For several months, books by Karen Andreola have been sitting on my bedside table - books about British educator Charlotte Mason and how her methods can be applied in the home. I have been inspired by two fictional diaries of a homeschooling mom, and learned a great deal about Charlotte Mason's teachings from Karen's larger, non-fiction volume. I still have a lot to learn about teaching, about classical education, about igniting a life-long love of learning in my little girls. But, I do remember, every day, this one simple reminder of Charlotte's.
Each day, give your children:
- something to love
- something to do
- something to think about.
When I get to the end of the day and ponder where I have failed and where I have succeeded as a mom, it is easy to find the flaws. I can count so many things I should have done, so many things I did wrong, so many opportunities I lost in the shuffle. Do you feel like that? As moms, we should have clean homes, well-stocked kitchens, gourmet and nutritious meals on the table. We should have our little ones enrolled in sports and arts activities, they should be learning another language, they should be doing crafts and playing outside, they should be engaged in learning, they should be kind and helpful, they should be happy. They should be listening to classical music and viewing great art, and playing creatively. Whew! I can't do it all!
If I think about those three things, my balance scale of a day's success becomes less weighty on the side of the "should-dos."
Did I hug and snuggle and kiss and tell each of my children how deeply loved they are by me and by God?
Did I play with them outdoors? Help them with a simple task or chore around the house?
Did I read to them? Were their minds given thoughts from good literature (or the Bible!) to ponder or to "hang a peg" for future learning and thinking?
Sometimes, I just need to slow down. Relax. And pare down life with my kids to the basics of loving, doing and thinking.