Archive for January 14th, 2009

Thanks to a wonderful friend, I have had the opportunity to read Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home by Elizabeth Foss.  I just wanted to jot down some inspirations before I have to return the book (or pass it on to the next enthusiastic reader!).

  • create an atmosphere of learning in your home – this is what I am going to call my mess every time I get overwhelmed with the craft supplies, toys and books strewn all over my living spaces: our learning atmosphere!
  • 15-20 minutes of concentrated attention for each lesson.
  • Home education is a lifestyle – so true.  That’s our standard answer when people ask us why we homeschool – it is a lifestyle choice.
  • Narration – something that we have always incorporated into our informal read alouds, maybe something I will carry through and use more of, though not solely in developing writing skills.
  • Living Books – something that has always spoken to my heart.  I would like to base our history, science and geography on the living books we read (it probably means we have to buy more books – yay!)
  • Nature Study – something I would like to do more regularly… maybe we should start with drawing things we find in our backyard.  This would be much more achievable than actually making an excursion of it every week.
  • Tea – we have started having formal afternoon teas where we sit at the table and actually have a cup of tea (herbal or normal) and share about our day, what we have learned and discussed a particular virtue of the day.  This would be nice to do a few times a week, though I will aim for once a week when mainstream school goes back.  It would also be nice to invite Godparents for a special afternoon tea for their Godchild’s Baptism anniversary.
  • I loved the chapter on burnout. I learned to
  1. Take care of me personally, as I have done while I am pregnant.
  2. Nurture my emotional health by spending time alone and give myself permission to do so.
  3. Begin the day asking God for His graces and end it with gratitude.  I love journalling (prayer journalling that is!) and so writing down four things I am grateful for at the end of each day would be a joy to do.
  4. Be a friend to my children – ahhh so simple, so wise and so much fun!
  5. As a homemaker, decide what I can reasonably do and then get help for the rest (either paid or husband or decide to abandon that task until it seems easier to achieve – yes I am talking about the ironing!)
  6. Look for opportunities to serve from home with my children beside me.  This for me often means reaching out to other mums, doubling my evening meal and sending the other half to someone who needs it, babysitting nieces and nephews and friends…)

All in all, this was a lovely book to read.  I really enjoyed that it was applicable to large families, very practical and so easy to read.

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