• Wisdom of Tenderness

    Friday, April 25, 2014

    I've been slowing down, resting more, the full of these months is weighing heavier and heavier, I realized today how much can be accomplished when life slows a little in pace.
    Accomplishments of the heart
    not so much of chores.
    But there are seasons, and the end of a pregnancy is one of those times.
    I have found that as some things are taking less priority while others are flourishing.
     I have had more time to sit, cuddle my littles who will all grow into older siblings within a few weeks.
    I have had time to read, for myself, absorbing words in ways I haven't since the last stage of my last pregnancy.
    I have had time to think and pray.
    It has been nurturing.
    With time and contemplative prayer for my home school I am gathering the somewhat fragmented nuggets of my heart and ideals, and weighed them against what I feel is wisdom for my family's education.
    In so I have found a reoccurring theme, deeply imbedded in my teaching desires.
    I want these years of home-education to be immersed in
    I want the approach, the curricula, the plans, the speech, the shaping and leading and teaching all the hours of these fleeting years to be rooted and covered in a
    Holy Tenderness. 
    I will admit I am not always tender, I have agendas and expectations that crash heavy against my desired tenderness.
    I have students that display a determined dose of self will, frustration and disobedience.
    Homeschooling does not always expose beauty.
    It is not to be over-romanticised.  
    Yet I feel called to this teaching role, I feel humbled at this opportunity and do not want to waist but a moment of these precious years with my children.
    I have learnt from the sobered tears of the older women who weep for the years passed, moments missed, decades hurried through life subtly slipped away never to be regained.
    And so I will try
     for myself 
    to articulate the essentials of our home education founded and rooted in tenderness.
    Tender teaching through the young years

    An education starts from the first deep breath,

    not with flash cards and mobiles turning to Mozart. 

    Not bouncy seats or buzzy toys.

    But genuine love.

    Babies need time, your time.

    They need eye contact and a soft voice.

    They will know peace, from your own peace.

    They need real play!

    Toys that develop ones young abilities.

    Not flashy or noisy!

    Books and music in the classics. Not twaddle or poor quality.  

    They need time, most of the day, to explore and play.

    They need outdoors. Fresh air and unhurried exploration.

    They need slow, slow life, slow living.

    A gentle daily rhythm during their young years.
    Tender teaching through the early stages of education.
    These are the years of side by side schooling. Hand in mine as I lead them to interests.
    They need soft tender speech, and patient guidance.
    I need to  join them at  their level and look into their face and join them where they are at, happy or sad.
    They need a feast of interests presented before them.
    Poetry, music, beautiful captivating stories, art.
    Gently invite them to notice the details of life. A bud unfurling, strokes of an artist, notes of a song.
    Teach them the invaluable gift of attention.
    True education is a lifestyle. A peaceful home opens the doors to engaged play and learning. Creating and surrounding your home with beauty, toys that develop imagination and creativity, music and books that uplift and teach. Your child will naturally learn. Gravitating towards his own interests and developing self directed play and learning, with little to no involvement from a parent. Setting up your home as a learning environment creates an atmosphere of learning.
    When the child is ready, and only with the gentlest guidance, teach letters and numbers, sequencing, and writing.
    Honour the unique learning timeframe God has placed in each individual. There should be no formula for an educational timeline. Each child is the handiwork of God. Unique in learning, gifts, and abilities. Honour the child's maker, and be gentle in teaching. A slower approach to teaching the basics, but peaceful, will keep a young ones mind open and engaged and their hearts will remain yours.
    They need to tell you... about everything! Listen! Pay attention, show interest, and respond. It validates what is going on inside of them, and it shows them you care about who they are! If you listen now, they will continue to talk and include you in their lives in later years.
    These years need an increase in responsibilities. Household chores and character refinement should be an essential part of their education.
    Modeled and gently taught.
    Much time is needed for play.
    Children learn through play. Free play. With real open ended toys and open ended time.
    Lots of time.
    They need outdoors. Fresh air and unhurried exploration.
    They need slow, slow days, slow living.
    They do not need a cluster of lessons, or activities that keep them rushing or are over-stimulating, they need home as much as possible.
    They need a gentle rhythm to their days.
    Avoid (as a parent)
     Obvious frustration with flustered speech and demeanour, over punishment, rushing, unrealistic expectations, late nights, technology, too much 'school book work', distancing their hearts from yours.
    Tender teaching through the middle years

    This age longs for respect. Always look for ways to display your joy in their growing abilities. Show respect for their opinions, ideas and desires, they may not be properly formed or explained, yet they long for your validation and support to mature in this area.

    Laugh with them. The middles have an essential need for laughter, and they need you to laugh along.

     They need your time! Lots of it.

    Provide high quality literature, subjects rich in character who will inspire morals, exploration and adventure.

    Read out-loud to them! Sit together and read!
    Continue to advance their interests in poetry, music, beautiful captivating stories, art.

    Math and reading are staircase subjects built step upon step, continue to gently teach these concepts.  No rushing.  Just one skill mastered upon the next.

    All other subjects of education should be approached tenderly and with a keen interest and love for learning. Keep their brains open and absorbing.  The fastest way to shut the doors of childhood interest is by 'making them know something' giving them a high stack of work books, facts and fill in the blanks and check the boxes; it creates brain blocks, tears and frustration and eventually a death to eager and enthusiastic learning.  Keep information lively and interesting, don't push too fast through a study, instead absorb the content. Always lean into the child's natural interests.

    Advance your education from teaching to experiencing. Take them to symphonies, art galleries, museums, let them hear first hand stories of war veterans and real personal accounts of adventure and lives lived.  Let them experience the real essence of education, first hand.  
    Steadily raise your desires for their execution of projects, neater printing, clearer descriptions, articulation of thoughts and feelings, self management in character and responsibilities.

    At this age they need greater expectations, teach them to bake, mow lawns, mop floors, basic care for the young and the elderly.

    Do not bombard their days with out of home activities.  They need free time.  This is the last stage of play in their lives.  Let them play.  A transition happens in these years from playing an activity to wanting to be productive (baking, creating, building) this is the older way of 'play'.  Allow freedom for the middle years way of play.
    Outdoors is an essential for these years.  Biking, walking, hiking, gardening, swinging, kite flying. Fresh air and being in touch with nature will beautifully aid these years of transition.

    Keep life slow, steady; not too busy yet not allowing for boredom to set in.  
    Avoid (as a parent)
    Treating them like young children.  Speaking down to them.  Not listening to them.  Getting frustrated too easily.  Not giving them enough responsibility.  Expecting too much or too little.  Not showing enough affection (lots of hugs and kisses) keeping them too busy, entertaining with goofy books and TV.
    I cannot go beyond these years, as I have yet to experience the joys of older children.
     I have grieved with families as they have struggled through the 'older years' and the one thing that keeps repeating itself is a parents wish to go back into the young years and let go of their high expectations and busyness and rather display tenderness, a Holy Tenderness towards their children.  To love them with tenderness, to guide them tenderly, and express tenderness through their parental actions of time, speech, heart, body language, expectations, affections, prayer and teaching.

    I have no aim at perfection, only a genuine desire to be a mother and teacher filling the rhythms of our home and hearts with the
    Wisdom of Tenderness