A Gathering of Riches

Mother Culture

Music- Composer Study, Sacred Music/Hymn Study, Folk Music

Art- Artist Study, Watercolor, Sketching, Brushwork

Handiwork

Movement- Folk Dance, Swedish Drill

Nature Study

There are many ways in which we as individual families bring our strengths and weaknesses of knowledge, temperament, and habits to home education. Gathering as a community enables us to help one another to enter the “large room” and receive from the Great Educator.

From the beginnings of formal education under the Classical Greeks, scholars have understood that the use of language (reading, writing, and speaking) and the use of mathematics was to interact with and understand beauty and wonder in order to find truth. The monks in the monastery schools followed this thought, believing that the pursuit of the knowledge of Beauty and Wonder would lead into Truth and the One who was True. The educators of the Renaissance and the Reformation followed this line of thought as well.

As the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution, developed and influenced thought and education the tools of the educated person (reading, writing, and speaking with clarity, and mathematics) became the point of education instead of a means to enable a more full engagement with Beauty, Wonder, and Truth. Practicality and implementation of ideas became more important than the ability to reason and deduce from one’s observations and the understanding that one must wrestle in the realm of ideas in order to come to conclusions about life became secondary to wrestling with inventions, mechanics, and applied science. Thus we have the famous passage from Charles Dickens in Hard Times

‘NOW, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir!’

Chapter 1

With their emphasis on beauty in the classroom and supporting the child’s sense of wonder both Charlotte Mason (1842-1923) and Maria Montessori (1870-1952) sought to return to a more natural order in education. Each emphasized different aspects of this order, but each had as her primary motivation a desire to enrich the minds and hearts of her students so that by exposure and pursuit of Beauty and Wonder they might be led into Truth.

In the things of science, in the things of art, in the things of practical everyday life, his God doth instruct him and doth teach him, her God doth instruct her and doth teach her. Let this be the mother’s key to the whole of the education of each boy and each girl; not of her children; the Divine Spirit does not work with nouns of multitude, but with each single child. Because He is infinite, the whole world is not too great a school for this indefatigable Teacher, and because He is infinite, He is able to give the whole of his infinite attention for the whole time to each one of his multitudinous pupils. We do not sufficiently rejoice in the wealth that the infinite nature of our God brings to each of us.

Charlotte Mason, Parents and Children Chapter 25

In our community, we seek to support one another in the study and enjoyment of the riches of Music, Art, Nature, and Creative Endeavor. Homeschool families often desire to include these areas in their study but find it hard to do so because of a lack of exposure and education in these topics, the feeling that the tools of learning are more important and must take priority, and living in a society that often values beauty and wonder only as a means to an end.

Holding classes and meetings around these topics helps them to take their proper place as the ends towards which the tools are to be employed. Feeding the desire for beauty and wonder, gives parents and students a purpose for the efforts they put into lessons. Sharing in community offers the support necessary for confidence in teaching and companions with which to share the joy.