A Mother's Feast: Living Worthily of Our CallingIt's no secret that I love to read, and that I encourage mothers to read. I have often mentioned Mother Culture...the investment into a mother's continued inspiration and encouragement, and I believe wholeheartedly that a mother must model a thirst for knowledge in order to truly foster a sense of wonder and a lifelong love of learning in her children.
However, I know that when asking or challenging busy mothers to make time to do what seems to be one more task on a pile already barely manageable, that there must be a good reason beyond a love for reading, and a thirst for knowledge. Mother Culture is important, and I delight in a good book. But, for the past 6 months or so, I have realized that my own continued education must exist alongside my children's, and is vital for effectiveness as a home educator.
Mother Culture is only one part of a Mother's Education, and a great book that is thoroughly enjoyed isn't the only thing that I believe is important for us to invest time in, in order to truly work the wonders that we are convinced are demanded of us. I have come to realize that we must have a feast as wide as the one we are spreading for our children. There is no doubt that we learn as we teach, and that this is the very design of a delightful education. However, we must also engage in our own feast in order to maintain our passion for the feast we offer to our born persons.
A wide feast contains books that are enjoyed, and it also contains books that are difficult and take discipline to work through. A wide feast engages both the soul and the mind. A wide feast supplies a daily diet of ideas. A wide feast serves up truth, goodness, and beauty. A wide feast is full of connections between a variety of topics, and displays the truth of a science of relations. A wide feast is a need just as vital for a mother as for a child.
I have set before myself a course for Mother's Education, and I challenge you to do the same,
for the following three reasons:
1. A Mother is a Student.A mother, equally under the Supreme Authority of a Mighty God as her children, is a student for a lifetime. A mother must always be learning, and must humbly realize her need to be continually seeking after knowledge and wisdom. A mother is a person, just as her children, with a soul and body and spirit and mind...all of which need food. A diet of ideas that feeds the soul and mind alike equips a mother for the daunting task that is before her. A mother is a teacher, called by God to a position of honor and of great responsibility. When a mother comes to view homeschooling as her profession, and just as much her duty as her joy, then she begins to see the importance, and requirement, of investing in the continued growth of aptitude within that profession.
2. A Mother is a Born Person
3. A Mother is a Teacher
2. A Mother is a Born Person
3. A Mother is a Teacher
There is no other profession in the world, in which a person does not study, learn, and grow in order to become better and better at the tasks required of them. Teaching is no exception to this rule of self education. It is not another item on our already overwhelming to do list...it is the tools of our wonderful, difficult, amazing, beautiful trade.
This is how I am choosing to set before myself my Mother's Education Course.
- I have assigned myself Topics, in order to always be reading and feasting widely. These topics are Divinity/Faith/Theology, Nature/Science, Biography/History, Philosophy, Education, Parenting/Marriage, Shakespeare, Mason's Volumes, Literature, Other (Currently:Leadership).
- I also have a Daily Reads List, of which I read from each morning after my Bible Study. These are: Devotion/Christian Studies, Poetry, Nature Lore, and Hymn.
- I read many books, in order to have a wide feast before myself. I read slowly though these many books, because slow reading is a vital aspect of a CM education. However, what I have the tendency to do is to read too much of one topic and not enough of others. I also tend to start books that interest me without finishing others. So, in order to prevent this, I have assigned myself a Loop Schedule of Books. I must read through the entire Loop of Topics before starting back at the beginning. Some topics I have prioritized and are included more often in the loop than others (Divinity/Faith/Theology, Education, and Mason's Volumes).
- During my weekly planning time, I assign myself chapters or selections of each current book. When I am reading, I simply go to the next book in my loop, and then read through the current assignment. The assignment list is in a sleeve and written with wet erase, so that I haven't completed some assignments, I can simply erase and reassign what is completed. Sometimes the loop may take a week to complete, sometimes it may take two weeks to complete. It could even take a week and a half to complete. It matters not. I simply read through the loop, and read what I have assigned.
- I have written two daily reading times into my schedule (one in the morning and one in the afternoon.) I am making this a priority, because I consider it to be part of my profession. If I were a doctor, I would read medical journals. If I were a lawyer, I would read case law. Since I am a home educator, I read from a feast of books. I am working on discipline for these two times.
- My evening reading can come from any book, as long as I have completed my two daily reading times for the day. If I haven't completed them, I complete them in the evening before moving on to the book of my choice. If I read further in a book, by choice, than my reading assignment for the week indicates, then when I come to that book in my loop, I skip it and move to the next one.
- I also have a pleasure read by my bed, and I try to read from this for ten minutes before falling asleep. I also sometimes include this in my daily reading in the mornings, if time allows.
My Current Book Choices:
Divinity/Faith/Theology- Scandalous, The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus
Nature/Science- Last Child in the Woods
Biography/History- Einstein.Picasso: Space, Time, and the Beauty that Causes Havoc
Philosophy- Aquinas:Selected Writings
Education- When Children Love to Learn, and Consider This
Parenting/Marriage- Mere Motherhood
Shakespeare- Romeo and Juliet
Mason's Volumes- Volume 4: Ourselves
Literature- Little Women
Leadership- The Mentor Leader
Pleasure Read- In Memoriam
Devotion/Christian Studies- She Reads Truth
Poetry- Book of American and British Verse (out of print)
Nature Lore- The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady
Hymn- The Modern Hymnal/ Hymns for Personal Devotions
“That the mother may know what she is about, may come thoroughly furnished to her work, she should have something more than a hearsay acquaintance with the theory of education, and with those conditions of the child’s nature upon which such theory rests.”
“For to be honestly pursuing a course of study, however simply, makes a mother feel that she is trying in some measure to live worthily of her calling. She will feel that she is doing her best to prepare herself for the bringing up and training of useful men and women, thoroughly developed in body, mind, and spirit, who may by God’s blessing leave the world a little better than they found it.”
What about you? Do you see the need for investing in your own education? What are you currently reading? What topics will be on your book list? What topics are most intimidating for you?
May All Your Days be Spent....Delightfully Feasting