04 November 2009

Speaks For Itself

I'm not sure I run a great homeschool.

Although I don't think I run a bad one.

There are a lot of things I do poorly. (It would be too detrimental to my psyche to list them.)

But I think I do one or two things pretty well.

(Probably because they are my favorite so they're easy for me.)

This is what we do well.

We read.

A lot.

And a vast variety considering my homeschool's median age is probably four. (Math is not something I do well.)

I love Charlotte Mason, a British educator whose philosophy I have snagged as my own.

A major part of her educational foundation, and therefore The School of Keigley's educational foundation, is living books.

True works of art on paper. Classics. Books written by one person who loves the topic about which he writes. (Read - no textbooks!)

Along with that, Mason advocates letting the original author do the bulk of the talking. Not me. (Which suits me fine in theory. A bit harder to self-enforce in reality.)

So much of what is good about a book and an author's original ideas, we muddle up with our own perspectives and prejudices. We ruin a lot when we open our mouths. (Or, more accurately, I ruin a lot when I open my mouth.)


Recently, I heard a scurry of business being conducted in the only room of our house where little feet seldom traverse - Riley's bedroom. Alarmed and ready to gently remind the rebels of the rules (or prepared to blast some truant children) I opened Riley's closed bedroom door.

Instead of seeing the dishevelment I expected, I saw order. No clothes on the floor. Books stacked neatly on the desk. Stuffed animals and pillows placed appealingly near Riley's black lounger.

Suspicious, I asked for an explanation.

"We want to be elves," Mosely said. "Just like the elves in the fairy tale about the shoemaker!"

Oh, the fairy tale from Andrew Lang's fun collection - The Blue Fairy Book.

I remember that one.

And I remember not saying anything after reading the story together. Refraining from offering my adult/mommyized Cliff's Notes on the story. Letting each child take what they would from the words crafted so concisely and precisely.

you know . . .

great literature always speaks for itself.


  1. hey lacey - this is so true! i have also grown up with so wonderful, fantastic books that also took part in becoming what i am today :-)
    if you are interested in some touching books (that i still love to read today as a grown up), look into those:

    Ronia the robbers daughter, The six bullerby children, Madicken (a true girls book ;-) and Emil of Lönneberga (if you don't know this one - your might want to read it on your own before reading it to your kids, because there are some pretty roughly amusing stories.... ;-) - and they are all written by one of my favorite authors of all times Astrid Lindgren from Sweden


    Marie from Germany

  2. Thanks guys - and yes - Marie - those books will be on my list now.

    Astrid - isn't she the writer of Pippi Longstocking?

  3. yes, that is her! :-) but i remember talking us many years ago about pippi longstocking- which means that you know this one and did not add it to my list ;-)


  4. Ooh, I love this post! I love Charlotte Mason! I love books, books, books! And I love the wonderful picture of Dad and kids soaking up the books together! Bliss!

  5. Man, who is that dad on the bed?

    Dad on the Bed

  6. 'Tis true, Lacey--I couldn't agree more. I love that you're exposing the Keiglets to a variety of literature. What a great way to teach them!

  7. Love the picture. Love the post. Will you email me a few names of great books to get us started?