The week before last I had a phone call from the Symphony Manager of the orchestra my daughter is a part of. Her son and two friends had entered an Eisteddfod competition and the cellist had just pulled out due to sickness. She asked if Miss 17 could play in his place – the only thing was the competition was the next day. Miss M had never participated in an Eisteddfod and hadn’t ever played the piece they had chosen, a Beethoven arrangement for piano, violin and cello. Much to my surprise my daughter said that if she could have the music emailed that day and have a practice with the others sometime beforehand then she’d do it.
We organised a practice that evening for about an hour and a half and then turned up the next evening for the event, ‘An Open Age Chamber Ensemble’ and they received a ‘Highly Recommended’ certificate. So what has this got to do with Charlotte Mason & high school? Well, I’ve noticed over the years with all my kids going through high school, especially the upper years of it, that so many of their friends dropped out of activities such as music and other commitments to pour all their energy into academics. The be all and end all is getting into a certain degree if they possibly can, and everything else takes a back seat to that end. I’ve had friends say to me that in high school they never did anything related to daily life & domestics as their mothers thought that their schooling was more important. Reading for pleasure (or without having to dissect it to bits) was unheard of for many of them, and when looking after a home, motherhood, financial budgeting etc. came later on they were totally unprepared and unready.
High school devoured most of their time and crowded out the less tangible. It allowed them no margin to do anything spontaneous. Making time for handicrafts, nature study, quiet contemplation, folksongs, life skills, learning a musical instrument or reading just for enjoyment, is just as important to our high school aged children as preparation for university. They need to be prepared for life and they need to flourish.
We continue to look our two grandsons, aged 3 and 18 months, every Tuesday at our place. While the littlest is having an afternoon sleep, Missy & I take the three year old for a bush walk. Yesterday we took him to a new spot. He’s a little Trojan and keeps up a good pace.
Aunty & nephew
Last week we met them at a National Park nearby with their Mum and another friend and took them on a walk there. We saw some Black Cockatoos and an Eastern Whipbird – a bird we hear but don’t often see.
Another activity we do with the boys when we look after them is baking and sometimes painting – I should say that my daughter does those things with them. I read to them or get out my guitar and we sing some songs & my husband, who mostly works from home, often takes the eldest outside to help with things in the garden or other small jobs.
Missy & I have been doing some sewing this week. I decided to make a needle & scissor holder out of necessity. I carry bits of sewing around with me and keep getting stabbed by needles poking through my handbag. Missy decided she’d make a needle holder also. I’ve put links to the tutorials/instructions for each of them below but we didn’t follow them exactly. They are quite fiddly so M decided to increase the size of her hexagons. For the main linen piece she used a two and a half inch hexagon and for the flower a half-inch size. I’d use a bigger size for a younger child.
Books for interest and enjoyment – there are some books that I’d like my daughter to read as part of her ‘home school work’ but I’ve decided that it wasn’t necessary for her to narrate. I suppose they are classed as ‘free reads’ but I still consider them as part of her schedule. ‘Darwin’s Black Box’ by Michael Behe and ‘The Case for Christ’ by Lee Strobel are a couple in this category.
Just for pleasure reads include:
The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow – ‘a good read but a bit sad at first.’
Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart – a favourite author at the moment. She started Stewart’s Merlin series but prefers the author’s other romantic suspense books.
Various books by Australian author Jackie French and whatever she can find of Louis L’Amour, usually on Kindle.