Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Daily Effort Of Education

A daily effort of education.
School days.
Right ?
School days mean books.
Lots of books.
Books of math, phonics, and grammar.
History books and science books.
Penmanship books.
Art books.  Music books.
Geography books.
Notebooks, paper, pencils.
Sketchbooks and colored pencils.
Nature Identification Guides (books).
Hymn books.  Poetry books.
Volumes of Shakespeare's plays.
Dictionaries, reference books.
Spanish instructional books.
Atlases.  Road maps bound together.
And the most important "books" of all...
His Book ... His Holy Word ... the Bible.
But what else is the "daily effort of education" ?

"To 'endeavour ourselves' to the daily effort of education, to live and act, think and speak before the children, so that they shall be hourly the better for all that we are, is harder, no doubt, than to make one enormous sacrifice" (Vol. 5, p. 156).

What exactly entails Miss Mason's
"daily effort of education" ?
Obviously she is speaking of something
in addition to books ...
we know she insisted on books.
Lots of books.
But what is that something-else ?
And what does she mean by ......
"so that they shall be hourly the better for all that we are ..."?
they shall be hourly ...
better for all that we are ...

I believe one of those details of
education is ... Living.
Daily education means teaching the children how to live.
Life skills are a vital part of our education ...
keeping house, repairs, laundry, cooking, financial concerns.
Gardening.  Caring for animals, whether farm animals or pets.
Even the wealthy and well-educated have to live in a home
of some kind, with a balanced checkbook,
requiring them to have at least
basic "life" skills, right ?
To our children,
I have said this a million times,
or so it seems ...
Our boys need to learn to
cook just as much as our girls.
For even the most brilliant genius
needs good food and sustenance, right ?
And our girls need to be
proficient in basic home
maintenance just
as much as our boys.
The washer can break in her
home just as easily as in his.

Sharing what we know as parents with the children.
Reading aloud good quality books, no matter how old the child.
Teaching them, with hands on too whenever possible,
but mostly with kind words and patient listening.
Giving and receiving narrations --
spontaneously, and without preparation.
Communication skills.
Giving instructions.  Receiving instructions.
Demonstrating orderly thinking and processes.
Thoughtful words with thoughtful actions. 
And also sharing with them how to speak to others ...
although I must say their tongues can be sharp at times.
This too can be corrected ... with time, speaking, and diligence.
Speaking .... we definitely do this daily .... and then some ....

Problem solving.
Figuring out "how" to accomplish new things.
Learning new skills and facing bravely new challenges.
Facing new unknowns with confidence and a well-formed plan.
Learning where and how to find answers.
(when Mom and Dad are not available - ha !)
A child will use his or her brain just as much
as the parent uses theirs.  Or so it seems to me.
So when they see us, they have an example to follow.
No pressure there on dear ole' Mom and Dad, huh ?
For a child to become an avid reader, he or she generally
needs to see an example in the parents.
There are a few exceptions, but they are rather uncommon.
The children need to witness parents not only reading, but
challenging themselves to continue learning, reading
good quality books with "literary language".
Searching for and finding the answers.
Learning new skills and facing bravely new challenges.
Forming good plans and "thinking".
Books are friends, afterall.
Miss Mason called some books twaddle.
Do my children see me reading twaddle,
or do they see that "literary quality" in my books too ?
Do they see me learning, growing, stretching ?
Or do they see me as complacent, stagnant ?

A Funny Story:
Long before Cherub 1 could read, he would bring
story books to my bed in the late evening.
I would read the story, and then he would "read"
(pretend) the same book over and over again,
repeating many of the words I read,
sitting beside me as I was reading my own book.
Today, we have to be careful to plan library trips
at times when Cherub 1 is free to "disappear" ---
new books mean we won't be seeing him for a while, or
at least until he finishes the book.
He's been known to hide in the bathroom
with a flashlight and a book, late at night, too.
Oh - to read !!!!

He LOVES to read.
When he was younger he was a challenge ...
and of all the things we could have grounded him from,
books was never one of them.
But it was tempting.  HA !

He jokes today that he would DIE without reading.

Nourishment for the body means good healthy food
including lean meats, delicious fruit, fresh colorful vegetables,
healthy grains ... and of course, plenty of clean clear water.
Every day.
Several times each day.
Nourishment for the mind means good literature,
solid information, the ability and motivation to continue learning,
and the ability to "live".
E-v-e-r-y   d-a-y.
Every day.

This post was submitted to the CM Blog Carnival .


5buntings said...

A beautiful exhortation on a good education.

Primal said...

Education at it's finest!

Melissa said...

Well said!


I'm Angie said...

AMEN =) Thank you for sharing this!!