As previously stated in Part I , Dorothy just wanted to get home after she found Oz. Home was the place where she felt loved and safe.
After Julie Bogart’s keynote address (titled The Invisible Education) during the Brave Writer Be Good to You Retreat, I started thinking about Dorothy’s friends: The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and the Lion and noticed an important link. In order for us to make our homes HOME, we all need the same things those characters did.
We all need A Brain, A Heart, & Courage.
(for reference sake, I’m going to base my discussion on the movie version of Baum’s novel and not the novel itself. And, although the English major in me wants to qualify endlessly, let’s just agree that this is how my memory of the movie connected to Julie Bogart’s presentation.)
ScareCrow: Growing the Brain We Have
Four travelers looking for what they thought was missing from their lives.
Four travelers searching for the Wizard they hoped would solve their problems.
Just as Dorothy and her friends searched for the Wizard of Oz, many homeschool moms are searching for answers they suspect lie beyond themselves. Answers that can only be provided by someone else. We search Pinterest, FaceBook groups, Blogs, and more looking for the Wizard, the magic pill, that will cure all of our homeschooling woes. But guess what, the Wizard isn’t real. And what you’re looking for is closer than you think.*
Let’s take a minute to think about the Scarecrow. Despite the fact that the Scarecrow obviously has a brain, we realize it just isn’t very developed.
What does “having a brain” look like as we try to “retool our understanding of home to support learning”?
I think Charlotte Mason has a pretty good grip on that. As a turn of the century, boundary-pushing, tradition-breaking woman, Charlotte Mason held some quite revolutionary beliefs. One was that children should be treated as persons. In today’s world, that might make you say “well, duh!” But in the late 1800s and early 1900s, children were not exactly respected as individuals. Seen and not heard and often used as pawns in the hands of factory owners, few children received a complete education and many lacked access to even a basic education.
With that in mind, Charlotte Mason continued to develop her philosophy regarding children and education. Many homeschool families ascribe to her philosophy and educational approach. In volume 3 of her writings, she states that mother’s owe a “thinking love” to their children. She writes:
We are waking up to our duties, and in proportion, as mothers become more highly educated and efficient, they will doubtless feel the more strongly that the education of their children during the first six years of life is an undertaking hardly to be entrusted to any hands but their own. And they will take it up as their profession––that is, with the diligence, regularity, and punctuality which men bestow on their professional labours.
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.
She understands that, as Pestalozzi wrote, “Maternal love is the first agent in education.”
You, mother, have all you need to educate your child.
You have LOVE for your child.
You are the Wizard you’ve been searching for.
However, in order to “take up” the task of homeschooling, Mason encourages us to work at it with diligence, regularity, and punctuality (which I’m going to rename time).
She encourages us to know what we are about. Since we are about educating our children, do we know them? Have we taken time to consider the very people we are educating? I know that we study and research curriculum and methods, but have we studied our own children? Do we know them? (side note: Joining the Homeschool Alliance and doing the July Planning month helped me study my children in a unique yet powerful way.)
This is a thinking love.
A Thinking Love: Diligence. Regularity. Time.
None of those things require advanced degrees, teaching experience, or even developed skills. They really just require dedication and love.
So as you journey down the yellow brick road of homeschooling, don’t get lost looking for the elusive wizard. Take your love and turn it into a thinking love so you can better connect with your children.
As Julie reminded us, pour into the atmosphere of our homes.
As Charlotte Mason tells us, grow our Thinking Love.
Then our homes will support all the learning that takes place.
*(I realize there a legitimate issues like learning difficulties, behavioral disorders, and more that require an outside voice. In those circumstances, outside help is valid and often necessary).
So tell me, do you come thoroughly furnished to your work?
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