This past six days we had the blessing of heading to upstate NY to visit family and friends. My Father has about 12 acres of land up on a mountainside there. My daughter enjoyed feeding chickens, waiting for a baby chick to hatch and then holding it, catching frogs in the frog pond, fishing at the "big pond", digging with the backhoe, riding the four wheeler around the woods, cooking marshmallows on the open fire, hiking up rivers and falls and enjoying the beauty of God's creation. It made me think - this is why I am homeschooling! This is some of the best education life can offer. Discussing the life cycle of frogs, the water cycle of ponds, food chain of worms and fish or bugs and chickens, maternal instincts of a hen sitting on her eggs - it's all here! It's all real hands on learning that is beyond a book and yet books have made it's awareness available to us. Discussions about the Wind in the Willow come to life. It's priceless. It's why I homeschool and I'm very thankful for the privilege to do so.
I love nature and I think it's one of the most obvious revelations that God exists. I look at all He made and see the intricacy, the various specific functions of each of those creatures to survive and thrive and it screams to me that there is a God and He's personal and has His eye on the details of our lives. I've taught my children to see God in all that nature offers and to be kind to His creation.
I sat at my Dad's kitchen table and looked outside the window, the rooster was crowing and we were about to eat breakfast, I recognized that there was nothing I would rather do than this. This is part of what I do every day with my children - show them the beauty and wonder of God's creation and how it points back to Him in every way. Educating my children is a privilege and a responsibility that I take very seriously. I endeavor to do it to the best of my ability and to pass that passion on to others around me. I truly enjoy seeing Parents find their passion in educating their own children.
What I love about Classical Conversations is that I can "teach" the memory work any way that works for us. We can jump on a trampoline and recite the memory work or swing in the swings and do it. We can get messy and make clouds or build volcanoes or whatever excites the imagination and engages the kids in the material that week. There seems to be more "freedom" in CC's curriculum to me. We read a LOT, we do some copy work, bug studies and nature a LOT, we draw maps, we do Latin, and lots of hands on learning; from making up our own hand motions to projects on the science or history that interest her. We dress up. We explore. We go on nature walks and discuss the memory work and bring it to life in ways like "look at those clouds what kind do they look like to you?" or "look at that leaf, what type do you think it is?" and a dialogue begins that brings the words off the page and into the world in which she lives. All this helps her take ownership of her learning and I find her passing it on to others. While in NY she was telling her cousin all about the water cycle. Too funny! I love to see how she discusses what she knows and has learned very naturally, as if everyone should be thinking about these things. I think she's right.....they should.