If you never heard of the charlotte mason style of educating, it is a very amazing concept involving creativity and eagerness to learn. I love it. I have been doing it for years without ever knowing. Proof is in our homesteading DVDs. Life is a learning turf and we live to learn and grow in all areas of life. I think as soon as my babies were born, I started in on teaching them. Miles and I played bath time letter games at 10 months old. He could stick a letter up on the tub and tell me what it was, we would cheer, he would clap, and everyone was amazed. I had him completely potty trained wearing regular undees at about 12 months. I had all my kids perched on the pot from birth. I just figured it would be fun to teach them about the toilet. How not to be frightened of it. They learned about animals since they could walk out in the barnyard. How to gather eggs, where eggs come from, biology 101 when we were gutting our chickens, Chemistry with cheese making, math by measuring and baking. So you see, learning is a joy for homesteaders like us. I have also learned that by teaching kids how to do jobs well is important. When they sweep the critters and dust bunnies on the floor, they need to capture them all! And then we start the timer and see if they can get the job done well in as fast a time they can. All fun. Kids these days, as I speak of the norm, do not put forth effort and many business owners are frustrated because kids want jobs, want maximum pay, with little effort. Life is not on our time. We handicap our kids if we teach them that life is at their leisure. It is hard work as a parent to teach kids how to be accountable to their work and to do it in a timely fashion. That is why I think it is good to time them in areas of math, spelling, reading, writing, so they can be sharp, think quickly and master each area of life. When it comes to history and science, well, that is so precious to my heart. I love history and science. They love it with me. We go on tons of field studies outside, collecting, examining, and learning. We explore areas of the earth with all enthusiasm. If we study inca civilization, they learn to build stone houses for an assignment on a small scale. One time, we reenacted the first thanksgiving as a history lesson. We were careful to leave our home country in a boat. We were strangers and met indians in a foreign land. We made corn cakes over a fire. We dressed up. Miles and some other kids were the indians, we were the pilgrims. We sang songs together, were frightened together of the strange indians, we learned so much.
When we studied the solar system, we did paper mache and hung the planets around the ceiling fan so we could watch them orbit. The kids had fun making them and then watching them orbit at lightning speed. Schooling should be fun. I make sure they are articulate when they write and communicate. I correct the spelling, make them try again and again until they master. Until they are confident in that area, until we move on. That is the main thing. That you build in them a desire to learn and a desire to do the very best. Kids will rise to a challenge. Challenge them. They will only be as proficient as you require them to be. Some moms get overwhelmed very easily and to them, the structure is stressful. I just want to encourage you moms out there that if you can try to have a new perspective, you may enjoy it more. Think of learning and teaching as an adventure. An uncharted amazon. Live it with them. Pretend you are right there in the history lesson. They will love you for it. You will learn to become as a child again. It is a very wonderful feeling. Do not think about the laundry or cooking when you are learning with your kids. Try to think about life minute by minute. When you are through the lessons, all joyful and creative, then think about lunch. I often tell the kids to suprise me with some lunch. They think that is really fun. They become creative, having to use their skills. They clean up after the cooking mess, set the table, invite me to a candle lit meal. It is so amazing when you have taught them to work together for the good of the entire family. They rise to the challenge and prove themselves. They have big smiles on their faces as you sit down to the meal and partake. They start dreaming of all the many more meals they will prepare. They find cookbooks, they plan meals all on their own. Wow, this is the life.