When I created my mosaic books and the Author Fiesta online, they were simply planned. Very simple. I read a book to my children, we discussed it, I looked for good copywork for them to quote, and we lingered over it. The plans were (and are) so simple they can be used with any curriculum you (or your children) choose to use this school year.
They are trimmed down versions of things I love and believe in: copywork, excellent reading material, creative people, art, a variety of rabbit trails, crafts, character formation, and love for our Creator.
I never wanted them to be anything more. Lucky for me, God kept them simple.
I decided a long time ago that there were already enough curricula choices out there. I didn't want to add to the confeitti of color and noise though, I suppose, I did that unintentionally by offering my little books.
But my intent was good. At least I thought it was. What I wanted to offer was something simple and singularly rich. I wanted to be able to offer parents and educators who, like me, were overwhelmed with everything offered online and at fairs, something that could be placed in their hands when all the chatter online (and off) got the best of them. By quoting my favorite Scripture quote, I could, in friendship, instruct them to "Be still. Be still and know...".
Be still and know...
- that their instincts and intuition are good enough
- that God is in charge
- that God will lead them and their children to learn what they need to learn this year
- that they (with God and their spouse) should make the ultimate decisions regarding their children's curriculum for the year
- that they should decide the curriculum based on the intellect and personalities of their children and not on what their fellow hsers are doing
- that what they pray and decide upon and use in good faith will be blessed by God
- that nothing will be decided in their lesson plans this year that God Almighty has not willed to be decided
There are other creative, knowledgable, wiser (certainly more consistent) curricula workers out there than I. They are tilling the fields the Lord has given them to work. They are harvesting the produce of their years of experience and sharing it in abundance. They are joyful and their children are joyful and they want to shout their joy from the roof tops. And we joyfully listen. Their joy is contagious. God bless them all! Their sharings tell us that life is good, God is good, learning is good, it is all good!
What will you be using this year?
Look at the rich fruit that God has given us to feed the minds of our children. Educating ourselves and our children has never been easier. No one in this 21st century has any excuse for not learning all they can and all that God desires them to learn. It is but an Internet click or a free library visit away.
Still, the fruits can seem like a loaded fig tree on the Fourth of July. Trust me! I know. The tree ripens almost all at once and if you don't harvest right away you're going to loose some good potential.The
school year is fixing to begin holiday lurks just on the horizon. We get in a panic. The production-bug bites us. We feel so responsible to pick the choicest fruit, stir it thoroughly, preserve it well, can it better, and pass it around to our friends.
Or sometimes the noise, color, and enthusiasm are like a fair. Walking down the midway we see an exposition of colorful bouncy-ball curricula. My family has walked this midway every summer for the past eleven years. Even this year we follow the crowds and look at all the exciting games and rides.
What will we ride first? What will we try to win? Will we attempt to try the ride our friend told us was so awesome? Will we spend money on this one? Will we ignore the vendor shouting at us to visit his booth simply because our friend told us it wasn't worth the money? Or will we give it a try because we know our child's interests are so different from our friend's child?
I took my planning notepad with me the other night as I rode with a friend to
the fair a restaurant and met on the midway in a conference room with other carnival goers homeschooling mothers, all true, good friends of mine.
The friend I was riding with and I joked that we had no business going to such a
fair meeting. Why then were we going? Perhaps because neither of us had been to a Mother's Night Out since before Christmas. Perhaps because our local homeschool group was beginning to refer to us as hermits and traitors. So we went to eat and visit and laugh and socialize. We agreed we might listen. We promised each other that we would not get on any rides. Especially those that spin you in dizzying directions.
We would see what happened for I can no more overlook or ignore their contagious joyfulness and the worthwhile opportunities which they joyfully and openingly and sacrifically offer my dear children than I can refuse to acknowledge the God who offers His wisdom to us through these people.
We all greeted each other with laughter and giggles and hugs and roughly scribbled in our planners and notepads. There were also several sympathetic looks and nods of respect as we sat down to prepare for the new school year.
I saw the anticipation and uncertainty of the new school year in everyone's eyes. There were overloaded expectations, overloaded decisions, overloaded censorship, overloaded questions, overloaded discussions. Lori and I sat quietly. We sat and talked with Linda and her daughter Grace. I'm envious of Grace. She gets to start walking this midway long before she has children to put on any rides. She gets to test-drive all the rides with the joyful freedom and enthusiasm of youth long before having to ride them as a mother when maternal worries and concerns overshadow the enthusiasm.
I'm thinking of all this when my friend Rachellia comes over to me and taps on my shoulder. She wants to know which Mosaic is best to start with for her three boys. I explain the concept to her and the simplicity of using them. She decides on the Catholic Mosaic and we order supper.
And I'm reminded why I wrote the Mosaics.
Catholic Mosaic and Christmas Mosaic offer families, such as mine, a quiet hush in an otherwise overcommitted, overbusy, overplanned, overactive lifestyle that we all take upon ourselves in this 21st century, my family included. They also offer families the discernment to select the curricula they decide fits their family dynamics without imposing something that is too strenuous, time-consuming, and overwhelming. They, as well as A Picture Perfect Childhood, support the wisdom of Charlotte Mason and Jim Trelease that planning that fifteen-minutes a day per subject is indeed good enough and sanctifying enough and noble enough and even joyful enough.
In these books and in my little notepad, I received God's slight tapping on my shoulder to keep my eyes on my own
ride work. Afterall, I really don't care for fairs and midways and I'm getting too old for the rides.
That makes it all good!