I must be doing it wrong. That’s the only possible explanation. Because we’ve been using Ambleside Online to guide us through the Charlotte Mason approach to home education for two weeks now, and it just seems too good to be true. We get MORE done in LESS time, we’ve all learnt masses, and we are all loving it. “School” takes between two and three hours a day, and every week we do art, handicrafts, nature study, history, map work and music – things we could never fit in before. And in more detail! How can it be?
The girls think better, play better, spend more of their free time making things, are kinder to one another and more involved in life generally. They both love and excel at Maths.
And I am getting work done, and even meeting some of my deadlines, all the while, baking cookies and muffins and complicatedly delicious pies for dessert (with no grain, nuts or sugar – or even money, frankly). Can it be real?
Our house has remained a picture of neat-and tidy order, with things beautifully arranged in their places. People now seem to enjoy cleaning up (surely not!), and no one complains when asked to help. Not that they even need to be asked – I sit down to teach and find my charges eagerly awaiting me, books at the ready, stationery neatly laid out – and then swiftly put away afterwards.
In addition to the 40-odd scriptures we’ve committed to memory, the girls now know half a dozen poems apiece, too. And they perform their poetry with eloquence and feeling. Both read better than ever – with our youngest reading books at a Grade 9 reading level, despite being only 7. Granted, she needs work on her flow, but that’s hardly cause for complaint.
Hand writing is legible, letters to us are far more frequent – and neat – and correctly spelled! At least half of the mornings find the girls happily reading books in their pyjamas, waiting for breakfast, having gotten dressed, straightened their room, made their beds and cleaned their teeth. They play far less on the computer than they did a month ago, and watch TV once or twice a week – without complaint!
Goldilocks relishes in making dolls and accessories for her sister and friends – fabric ones, sewn by hand! And Red Riding Hood helps with meals and flower arrangements and table settings before I even think to ask.
It’s as if we’re living in the dream world of “what home education should be”. I wonder if I’m imagining it, if it will last – but not long enoough to mar my thorough enjoyment of the right-here-and-now!