Thou shalt prepare a banquet for me-Psalm 23
Amidst them that trouble me...
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
This week I am going to take you through my main living area (no, I did not clean it first)
I spread the banquet, but each child fills his or her plate.
They way I set up, operate, and record-keep in our homeschool reflects my basic philosophies about education:
"What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child."
~George Bernard Shaw
"Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves."
~Abbé Dimnet, Art of Thinking, 1928 (Have you not read this book? It is fantastic!)
and the quotation I intended to put here in the first place:
"Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire."
~William Butler Yeats
Perhaps the most pervasive influence on how we do things around here is Mari Montessori. She was my original inspiration to homeschool. Although I find that many things about a Montessori classroom do not translate well into a home setting (at least not my home), much of her philosophy can be applied to whatever material or situation is at hand.
My children are not required to work with their 'school things.' They choose them. If Isaiah wants to play math games for days on end, fine. If he wants to draw for a whole week, fine. Over the course of a month or two, like a toddler with his food, I find him to be balanced in his choices.
It's been a long process to let go of the mental picture of more traditional schooling, and it's been quite an effort. But the joy and self-motivation I see in my oldest, at the time when many of his peers are losing these very qualities, is satisfying.
The little booklet I used as an inspiration to gather all our materials together is "How to Set Up Learning Centers in your Home" by Mary Hood, author of "The Relaxed Homeschool." It's available from Rainbow Resource for about $5 and $1.50 shipping. It has checklists of items you could include in your centers.
We also have an art center and a music center, but those are ever changing and never, um, presentable. I am blessed right now to have room for all these centers in my home, but for less visual families with limited space, a (well-organized) tub holding the same sorts of materials could be just as fun and effective.
"Can you do Division? Divide a loaf by a knife - what's the answer to that?"
~Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass