Saturday, October 17, 2009

What a Child Should Have...

Charlotte Mason said that each day a child should have:
  • something or someone to love
  • something to do
  • something to think about

If I can achieve these three things for all five of my children than I am doing something right. I like breaking it down to three things, like a checklist. We all like checklists don't we? This parenting gig is challenging but oh so rewarding.

Something to love - Everybody needs something to love, whether it be a dog, a guinnea pig, parents, siblings. "There are opportunities for love in every home. There are also many ways to provide services (labors of love) to others if you look for them."

Something to do - By this she meant of course - something worthwhile to do! Have we lost our creativity? Are we so busy figuring out what show is on next, or website to hook our kids into that we have forgotten how many other things there are to do? Things of great value. Now, these are never easy are they? When our child says they are bored - as children will quite often - it becomes our responsibility to either (a) entertain them or (b) put the tv on. Wait a second what happened to option (c) teach them to entertain themselves? We are raising a generation of children that expect to be entertained - carted from one activity to another, amused with one game, playmate or another. Option (c) is the hardest option - at first - but then come the rewards. Teach them to sew, and you have a child making her own outfits for her dolls within a month or two; take them out on Nature Studies and then watch them take the initiative on their own to take their sketchbook out and draw a picture of that beautiful leaf they found on the lawn. I did find by the end of the summer, the kids were getting more squirrely - bickering, bored, what have you, and I have had friends ask me how I homeschool because this is their only experience with their children at home. But as soon as we started back to school - focused attention (giving them lots of things to think about) - the "something to do" has gone back to smooth and easy again. Too much idleness makes for ...something...not good...what was that saying my mother used to say?

I suppose that really finding something to do, depends on the last point being followed...

Something to Think About - Here is another quote from Karen Andreola that I just must copy "Children who are not given something to think about grow up at best with two ideas: to work hard and to amuse themselves when they are working...amusement is not an adequate substitute for something to think about...When children are guided to seek after something to think about during their home life, they will continue this habit throughout their lives." Okay- that's what I want for my babies - yup. No questions asked. Think about it (no pun intended) - how many of us were 'really' encouraged to think - and of course given great things from which to stem our thoughts when we were young? Living books? I am responsible for giving my children the best that this world has to offer - not money wise of course - but content wise. I want my children to find "joy and refreshment" in what they read - digging in to the text and pulling out what they can in their own words (narration!).

There - did I give you something to think about?

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