Monday, August 10, 2015

Working Days

It's really striking to me as I read through Charlotte Mason's Volume 1 again that different ideas are speaking to me. I know this because I underlined many things last time through, and this time I'm underlining different things.

Today I underlined this quote, because it reminds me of why I work so hard with SA(7) and why I make him work hard, too.
"Do not let the children pass a day without distinct efforts, intellectual, moral, volitional; let them brace themselves to understand; let them compel themselves to do and to bear; and let them do right at the sacrifice of ease and pleasure: and this for many higher reasons, but, in the first and lowest place, that the mere physical organ of mind and will may grow vigorous with work." (Vol. 1, p. 22)
I have to admit that I've been struggling a bit with the workload of Ambleside Online's Year Two. SA is a normal seven-year-old boy who is sometimes resistant to work. The habit of paying complete attention and narration are hard work! I have been asking myself, am I requiring too much?

The answer for me has been no, and yes.

No, it is not too much for me to require narration after every reading. No, it is not too much to require his complete attention on his math and copywork without dawdling. No, it is not too much to read more challenging books this year. No, it is not too much to require more work this year than last year as he grows.

But yes, it has been too much to try to fit all of the Year Two weekly readings into our weeks, at least for now. I have had to set a limit on how much work we will do in order to maintain peace in our home. I have had to let go of the goal of completing a term's work in twelve weeks, and that's okay. Last week I had the blessing of watching Julie Bogart of Brave Writer speak on Routine vs Schedule (You may have seen it as well if you're on my Facebook page.). She inspired me to set out on my daily routine without worrying about whether we will get all the week's work done in one week.

For now, SA will continue to do two lessons with narration of 15-20 minutes each, and one 10 minute lesson with narration from a book he reads himself. (Lesson times include introduction to vocabulary and/or maps and timelines, reading, and narration.). It may be that as the year progresses we will be able to add in more lessons or expand the time for each lesson, but for now that is all we can manage. (His Bible and Pilgrim's Progress narrations are done in our morning circle time and are not included in these numbers.) This pace does not allow us to finish a week's work in a week, but we will just continue in this way, day after day, (with holidays every now and then, of course!) for however long it takes us to finish each term.

Every day we have our daily work. It is challenging and satisfying hard work for SA's mind. I can see that he feels it to be so, because while he sometimes resists it, he misses it if for any reason I don't require it. It is also joyful work most of the time. The living books we use are interesting. The lessons are short and varied. There is time for play and rest.

P.S. I wonder how I will regard this post after many years of homeschooling. Most homeschoolers mellow over time...and gain some wisdom. I suppose I will too. This is where I am now, two years into it.