to love in dying to myself.

Labor ~
As our day begins to speed up, we must make the time for work.
We will work with our hands and feet, reveling in the strength that God has blessed us with.
We will take the time to clean and straighten, wash and scrub, put away and pick up.
My mind can think better when there is no clutter to distract;
I crave things decently and in order.

Loveliness ~
As we move to our learning time, we will make time to appreciate the beautiful.
Because the Beautiful One made it.
We can see small glimpses of Him in poetry, music, art, nature.
He gives us a guide for what we should think on {Philippians 4:8}.
In our sinful world, I must make the effort for my sake and my children's to think on the good.
And on the days that aren't pretty, I have a reserve supply: quiet calming snippets of beauty to dwell on.

Literature ~
We will read the best books.
And I, the Mama, will make sure that I read them, too.
Education doesn't end when a certificate is in hand.
I must make the effort to read that which is worth reading....
things to challenge, things to enjoy, things to make me think.

Language ~
As my children learn, I will not only talk; I will listen.
My children will work on putting things their own way, using their words, their own thoughts.
I must be willing to turn off my endless chore list running through my head, and listen to what they are learning.
I will strive to speak properly, and I will work to speak wisely.
I must desire a tongue that obeys the law of kindness.

Logic ~
I will make time for the harder subjects for my children's sake.
I determine that when our world is rocking precariously, I won't pitch the heavier things overboard.
I will be disciplined enough to practice the math, and explore the science, and give my children time to reason through things.
I will give them space to grow their minds with the things that challenge them.
I will endeavor to be patient, even when I want them to just "hurry up and give an answer already!"

Live ~
My goal is for our us to live and learn together.
Really, the true learning doesn't come from the books, it comes from living it all out together.
And so I will strive to linger and enjoy the moment.
I will remind myself to laugh, and rejoice in the now.
And the Lord of Life, He will make it full, and good, and perfect in the way only He can.

These are my thoughts, my goals, my desires as we prepare to begin this amazing, crazy thing called homeschooling again.
This has been mostly for my own benefit ~ a place to work out what I truly desire our home education to look like, but if you've set some things down that you desire to change as we jump into "school time" again, I'd love to hear them!

* These thoughts were originally inspired by Ann Voskamp here.
   Photo credit for the ladder picture belongs to
   If you would like the second printable, please go to Ann Voskamp's free printable library.


  1. You and I have similar goals and heart, it seems. :) I struggle with the waiting for them to get it at times, and I know if we don't start with prayer and God, the day ends in disaster - always! Thanks for speaking to my heart, Patty, and I will be praying for you all as you begin your new school year. Love you and miss you all!

  2. Thanks for a peek into life in Ghana!

  3. So many beautiful thoughts about how to create a nurturing and inspiring home and learning environment!