To have a truly rich homeschooling experience, consider focusing on what is real. Let me ask you some tough questions.
What if C.S. Lewis, or the Apostle Paul, or Shakespeare could spend time today in your classroom?
Would they find pleasure in the material read by and to your children?
Would they enjoy the family’s reading before bed every evening?
How about the conversation around the supper table?
And would they be fascinated and stimulated by attending Sunday School in your children’s classes?
Or here’s a scary question, Would they be impressed with the intellectual depth and the spiritual passion of your child’s youth group friends?
If we answer truthfully, many would have to say no. These great men would hate the meaningless, time-consuming rituals, the lack of time to do what they wanted to do, the shallowness of our lives. They would probably be depressed by all the twaddle.
Twaddle is a Charlotte Mason term that refers to anything that doesn’t respect the child’s ability to think for themselves.
Twaddle is asking questions that we have thought up and not letting their questions bubble up from within. Twaddle is workbooks and textbooks that would squeeze out the last drop of anyone’s patience. Twaddle is squandering precious time by following meaningless procedures and drills. I think Twaddle is having rigid class schedules that interrupt our children every 45 minutes just as things are getting good. It is not trusting them to have to mental capacity to wrestle with a problem or to explore until they are satisfied. New York state Teacher of the Year, John Taylor Gatto, says this trains them to believe that nothing is important. If a school bell or a mother’s timer forces them to stop in the middle writing a great essay or half-way through a tough math problem, we are teaching them that those things are not important, not worth grappling with.
Your children are searching for real life. If you provide it, they will joyfully follow.