“The question is not, –how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education–but how much does he care? …how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and therefore, how full is the life he has before him?”
–Charlotte M. Mason
There is no perfect method for teaching all children, because like stars, snowflakes and grains of sand, each individual is unique.
Some philosophies of education focus on information: places, dates, facts and rote memorization, which can be useful, but information is not education. Information may help provide food for the body, but real education is food for the soul.
The object of education is to open doors in the mind, to empower each student with tools to develop and employ his or her personal gifts by enlarging “the room in which the student stands” –connecting the student with original thought, creativity and real interaction with the world and with God.
Which teaching style will work best for you and your children? Here are some great, and varied, home education models: Unschooling; A Thomas Jefferson Education; The Noah Plan; Classical Education; Charlotte Mason; Abeka. I explored all of these and more and decided that, although all had merit, none was perfect for me, for every child or for every season. Using a single curriculum or philosophy seemed restrictive and lacking in spontaneity. So, instead, I have used elements of all of these, creating my own eclectic style, adjusting it with each child to fill their varied needs.
Let your understanding of your child and your personal circumstances guide you. Don’t take on a program that is so intense that you or your children begin to hate learning. Be flexible and realize that children learn and explore every day. A day of story time, play time or nature time can be the perfect day.
- create fertile ground for learning by nurturing creativity and imagination through art, music, stories, playtime, foods and nature
- give each child the tools to learn: reading, writing, arithmetic
- “feed the fire” –spend extra time on things that the child is interested in or needs to build confidence in
- enlarge the horizon by exploring as much of the world as possible through living real life and reading living books
- build relationships
- do it all in a way that is workable for me
- Enjoy the journey!