I'm a home educator, who uses the Charlotte Mason method of education to instill a love of learning within my children. This method has proven to be very effective with my children, although each of them are unique in their style of learning and their interest, one common thread is that they have become self-learners, life learners in where their interest lie.
In the 12 years of using this method in teaching my children, I have also found that it has created a love of learning within myself, as well. Not only has this demonstrated to my children that learning is an atmosphere but one that draws you in with the smallest of attention to it. Charlotte Mason encourages the mother to continue her education of nature, of history, of literature and of handi-crafts (an older term for hobby). She encourages her to train her children to honor the mother's culture time each day, by allowing them to witness her reading a book, drawing in a journal or even engaged in music.
I can already hearing some readers laughing at the visual this picture paints in their mind, as their children may be too young, too high strung or just not willing to give them a few minutes of quiet time, let alone learning time. I can also hear others who are saying ‘I had my learning in school'. Yet, the voices that I hear speaking over all of these comments, is the one who is secretly whispering, “I'm losing my identity. I don't have time for myself. I don't even know who I am other than a wife and mother.”
Here are some tips that I have personally used to get myself past all of these comments, recognizing that my identity should only strengthen who I am in my roles as wife and mother, not be my only definitions of my person:
- Identify what things spark your interest – This took me some time to really find the answers, because I completely gave everything to my family for so many years and took on the identity I thought a Christian wife and mother should display. Once I realized that God created me a person first and wants me to enjoy the things around me, I was able to identify my interest. Once I allowed myself the permission to grow myself, I found that I enjoyed classical music, theatre, drawing, photography, beautiful places, quite time to just think and some friend time.
- Begin to implement a few minutes a day to share my love with my family – It is really good for the children to see their mother enjoying life, laughing at what amuses her and accomplishing what she sets out to learn. This example is often times necessary for a child to understand that learning is a lifestyle… an atmosphere. Depending on the age of your children, you could start with 10 to 30 minutes a day, while they either sit playing or having book time of their own.
- Set goals of what you desire to do and a deadline – Allow your children to see you working toward a goal that benefits you and your interests. It is amazing how in sharing my interest with my family, it has become part of shared interest. Choose a booklist to read for the year, add a field trip that is for you (family can come along, too), learn a new skill before your next birthday.
I really hope you realize the importance of getting time to work on you… the person! You will be a better mother for it and will find joy that you didn't expect. After all, you were uniquely and wonderfully made!
For those you who use the Charlotte Mason method of education and desire to get more encouragement in your Mother Culture, consider joining the Mother Culture Connections on Facebook.