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    Things to Think On

    October 22, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

    Philippians 4:8

    Every once in a while I like to do a little round-up of links to articles or post that are really, genuinely worth reading. My short list today is another such feast, where one might click a link and read a beautiful thought. This is a part of our own education, which is to say the nourishing of our souls.

    First, we have Andrew Kern writing about writing. He explains teaching living grammar:

    I say something like, “Think about a dog. Now tell me what the dog is doing.” I’ll do that one hundred times if I have to. What I want them to SEE – not to memorize, but to SEE – is that they cannot think a thought without thinking about something. And when they think about something, they have to think something about the thing they are thinking about.

    Then I can tell them the names: subject {what you are thinking about} and predicate {what you are thinking about the thing you are thinking about}.

    At this point, because they have gained an insight into the nature of thinking that any third grader can get with little trouble, they have become capable of understanding that our minds work like they do because we are stewards of the creation. In other words, we think in subjects and predicates because things exist in subjects and predicates.

    Our minds are formed by God to know the world we live in so that we can love and steward it.

    That last sentence alone is a thought worth thinking.

    But I’ve got more. I did say this was a feast after all.

    Lynn contributed another work of beauty to the book club this week. Combining Pieper with one of Charlotte Mason’s most profound comments on education, Lynn talks about the metaphorical large room. First, the quote from Mason, for those of you who haven’t read her yet:

    Our aim in Education is to give a Full Life.–– We begin to see what we want. Children make large demands upon us. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests. ‘Thou hast set my feet in a large room,’ should be the glad cry of every intelligent soul. Life should be all living, and not merely a tedious passing of time; not all doing or all feeling or all thinking––the strain would be too great––but, all living; that is to say, we should be in touch wherever we go, whatever we hear, whatever we see, with some manner of vital interest. We cannot give the children these interests; we prefer that they should never say they have learned botany or conchology, geology or astronomy. The question is not,––how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education––but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?” {Charlotte Mason, Vol. 3, pp. 170-1; emphasis Lynn’s.}

    I cannot urge you enough to read her post through to the end, first quickly, and then slowly after that. Lynn gently leads us to a stunning conclusion:

    Can we concur, then, that worship is the basis for… school?

    Yes, we can, friends. Did I mention you should read this?

    Today has been full of beautiful things, including three sparkling little girls who have been all smiles {a nice change after a couple weeks of constant sickness}. Every week seems to be highlighted by a discovery. For instance, today we spent time listening to nature, and Neighbor M. was chattering away about how she had “never done this before.” She was thrilled by the simplest things–the sound of a bee, or a dog barking, or the wind in the leaves.

    Today, in the spirit of leisurely learning, E. and I were able to connect Chanticleer and the Fox to chapter four of The Little Duke. Because of Chanticleer’s warning against flattery, E. recognized the methods of King Louis upon meeting Duke Richard. And so a simple narration became a conversation about flattery and pride. Years ago it was hard for me to imagine that I’d ever have conversations with my children that made me think, too, and yet now here we are, living and learning together.

    There is much to be grateful for.

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  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts October 24, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Thanks, Jami.

    And welcome to Afterthoughts, by the way! 🙂

    Your family sounds similar to mine, except for me it is my bottom three that are close in age and the gap is between my first and second.

    Oh! And yes! Andrew’s post was wonderful. I keep feeling so grateful to find these things so early in my children’s education. God is being kind to us.

  • Reply Anonymous October 23, 2009 at 1:53 am

    I really loved your post today, Brandy. I’ve been enjoying your blog since following links from Cindy’s. I hadn’t been over to see what Lynn had written on Chapter 5 yet. But I love how you incorporated thoughts from Andrew’s post today (wasn’t that awesome and challenging?)

    I don’t think we’ve met anywhere else online. I’m Jami and have four children 8, 7, 5 and 9 months. You are really gifted at integrating different books and threads of ideas. 🙂


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