Monday, September 28, 2009

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...

The children with the arborteum's resident collie

Shug just after arriving at the park

Little Dude and clover

Snuggled with Punkin

SweetP picking clover

Mama and Little Dude

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.

Punkin and Acorn

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!!!


Unknown said...

Thankyou for this wonderful post and sharing the joys of time spent outdoors-we too spent much of the outdoors yesterday as the Fall weather started here then! October is my favorite month too!
Wonderful outdoors days in the beautiful Fall here we come!(just trying to balance getting lessons done,housework and cooking meals is a challenge.And like you have written if the house is clean before you leave it will actually stay that way!))And, the crockpot is a blessing!

Unknown said...

I came back to post a comment again!
I too have 3 daughters and a son and we frequently call him brother too:)

Cathy said...

I love your day. My girls are due for one like that. We've been too busy. I like your comments on CM as well.


Richele McFarlin said...

I loved this! You have a truly beautiful family. I loved you day and wish I was there with my family!

rachaelnz said...

Looks like you had a great day, it's great to be spontaneous like that sometimes. We have a little one year old boy, who has four big sisters...just to say "son", or "the boy" is such a treat!

Melissa said...

What a great day!!!