Currently, I’m sitting with my husband on the patio at a Starbucks. We are both working while we sip cool drinks and watch people. We are waiting for another couple that we need to have a meeting with. But I’m thoroughly enjoying the breeze. Usually, in late July, Oklahoma is blazing hot and steamy with humidity. Today is too beautiful to be inside. It feels more like our beloved Rockies than the plains of Green Country.
We haven’t take a big trip this summer. Last summer, we spent the whole summer flipping our old house and moving to our new one. We finally ran away to the mountains to ski in February. Right after school let out, the boys and I made a fast trip to my brother’s house outside of Denver with my mom to celebrate Mother’s Day and to meet a new cousin.
Since then, we’ve been at home. My dad has been sick, and so we’ve been doing his sizable amount of mowing. We’ve hung around the house and swam in our pool. We’ve had friends over often, and we have cooked many burgers and had long conversations on the back porch. We’ve sat in our library and discussed books, played games around the table, cooked new recipes, and hung out with grandparents. The boys have had way more screen time than I’d like. It’s been a good summer.
So, Restore looks very different right now than it has in the past, but we are starting our school year next year somewhat refreshed and very much ready for a more consistent routine.
Charlotte Mason lists Reason as one of her Twenty Principles: “We teach children, too, not to ‘lean (too confidently) to their own understanding’; because the function of reason is to give logical demonstration (a) of mathematical truth, (b) of an initial idea, accepted by the will. In the former case, reason is, practically, an infallible guide, but in the latter, it is not always a safe one; for, whether that idea be right or wrong, reason will confirm it by irrefragable proofs” (Charlotte Mason, Towards a Philosophy of Education xxxi).
“Reason” represents a lot of subjects, so practicing it daily isn’t hard. Math. Science. Logic. Latin. English Grammar. All of those require systematic thinking and organized work. These things need habitual practice in order to reach mastery.
This coming year, Micah will tackle thesis-writing, Virgil, Trig, and Physics while Josiah and Gideon work on essay-writing, Henle Latin 1, algebra and life sciences (astronomy and biology). But the goal of all that work is not the adding of specific knowledge. The large goal is to develop the ability to work through problems even if they look big or scary. In order to do that, we need lots and lots of practice.
Our Remembering looks a lot different than it did three years ago. We all got frustrated with trying to do our Memory Work Recitations at a Council Meeting last September, and I finally just gave up on forcing it (probably six weeks after I should have). That doesn’t mean that we abandoned the Good, the True, and the Beautiful as much as we shifted to make our days work better.
However, I really missed having that short half-hour with everyone in the same room doing the same thing and remembering what we have learned before. This year, we don’t have any Foundations/Essentials students, so I may review our notebooks of previous memory work and remove some things that we have completed in order to shorten the recitation period. And there are a few things that would be good for us to add – like Latin vocabulary and paradigms.
We still do lots of story-reading, though I read aloud less than I used to. The boys still narrate what they are reading. We’ve had some deep conversations about things like the age of the Earth, the conjugation of verbs, the discoveries of math laws, and the consequences of actions.
I really enjoy these boys and their expanding minds. Every day is not fantastic, but most days have redeeming moments. These are, however, growing and changing young men. Two of them are in a period of very fast physical growth and hormone changes, and the third (who historically resists change) is looking at a LOT of changes in the next year. So, while we have a lot of great moments of connection and discussion, we also have moments we’d rather NOT remember, in which some combination of us gets frustrated and yells or refuses to do what he or she ought. Some days we struggle. Some days are smooth sailing. Most days are a mix, but we are making slow progress towards a graceful adulthood together.
PS: You can buy that pretty little book of Latin charts here.
About 150 … or you know… 3 years ago, I wrote a series of posts about how I create a plan according to what I want to do in a day. My kids have gotten bigger since there, I have decided to revisit that series as I consider how things change over time. We still have the same six seven touchstones in our day, but as my kids have grown in stature, intelligence, and responsibility, our days have changed drastically.
Last summer, I abandoned the blog for a year as we were moving from our little house to my husband’s childhood home. It is amazing how much work it takes to move across town. Since we made such a shift just as the school year began, it took a full year for the house to be mostly ours and feel like home. While we were doing all of that other work, Gideon finished his last year of Foundation and Essentials and a summary of Ambleside Online Year 6. Josiah completed Challenge A. Micah survived in my Challenge 3 class, and Jon thoroughly enjoyed directing our campus’s first Challenge 4.
So, our Rule of Six Seven still outlined the plan for everyone, so that I didn’t drown in my day. This coming year, life will shift again, and it is time to make another plan. After ten years, our family is finished with Foundations and Essentials, so that is the end of an era. And, we have a rising Senior. Micah will be in Jon’s Challenge 4 class. I’m still directing Challenge 3. Josiah will be in Challenge B, and Gideon will tackle Challenge A. We need to help Micah finish well, and we need to help Gideon and Josiah develop strong study habits that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.
I wrote about the idea of a Rule of Six here so if you haven’t dreamed up your own few things that complete your day, you can go read it and start contemplating.
As I finish up the new Rule of Six Seven posts, I’ll link them here.