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First, the calendar. Each year SCM publishes a specially-themed calendar in two versions: a school-year version (July through June) and a calendar-year version (January through December).
We’re happy to announce that the 2014 Calendar Journal, A Growing Time, calendar-year version, is now ready! This calendar journal is now out of print.
This handy calendar will take you from January through December with encouraging articles, inspiring Charlotte Mason quotes, and plenty of room to write your personal notes.
This year take a breather and be refreshed by some basic truths about growing:
- The gardener’s attitude greatly affects the growing atmosphere.
- It’s easiest to pull weeds when they are small.
- Sometimes a weed is just a displaced plant.
- The best food to help a mind grow is ideas.
- Growth often occurs way down deep where we can’t see it.
The ample calendars will keep you organized, and the quotes and articles will keep you encouraged all year long! Plus, thanks to your suggestions, we’ve laminated the cover to make it more durable for busy moms.
Children Are Not Carrots
Now, for the reminder. The article that follows is from A Growing Time. It’s a great reminder that, while it can be helpful to compare our children’s growth to aspects of gardening, there is one big difference between children and plants.
The Main Difference
Charlotte Mason’s comparisons between children and plants are very helpful as we consider what a growing time looks like. There are many ways that a child and a plant are similar. Both need the right atmosphere, the weeds pulled, and the proper nourishment in order to grow to their full potential.
But in one very important way, a child and a plant are different. And we must keep that crucial difference in mind as we seek to help our children grow. Charlotte explained the difference like this:
“And yet I enter a caveat. Our first care should be to preserve the individuality, give play to the personality, of children” (Vol. 1, p. 186).
Plants do not have individual personalities; children do. Each child is a unique person with a one-of-a-kind way of looking at the world around him, a singular way of thinking and processing the ideas he receives, a special combination of will and emotion, and a very personal set of gifts and talents.
We cannot treat a row of children like a row of carrots, giving each plant or person the exact same regime and expecting the exact same results. To put it in gardening terms, some children may need more sun and others more shade; some may need more water and others grow better with less moisture; some may require a lot of pruning in order to grow the best fruit and others require only a snip now and then to keep them headed in the right direction.
Charlotte went on to say, “Now persons do not grow in a garden, much less in a greenhouse. It is a doubtful boon to a person to have conditions too carefully adapted to his needs. The exactly due sunshine and shade, pruning and training, are good for a plant whose uses are subordinate, so to say, to the needs and pleasures of its owner. But a person who has other uses in the world, and mother or teacher who regards him as a plant and herself as the gardener, will only be saved from grave mistakes by the force of human nature in herself and in her child” (Vol. 1, p. 186).
Children have a natural way of reminding us that they are not impersonal plants. They have a very distinct individuality that must be respected. The child is a person. “Now, to a figure a person by any analogy whatsoever is dangerous and misleading; there is nothing in nature commensurable with a person. Because the analogy of the garden plant is very attractive, it is the more misleading; manifestations of purpose in a plant are wonderful and delightful, but in a person such manifestations are simply normal” (Vol. 1, p. 189). And children will definitely reveal their own purposes as we live each day with them!
Though some days we may wish that children were as easy to tend as plants, we must remember that our duty as parents is to bring up our children as people, head them in the right direction, and encourage them as individuals.
“A little guiding, a little restraining, much reverent watching, Nature asks of us; but beyond that, it is the wisdom of parents to leave children as much as may be to Nature, and ‘to a higher Power than Nature itself’ ” (Vol. 1, p. 186).
In other words, become a student of each child in your family. Observe carefully and learn what she needs most. Then prayerfully give her that guidance, along with plenty of room to grow as the person God created her to be.
Children are not carrots.
2014 Practical Homeschooling Reader Awards
We’re honored to have several SCM products in the running for the 2014 Practical Homeschooling Reader Awards. Of course, we’re grateful when our products get votes, but we encourage you to vote for all of the homeschool materials you are familiar with from any publisher.
The awards are a great resource for families looking to make informed decisions about curriculum, so your ratings are a big help. As an added incentive, voters can choose to be entered into a drawing to win Rosetta Stone language software. Visit Practical Homeschooling magazine’s website today and vote for your favorites.