"Knowledge is more than an accumulation of information. It involves the ability to view that information with the right perspective and to use it for its proper end... It is the fear of the Lord that gives us the right perspective and prompts us to use it for the right end...Our main goal should be to glorify God. That is the ultimate goal to which all knowledge should be directed. Regardless of how helpful an item or body of knowledge may be to society, if it does not have as its final purpose the glory of God, it remains defective."
- Jerry Bridges The Joy of Fearing God
Our First Autumn '09 Park Day & Some Thoughts on Masterly Inactivity
Ahhh... today was brisk. I love brisk days. It was windy, too, and one of those days that just seemed to announce the arrival of autumn. Everyone slept in very late this morning (we had storms last night - let's just say not many of us slept well). So, with morning lessons basically shot anyway, I decided to wake the children up by telling them we were going on a park day.
All of the normal hustle and bustle followed and, before too long, they were running out to the van. The cool breeze had them seriously giddy. They just kept spinning around in the driveway exclaiming about how much they loved fall. "Isn't fall your favorite season, Mama? Oh, it's mine! It's such a beautiful day. Don't you love it?". It was a twenty minute drive to the arboretum and they prattled the entire way there.
I took my camera along...
We just had a sweet time lying on a blanket in the sun, collecting acorns, enjoying the mild weather. The children played house with rocks, dirt, and sticks as their props. They jumped off of benches, climbed boulders, tried to catch grasshoppers. Lovely :)
I'm wondering if someone is going to comment on Little Dude being so near the water (he's two and a half). Charlotte Mason frequently mentions leaving children "be" when outdoors - letting them play, and pretend, and imagine on their own without constant prodding or directing from Mother. It can be difficult to keep quiet, as a mother, at first. Eventually, I think you start to find your own feet and figure out how much to "leave alone" and how much to step in. However, there do have to be some parameters. If for no other reason than just to keep the little guys out of harm's way. The children are largely allowed to play as they will on our outings, but they have already learned what the boundaries are beforehand. It's not a lawless, wild time where they get to rule the roost. Authority is always right there, lovingly watching through her sunglasses as she sits on the blanket. Ready to speak up if the need arises.
I let Punkin lie with me on the blanket for a while this morning, chit-chatting and snuggling. After a bit, though, I gently encouraged her to go enjoy the day and play with the others. We had our nice time together, but she engages in a different kind of learning without me right beside her. I wanted her to have some growing time without me, too. I'm never far away, of course :) She brings her little bouquets of flowers and interesting rocks and all that. But it's good for her to spend a while just filling acorn caps with mud and then scraping it all out again with a stick... on her own.
Miss Mason refers to this letting children alone as "Masterly Inactivity". When coupled with well-trained habits, it makes up a sort of educational double whammy. Each makes the other stronger and neither can be safely left out of the picture. This post is already too long to get into that more tonight, though, so I'll save further thoughts on Masterly Inactivity for later. To help you think through the subject some until then, I'll just leave you with this :)
By the way, in the video I'm calling Little Dude "Brother". I guess that's what you wind up being called when you're the only boy :)
Enjoy the last few days of September! My favorite month is right around the corner!!!
... that this is just a blog. It's not real life. Because I want the posts and photos I share to encourage and inspire our readers, I don't often write about the negative, discouraging times. Believe me, though, they are there. Every day. By the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are sinful people striving to live lives of obedience that glorify Him and to love one another. Anything good is all of His grace and all of His work in us. Let God Almighty have the glory.