We are reading The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, (a lovely edition illustrated by Inga Moore) We are about half way through and the book’s main character Mary Lennox has just found her way into the secret garden. Her discovery there awakens in her a passion for making things grow and she begins to tend the plants and dig in the soil. She asks for garden tools and seeds and is excited about planting them.

Halfway through a passage in which Mary and her friend Dickon are discussing seeds, E5 interrupts me and begins to tell me that she wants tools…

“…….and B3 too, and R1 when he’s big enough to use them. I want a garden all of my own. I want to have a gate so that I can lock myself in and be happy about being locked in. It has to go around my swing set and have a path for people to walk one behind the other one, and for my bike, and flowers all around it.”

She is quite excited about all this and then shouted: “It’s THIS BOOK that gave me the idea!”

I remember reading in Susan Schaeffer Macauley’s book For the Children’s Sake about learning being about making connections between ideas. Here are a couple of quotes from Charlotte Mason’s work (taken from here):

Now that life, which we call education, receives only one kind of sustenance; it grows upon ideas. You may go through years of so-called ‘education’ without getting a single vital idea; and that is why many a well-fed body carries about a feeble, starved intelligence; and no society for the prevention of cruelty to children cries shame on the parents.

And this one:

The whole subject is profound, but as practical as it is profound. We must disabuse our minds of the theory that the functions of education are, in the main, gymnastic. In the early years of the child’s life it makes, perhaps, little apparent difference whether his parents start with the notion that to educate is to fill a receptacle, inscribe a tablet, mould plastic matter, or nourish a life; but in the end we shall find that only those ideas which have fed his life are taken into the being of the child; all the rest is thrown away, or worse, is like sawdust in the system, an impediment and an injury to the vital processes.

I am so excited because I am starting to believe that this relaxed home schooling thing might actually work. Ha ha. I’ll keep you posted on the garden.


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