Why In A Large Room?











It always seems fitting to have an initial introduction at the beginning of a new venture.  The following is an explanation for why In a Large Room has come into existence and how the name was chosen.  

I have, for years now, written at another blog address.  The posts there are eclectic, mainly picture records of our life, of my knitting or reading, and so on. I plan to continue as it is a valuable journal of our family's life.  But as for actual writing and reflection, it has felt aimless and overly broad for quite awhile and my writing has mostly fallen by the wayside.   I have wanted to write more about education, which is my life, especially as it is developed by Charlotte Mason in her philosophy, but my other blog didn't feel quite to be the right avenue for me to share more about it.  I had also convinced myself that it was pointless to further develop my thoughts on Charlotte (my bff, so I'll use her first name) in writing, since there are so many people currently writing about her work already: what could I possibly add that would be valuable to the conversation?

The answer might be "nothing."  Let's be honest.  If you google "Charlotte Mason" you're going to be inundated with records of thoughts and practical outworkings of the style of education which she put forth until you want to crawl under a rock and hide from the world (oh maybe that's just me). But then a surprising thing happened.

This past weekend, I attended a retreat (my first!) for people who think like me, or who homeschool like me at least, and I came home revitalized and filled with hope again for this school year.   The honeymoon period of schooling wore off a while ago for me as we are going into our fourth official year of formal lessons with my oldest in fourth grade.  But it took being around other mothers who have also walked this path awhile for me to recognize, "HEY!  I'm not a newbie at this anymore!"  I can have intelligent, or at least hopefully coherent, conversations about my philosophy of education (lifted straight from my bff), and maybe even can actually teach people some of this stuff I know now.  There's much more that I don't know than I do know, but what I do know is very familiar and beloved and I do like to share about it see if anyone wants to come along with me on the journey of growth and learning.  

In addition to my ever growing experience and persistence, I imagine and process and dream about what it would look like to further implement Charlotte's ideas in the after-school tutoring program my husband and I run on the Indian Reservation where we live and work.  Doesn't she, after all, state that all children, regardless of social class, deserve a generous curriculum -- in her own Twenty Principles?  

"In devising a SYLLABUS for a normal child, of whatever social class, three points must be considered...  much knowledge, for the mind needs sufficient food as much as does the body... The knowledge should be various... [and] knowledge should be communicated in well-chosen language…"

(See?  I didn't make it up, it's really there, you can even click the link and read the rest of her principles if you want).

As I considered what to call this new little writing corner of mine, I was reminded of the following passage in Charlotte's sixth volume which has been moving through my mind for awhile:

“The question is not, -- how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education -- but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?”

Shouldn't the children, who, by situation of birth alone, have feet are most likely to remain bound in a small room deserve more than any other to have their feet guided and set into a large room of life and beauty and goodness and truth and, above all, love?  


This large room is one in which I hope to find my own children, the children who own pieces of my heart on the Reservation, and even my own self through the rest of my broadening, expanding life. And this is where I plan to reflect, imagine, dream, and share about that hope. 

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