But we that are moved by principles, we that aspire to live as poetically as we can, we that know that reality is not ONLY what you observe with your senses but that spiritual and transcendent ideas and knowledge are real and true knowledge come with love, with desire, and that is not born and death in the confinement of our intellects, we advance society more than the utilitarian, 'dominate' nature more than the narrow minded Cartesian scientist, and economy improves under our guide. Why? Because we see what the human is, because we place man under God, because we are not absorbed by nature, because we refuse to call ourselves homo sapient but persons since the beginning of the world, because we are not obsessed with nature, power, prestige, or the present.
There are many of us who don't want to forget our past, who are responsible and act responsibly in our present and w look at our children and the future. We don't fear to say life is a struggle but that certainty doesn't paralyze us, because there is more than this life, we know there are truths, rights and wrongs, so we are not paranoiac or anxious, questioning ourselves to illness. We know the end of man is not happiness but the right to pursue it, and we don't pass this responsibility to any government or lay it in the false security of material possessions or technological advances.We try to remember that comfort is not happiness, fun is not joy, and work is not done with resentment. But beware also that there is a fake, too 'authentic' to be true, revival of poetic knowledge. At one time I worry much that my mind was following some obscure and fake impulses of making my blog and home and homeschool as authentic and impressive as some of the mega bloggers, or the aseptic blogs as I call them, that look so organic, so environmentally correct, so picture perfect... I follow my vibe that Willa says is my poetic radar, and I smell consumerism with a cleaner face. I once read in a blog that the poor can't afford the wooden toys, the organic foods, the true blessing of a mother not working. I sometimes feel pangs of guilt for all I enjoy. But then I see we each have our own burdens, and the obligation to use what we have in the best way and just keep working, serving, and doing our part. Is there anything else you propose or know of?
Now fortunately my writings are getting longer and more boring, ha ha ha, and my readers list and number of commenters shorter, but the comments are getting novel like long, and that to me is the beginning of something good! I need to learn to laugh too! I feel compelled to share with you that in over two years of blogging I have earned or spend no money, only my time and some postage fees. I have done many things, and none for monetary compensation, I have received gratitude beyond measure, not so many tangible possessions, but far more important things; (I've gotten two books by friends, many words of advice when I needed them and encouragement when I did not ask for it, and I have shared my heart and have hearts poured over posts, comments, and emails making my life richer and more poetic.)
The more materialist and egalitarian a society is, the more control they want of those of us dissidents who don't fall in either category. We homeschool, thus we may want to be outside of their laws to abuse, neglect or indoctrinate our children, right? The relativist, the materialist, the socialist, the utilitarian, the postmodern... all those have very myopic goals. The goal of poetic knowledge, by being as big and uncompromising as the goal of teaching the liberal arts, the friendship it aspires to, the most elevated form of friendship derived by the great love of the friend, not a mere use or interest in exploiting the other in that 'friendship', will by default encompass many other benefits for the community.
To me this is how I feel today after having closed both books this week:
* I have a renewed and reaffirmed desire of homeschooling my girls.
* Now I understand why I have this -need- for my home to be pretty, and to have an order, without slaving myself to the order or making it so rigid that it rejects the love that moves me to want this poetic environment to live and learn.
* I have a very decreased anxiety about not finishing the AO books, or even to going crazy trying to cope with all the readings I in my mind believe have the holy grail of knowledge. Taylor used two books, yes, two books with his fifth graders... It's not the books, it's the relationship to them and your principles that sustain them.
* Like Willa, I have an increased desire to go outside, to be in nature, bring things, draw them, name them, classify them, but specially LOVE THEM.
* Like Mystie, I know I'm not agrarian enough, Charlotte Mason enough, good enough for NOTHING. But I'm determined to appreciate and write about all the poetic upbringing I had, and to follow my instinct that has and is leading me furiously to all this mentioned in the books that I always thought to be a bit silly and an 'extra'.
In addition to these two books, I've been translating some of what CM said about nature, and I have had the same feeling Mystie had about dishwashers and AC. I have not been close to the six hours that Charlotte Mason recommends, we have a long way to go in this. But I'm burning my whip. I'm serious. We've done great so far. I don't say this to boost. On the contrary. We, as many friends around, are fighting this war and winning many battles. As an anecdote, I'll say that my friend Stephanie, and the writer of the course I translate, lived and was raised 40 miles from Ambleside. In her schools, many principles were debtors of Charlotte Mason, and I found it fascinating that she also arrived to this education when after being a teacher and presented 'formally' with Mason writings, which she put on the to be read pile amongst other educators they were learning about, she became a mom and decided to homeschool, and she avidly read Karen Andreola's magazines that came up every month with the thirst of a person wandering in the desert. I have told her this in our private correspondence, but I owe it to her and to you, book club friends, to have rekindle my dedication to homeschool, and who have helped me to gain so many heaps of knowledge that I am now savoring so much and storing for the winter.
The accomplishments! :)
* Hey, we go to parks very often, to walks sometimes, to the fields a few times, and stay long, and our children dig, play, catch insects, converse, share meals, get dirty.
* We have had many playdates with poetic bread, homemade meals, laughter, water, toys (yes, plastic toys), music in the background, dressing up, dancing...
* We don't have commercials in between programs. Our TV is just to play DVD's. That's a big barricade against consumerism.
* We eat as a family three meals a day, one with all of us. We have many meals with candles, several with friends and family, we share and converse.
* We don't use textbooks and don't plan to use many, but we read wholesome books.
* We tell the girls stories, I have a journal for each (I need to write more in it, or print things I have typed for them), and we cook with them, they help with our garden, we have some things we harvest that we enjoy.
* I have not succumbed to the specialist fallacy. Again, I'm not assassinating those who have had or are thinking about any classes for your children at all. All I say is that I really don't see the need for much now. I am and can be all my girls need for now, and other friends around, but not in a formal academic, professional, structured manner. In other words, my oldest went last year to classes where she learned to bob, and this year, after we went with her to the covered pool for four or five times, she learned to swim like a dog. She is not very steady yet, actually she did not like last time when she had to swim for her life, so she went back to using some floats in her arms, but my husband and I learned to swim like this, by ourselves. Sometimes grown ups will tell us things, or put us under water too (argh, I did not like this), and we learned.
* The same with reading. Though I believe and will continue short lessons, my daughter learned herself with my gentle guidance. The nudging and pushing did not help her, though it did not break her either.
* Next year I'll teach them a bit of ballet. We are also going to a knitting group, and they'll have informal art classes too offered by a generous friend and homeschooling mom.
* We worship and have a relationship with God in which we obey rules but not mechanically at all, but moved by love. We sing from the heart, pray from the heart, and learn His Word with true joy (of course not everyday with the same 'success', and though I don't say we are there (we'll never be), I can't say we are helpless either, but we are in the right path at least.
This year I'm doing my next year resolutions now in June:
* I pledge to be more poetic in my homeschooling, to give my daughters the gift of love, love for God, for others, for His Creation and for learning by being the first one to cultivate that love in myself, and to fulfill my duty of granting order and self discipline. To model principles by living them, and to keep making my home a place that, though with modern commodities, is still devoted to truth and beauty.