Monday, April 25, 2011

Nothing Like Gladness

I wrote at the end of March my constant springtime re-awakening of anything written by Charlotte Mason and how a meat-and-bones skeleton of her teaching pedagogy glues very well onto my family's unschooling spine.

This week we left the harry of our life, that towering plunge of school books (the one I circused into our homeschool), and a million little "good" things that now seem so trivial since we aren't in the mist of them.

We are where the winds toss boats and there are diamonds on the lake. We are where family gathers in a circle and communal cooking is norm. Where kids get dirty with sidewalk chalk and mud baths and it's totally ok.

 We've walked every day to the lakeside, a cascade of cousins to join us.
And through a friend, Charlotte Mason whispers: ". . . Never be within doors when you can rightly be without. Besides, the gain of an hour or two in the open air, there is this to be considered: meals taken al fresco are usually joyous, and there is nothing like gladness for converting meat and drink into healthy blood and tissue. All the time, too, the children are storing up memories of a happy childhood." --19th-century English educator Charlotte Mason

Homemade fishing poles complete with Cheeto fishing bait are part of this.

 As is the engineering and construction of dams and ports and city walls.

And making crabby-patties and clay cakes because cooking meals is as important as constructing bridges.

"Into all our lives, in many simple, familiar, homely ways, God infuses this element of joy from the surprises of life, which unexpectedly brighten our days and fill our eyes with light." ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Small, simple, familiar, homely things such as bubble wands and wind which spin and string many miles of bubbled fun.

And cousins just being together.

"If we are children of God, we have a tremendous treasure in nature and will realize that it is holy and sacred. We will see God reaching out to us in every wind that blows, every sunrise and sunset, every cloud in the sky, every flower that blooms, and every leaf that fades." ~ Oswald Chambers 
 "Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

It is good for all of us, not just our students, to "sit down quietly" at times so that the butterflies of happiness may alight upon us and we can go back into the world that does not often sit still yet keep a part of ourselves generated with faith and happiness and motivated by joy.

"I often think flowers are the angels' alphabet whereby they write on hills and fields mysterious and beautiful lessons for us to feel and learn." ~ Louisa May Alcott

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