Read Along – some comments/discussion

How are you going with For the Family’s Sake?
I’ve been putting together a blog post on Chapter 3 but I know a couple of you are still waiting for the book to arrive, and as the first two chapters touch on many important issues (not to mention temptations into all sorts of rabbit trails as well!) I decided to dwell some more on those and point you back to some of the discussion points in case you missed them.

In the Introductory post Laura commented that some books about family life are unrealistic, and therefore unhelpful, and writes that:

‘I would like a book about creating a comforting home atmosphere if it’s taking into account that many of us have very less-than-perfect lives and not a lot of funds either.’

I appreciate both Susan Schaeffer Macaulay and her mother Edith Schaeffer for writing about the importance of family life in such a way that shows we don’t have to wait for perfect circumstances (when is that going to happen?!). We start where we are, with what we have, calling on the grace of God.

Cate’s comment:

‘I have grown in grace towards myself and others, and I now know that what my home looks like is good enough. That is why the second chapter of this book by Macaulay resonates with me and why this book as well as “For The Children’s Sake” by the same author, filled my cup and encouraged me more than others did. The realistic approach made me feel steady and able but the suggestions also inspired me. Charlotte Mason has a great quote about mothers being able to perform wonders when they realise that wonders are expected of them – my paraphrasing – and that was a call to me to do what was needed to make home the first priority for my family, including a granddaughter. As Susan says, if we feel rooted and balanced at home, then our relationships with others and community can grow from there. This is realistic.’

In Who Needs a Home, Jo B @jo_mathinnature said:

‘Starting this book has reminded me of the picture that Edith Schaeffer paints of the family being like a mobile, ever shifting and changing in the wind. I have always believed that homemaking is a vital part of my role as a mum and wife, but I have struggled to adjust to the various ways that our family has changed. I’m a mum of nine, two of my children are married, I have one grandson and a grandbaby due soon. I’m a mum to adults, teenagers, and small children. It is sometimes hard to bend with the changing years and hard to let go of expectations. When Susan states, In Chapter 1, “To create welcoming homes requires thought and then action.” I was challenged to re-think about how I am creating a welcoming home as my children grow and have their own families.’

I really relate to this. A large family presents a particular set of circumstances as you’re usually dealing with a wide age range and have your feet in multiple camps. Our home situation is very different to what it was twenty-five, fifteen, ten or even five years ago. ‘It is sometimes hard to bend with the changing years and hard to let go of expectations.’ So true!

One of our Aussie politicians, in pushing our new early education plans, said that:

‘The policy is expected to be the most efficient way of boosting declining education standards with a similar model experiencing great success in Canada.’

In the comments for Chapter 2, my blogging friend, Cleo, doesn’t think this policy has been a great success in Canada at all and shares some insights on what she has seen there herself and her daughter’s experience in teaching at a school daycare.

Cate shares her experience with her four-year old granddaughter who lives with Cate and her husband:

‘Her care should not primarily be with strangers. We are learning to live, love and learn along side her and so the home must be a priority. If home isn’t, then what is that saying about how we value ourselves, and our lives, our purpose?’

And Jo Llyod @grace_and_clarity and my friend of some years, messaged me her thoughts:

‘I’ve been digging around CM, Alan Jacobs, Karen Swallow Prior and Ruskin and reflecting on how homes v classrooms actually shape the culture through which we read and interpret books. I’m always fascinated when 2 people can read the same book but respond in vastly different ways because I’m sure it’s that atmosphere of learning (and the surrounding dominant culture) that affects it.’

(Jo mentioned a book she read by Rosaria Butterfield where the author said that ‘her dominant culture really had shaped her without her realizing at times.’)

‘The idea about an extra year of Kindy at school horrifies me. They do it in WA and it’s been so unsuccessful. Then I see that the largest increase in Singapore for tuition is amongst 4 year olds and that homeschoolers have to be placed in the top one third of all SG students in their primary school exams – not just meet the national average. That is, if you want to shape your child through your home prove that it’s successful.

Anyhow, I could say so much more but I’ll think of Ruskin when he said: The entire object of true education is to make people not merely do the right thing, but to enjoy the right things.
That’s the gift of family and home, isn’t it? A place where we can enjoy the right things together

I’ve been sitting in with NSW curriculum reform meetings as my HSer role on the NESA committee and seem to find myself “rubbing shoulders” with people like the head of all Catholic schools in NSW or independent schools.
I’m often struck by how they define education purely in school terms.

When CM talks about education as an atmosphere (and the home being the place where Dads are to “romp” with their kids) I see how much schools miss out on when education is only in the classroom. Home education doesn’t happen in spite of the home but because of it.’

My thanks to all of you who have made these thoughtful comments or message. My plan is to post on Chapter 3 late next week. In the meantime I’d like to catch up on some book review posts before I forget what I’ve read.

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