May 29, 2015

Parable of the Empty Harvest (Part II)

Everyone can see how foolish the "new gardener" was. Each system he tried would have worked had he stayed with it. All would have yielded a harvest. Perhaps some harvests would have been better than others; but they all would have had a harvest.

The farmer represents mass schooling systems. To teach enormous groups of children they use a one size fits all education. Many home school families following this model have actually had better success then the schools themselves do.

The square foot gardener represents the Classics Mentorial Approach or Leadership Education. The harvest from this method is very fine. This approach can be used even with larger families. It takes time and dedication to implement.

The greenhouse was the private schools.  This also yields a fine harvest.

The raised bed gardener represented a living education like Charlotte Mason. Again, like the other methods it too yields a harvest.

Many of us jump from method to method. We have accumulated rooms of "buyer’s remorse." We could free ourselves from guilt and sell it all on the internet 🙂 I have heard it said, "Big doors swing on small hinges." Consistently applied effort in any of these methods will bring a glad harvest. We need to take stock. We need to weigh out the options; then choose wisely the materials and methods to use. The Charlotte Mason method helps you eat the elephant on bite at a time, as I also feel Leadership Education does. They both can cover the typical school subjects and more, in the way children naturally learn. Both can be taught one-on-one, or in a group.  I find that they can both be used together, or rather that Charlotte Mason ideas can be used in a Leadership Education context. I find this very freeing.

You need to choose what system works best with you and your family, and then consistently do it. There is a tendency for some people to not stay long enough with the model they have chosen and may not do the needed study to fully implement the model. This may be because the model requires more effort to fully understand, and that one may have unrealistic expectations. We also have got to stop this perfectionistic craziness of always looking for the best curriculum. I understand we want the best we can provide for our children. Perfect curriculum does not exist. Educational theories are in constant change. We need to see that we will never harvest, if we cannot consistently apply anything. We need the discipline of habit and patience or the ability to delay gratification.

Nature walk and Wild Day Time (science)! Story Time (literature and character development)! Crazy Day Time (Field trips and inspiration)! Do school each day. The sanity you save may be your own. Do not try to catch up. Catch up to what? Learning is a continuum. Trying to cram learning will only drown and burnout your tender children. Just place one foot in front of the other and keep, consistently moving forward.

Remember that the tortoise learned that slow and steady wins the race. If you keep moving in the right direction it is amazing what little bites here and little bites there will accomplish. Those little bites add up and the sum total can be more than you can imagine.

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