The formal "text" books will be shelved and my desk will be decluttered. Does this mean "school's out" for the next three months? Of course not. My children will tell you that it never ends around here. Our school is not confined by a building, a schedule, or even a routine. Like our faith, it is ingrained in our lifestyle. Certainly we will vacation when we can, swim as often as possible, and attend the fun summer events. But we will also make some music, finger paint, sketch the beauty of creation, bird watch, and take leisurely walks to the river and swampy areas to collect specimens for identification. Perhaps we will perform another play under the oaks and read every worthwhile book in the library- that wasn't assigned by Mom. Maybe we will crank out some old fashioned ice cream. Who knows?
Everyone has picked out a special notebook for journaling this summer, and Mom is no exception. I will spend time learning a few new skills like Venetian plastering, re-upholstering a wing back chair, and perhaps even playing the guitar. But the most important goal for the summer is to refresh and renew --mind, body and soul. No, we will not be taking yoga classes. We will each work on an Ignatian (as in St. Ignatius) Program of Spiritual Exercise and practice the Thomistic virtue Eutrapalia . Have fun looking up that one. And while you are surfing whimsically through cyberspace to discover the magic of eutrapalia, drop in on the Real Learning Blog to read a "Charlotte Mason Summer". Whether or not you subscribe to this method of education, it cannot be surpassed in training up a child (and parent) in the way that he must go.
So what is this Ignatian Program? It is a plan to help us enhance our relationships with God, with our families, and in our social lives. It involves intentionally planning our prayer lives, our spiritual progress, and our character formation. A great resource for the younger children is My Path to Heaven- it is sort of an Ignatian Retreat coloring book with meditations for children. Among the virtues we will explore is Eutrapalia ( a very necessary component for this Type A mom)! Read what I consider to be the Charlotte Mason equivalent of this method of formation in A Charlotte Mason Summer (parts 1 & 2) and scroll down to delight in The Green Hour- The Best Answer to Mom, I'm Bored. Both posts are compliments of Elizabeth Foss- a Catholic home educator with a beautiful family. Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing your inspirations and God-given talents with us.
This summer I hope we can all remember:
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...
It's about learning to dance in the rain...
Live simply, Love generously,
Care deeply, Speak kindly &
Leave the rest to God