Feb. 24, Feast of St. Matthias, apostle.
The old home place--get this--architecture style called "the Florida cracker." No joke!
I don't think it's coincidental that the beauty of the rhythm of Waldorf education and the success and effectiveness of the rhythm of monastic life both attract me. After all, both draw from nature and the natural world; the sun, with variation, follows a strict schedule, and doesn't come out to dance at midnight (excepting a few special occasions, feast days, miracles, and the like. . .). Fall follows summer, which follows spring, which follows winter. And never is it the other way round or chopped up winter-fall-summer-spring, except maybe in a poem by e.e. cummings.
I like that both philosophies are intimate with and dependent upon the environment; that they emphasize making, and work with the hands, and traditions. After reading Jen Fulwiler's post about learning to rise early and adhere to a more-or-less rigorous schedule via monastic hospitality, I tried to do the same myself for a while, with happy results. I even made Mass a couple of times a week!
I want to attempt that mild success again, and this time attack it with vigor, with full hopes of finding the rhythm that works for us; to integrate education as a part of living, and to integrate living as a part of the great mystery of our Faith. Or, to put it as Mark Twain did, to "never let schooling interfere with your education."
Education started in the home and did well in the home. The beloved quote from which I take the title of this blog, in its specific application on mothers and children, works both ways. It is often looked at to support the mother's special role in mothering--that being a mother means being a teacher, a queen, a task-master, a cook, and a priestess--and that choosing to be one of these things cannot, in any logical sense, be a greater, more encompassing and more prolific role. But in its other sense, it means that, as the mother is everything to her child in the home, so the home is the primary and first school of the child. It is not only where he ought to learn how to make his bed, play well with his siblings, brush his teeth, and say his prayers; it is also where he ought to learn his times tables, how to spell pneumonic, and about the succession of the kings of England and the Declaration of Independence.
As always, my tracks of thought turn to the Church-dominated Middle Ages and find the Ideal and the Blueprint, all in one. In the Dark Ages, the monasteries were tiny pricks of light in the darkness, fostering and holding close the flame of truth until that time when it was safe to spread it like wildfire. So too in our times, the home is more than ever a monastery, a fortress of goodness, beauty, and knowledge in a world of growing ignorance and darkness.
To bring my spiraling daydreams to a rough landing, and attempt to keep them grounded, I researched a monastery schedule. In medieval times, the monk's day started at 2:30 am in the morning, which is a little impractical for people who depend on grocery store's opening hours. Still more modern versions have the abbey dwellers rising early and in bed by eight--a little more doable. But I've sketched out a rough idea of what a possible day of monastic home schooling might look like in our future:
7:05am--Morning Prayer and Meditation
*Home schooling curriculum, writing goals, blogging, crocheting, spinning, crafts, and other projects, as determined by day and season.
Obviously, I've no idea of the actual practicality of such a schedule. But I aim to try it.
What does your day look like? How do you go about perfecting your domestic monastery?