Friday, April 23, 2010

Eureka, I've Found It!!

When I realized our nutritional needs were not being met and we needed a major overhaul, I came to the conclusion that modern science had NO idea what a body needed and the only logical place to look for answers was from past traditions who had survived without technology for generations with little or no health issues.  Man, when I first realized that I wanted to cry.  How the heck was I supposed to find all of that out?  How could I begin to study past cultures to learn how to feed my family?  I'd be a great grandma before I had it figured out!  And then *hallelujah chorus plays in background* I found Nourishing Traditions.  Sally Fallon had asked the same question 15 years earlier and found Weston Price's book and realized that was what she was looking for!  I devoured NT and about a year later, read Weston Price's book (twice).   But I remember the relief and amazement I felt when I realized that I was not alone in my quest and that others had gone on before me.  I kept reading (both books, along with many others based on the same principle) and wanting to shout 'exactly!' 'Yes!' "That's what I thought too!', etc. etc.  Seriously, it was so amazing.  I had already come to the conclusions they had drawn, I just needed help with the details.

Well, I realized, before the nutrition thing, that the educational system of America was greatly failing our children (myself included) and it also needed a major overhaul.  When my husband mentioned that he wanted his children homeschooled, my kids were 2 and a baby.  Quite young.  But I realized that I needed to do a lot of studying and learning to figure out how to go about it.  That part took longer to come together then the nutrition thing.  I was more distracted and possibly even more prejudiced.  But it's finally coming together and I'm so excited!!!

I read probably 20 different homeschooling books from the library.  Really random ones, just to get a feel for it.  One book in particular was about 21 homeschooled families. It gave a daily as well as a more 'over-all' look at the various families and how they homeschooled.  Each one was so unique, it was fascinating. But I found myself identifying more with the 'unschooler's then with the 'school at home-ers'.  Many of the unschoolers mentioned John Holt and Maria Montessori. So I naturally checked both out from the library.  WOW!!!  DOUBLE WOW!  Holt knocked my socks off.  He knew children!  He totally understood them.  It was like he was peeking in my window.  I had to keep in mind that he was very humanistic in his thoughts, but he was so right on also!  It jived.  My interested was piqued.

I somehow stumbled across this book by R.C. Sproul Jr (and can't find my copy-grr! I'm ready to read it again).  And it really pulled together Biblical parenting with a more laid back approach to school.  Now that I've read and learned so much more, it doesn't seem laid back at all, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

I knew my husband and his family would esp have a hard time with the concept.  My family fell somewhere in the middle.  Both of my sisters went to school for teaching and both homeschool their own kids.  But they knew the approach I was heading towards was a bit of a tight-rope walk.  But for whatever reason, I can not settle for 2nd best in something that I put my mind to.  And God was really starting to give me a sense of how important my job as a mother was, and I couldn't just settle.  I had to keep studying, reading and praying until I had some peace on it.

R.C. Sproul was greatly influenced by Raymond and Dorothy Moore.  So, naturally, I looked up and read a number of their books.  Again, wowed, amazed and excited.  It was all stuff I had pretty much figured out and proved with my own children, but it was so helpful to see it put into practice, and approved by 'experts' with degrees. :)  As foolish as that is, it's the American way.

I was still not exactly sure what it was to look like.  What was my job as a parent?  What should it look like daily in the home, what should it look like down the road?  I knew I was on the right path, but still missing some puzzle pieces.

Next a friend lent me her copy of Thomas Jefferson Education.  Which, again, had me yelling and jumping up and down and crying.  Yes, yes, yes! That's it!  It gave me a more long-range vision for why and how I wanted to raise my children.  It was still muddled, but it was a huge step in the right direction.  That was last spring.  I finally got around to ordering my own copy of that book and 2 other books that were basically 'how to guides' for leading your children in a mentor/classics approach to education.  I didn't, however, get around to reading them until last month.  I saw them, knew I needed to read them, but somehow knew I wasn't quite ready.  Weird, I know. 

When I ordered the TJE books, I also found all 6 of the Charlotte Mason books on amazon for $30, so I bought those.  Due to some errors, I only received one.  They refunded my money and that book sat for awhile also.  I had read a lot about Charlotte Mason and knew I wanted to teach in similar fashion.  But I had not yet read her books.  They were actually articles written in a newspaper in England to parents in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Someone published them and they have been reprinted a number of times since.  I finally got around to reading the Charlotte Mason book I owned, and one from the library I managed to find.  And I devoured them also.  I literally underlined 1/4 of the book that I owned, and lent it to a friend.  Wow, good stuff!  (I have since ordered the 4 that I had not read, but have not read them yet).

To take a step back for a minute.  In September when I ordered the TJE and Mason books, I had also ordered some curriculum to do with Myia.  As she was in '1st Grade' starting in September.  I knew I still had to figure out a lot before I could implement what Myia needed in regards to education.  But I also knew that a lot of people were going to be wondering why I wasn't doing more 'formal' work with her, even though I knew in my heart it was all wrong.  So we started in Sept 09 doing daily work.  I had it all maped out for the year.  By November we were both miserable and I knew more harm was being done then good.  By February, I gave it up altogether and told her that I needed to read, learn and pray more before trying anything else.  My in-laws and husband were pretty good about it all.  :)

So, that is where we were when I picked up the Mason books.  And then I read TJE again and then the 2 'how to' books.

Finally, I had my 'Eureka!' moment.  Just like the Nourishing Traditions.  After reading all that I had read, and esp the last 2 TJE books (not especially, without the rest, they would have just been rules and regulations and a burden, I needed the foundation first), I finally felt like I found it!  It was starting to come together for me.  Yeah!!!

Now, I have a lot more to learn, I know that.  But I finally know where I want to go, and have a pretty good idea of how I want us to get there.

And since I was in this exact same position 2 years ago with food, and can honestly say that we are where I want us to be, I am confident that we will get there with education as well.

I'll post on the details of my  'Eureka' a different day.  I'm so excited and grateful (ok, and a bit overwhelmed, but 'I think I can, I think I can').

Related Posts:
My Journey to Eureka:
Part I, Part II , Part III, Part IV, Park V, Park VI 

Innis Family Classics

What my Eureka Looks Like

Book Reports

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