Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival!

Ordinarily, at least the last several many times (as a little boy in my neighborhood said about how much candy he wanted), this has been hosted at Fisher Academy. They have been pretty busy there recently so I get to guest host. I meant to get this up a week ago, but with all the excitement, followed by depression, of sending our youngest and now graduated son back to the U.S. I kind of dropped the ball. This is the story of my life, this ball-dropping. Charlotte Mason would gravely shake her head at me.

So what is a CM blog carnival? It’s where you all share your own (or somebody else’s) posts on Charlotte Mason topics and we all share in the CM community, encouraging one another and sharing good ideas, practical tips, useful resources, insights, thoughts, questions, etc.

One of my favourite resources for additional CM information and inspiration is the Parents’ Reviews (personally have owned two for the last 15 years, and at home curate a third). And one of the most delicious parts of the Parents’ Reviews is the notes and queries, or the letter-bag section, where PNEU parents write to ask for advice, encourage others, and share. Here are a few samples
How do I make this child stop dawdling when it’s time to get dressed?- I should be very grateful for some hints how to teach a girl of ten to be quick over such things as dressing and undressing, preparing for a walk, &c. If I try to “hurry her up” it seems to make her slower. I know from conversation with other young mothers that my difficulty is a very common one, and we feel sure that your advice in the pages of the Parents’ Review would be helpful to many. My little girl is an only child, and . . ., she is constantly with me, and . . . This dawdling over dressing, &c., is an almost daily difficulty, and yet she is not by any means of a heavy, lethargic nature. She is remarkably light and active in mind and body. Is it wise to offer little rewards for quickness? The natural punishment for not being ready for a walk would be to be left at home; but, then, one grudges their missing the fresh air.

From the same volume: We are going stir-crazy because of the rain!- Can anyone suggest an indoor game or toy for wet weather which would combine exercise with amusement, to supply in a measure the loss of the out-of-doors walk? Something of the kind is wanted for a solitary child. She has a swing and rocking-horse, but they do not quite meet the need.

From the same volume, a loose schedule for the mother of four and her nurse: Might I suggest to the distracted mother the following time table which I have successfully tried for nine months, and which may prove of some little service, as we are similarly situated, we also having four children and one nurse. Breakfast, 7.30; Prayers, 8. After that the children go into the garden, if fine, or into the nursery, while I go into the kitchen and arrange the day’s meals. At nine o’clock the two older ones come down to have lessons, and I teach till eleven. During this time the baby sleeps, and nurse tidies her night nursery. At eleven they have their lunch, dress and go out for two hours. I then practice, or write, or paint. At one o’clock I dine with the three eldest children, and then go to the nursery while nurse gets her dinner downstairs. I feel very strongly that a nurse’s nerves need this rest, and absence from her charges. She generally comes up again about half-past two, when I dress and go out, often to pay calls, but more often with the elder children for country walks. At five we have the nursery tea, and at half-past five begin to undress the baby. As the nurse finishes bathing each child I give them their supper, and see each one into bed. At seven o’clock my husband returns, and I am at liberty to be with him. I often sew after the children’s dinner, and also in the evenings. Since I work with system I have never felt hurried or overdone, and I trust that my experience may be of some little service to mater.–TIME TABLE.

From another volume: What do I do with this BOY? I have read with much interest your capital magazine the Parents’ Review, and I am sure you or your readers will give me kindly help in my perplexity. I have four children — two boys and two girls — Sylvia, nine; Ernest, eight; Vera, four; and Paul, three years of age. The girls I understand and can manage, but my eldest boy is a hopeless puzzle to me. First, I must tell you that I worship my children, I would die for them, I never spare myself for them, and I am perhaps morbidly anxious and nervous about their happiness and well-being; but I never had brothers, I know nothing of boys, I cannot find out how to amuse them. Ernest is a nervous, highly-sensitive child, with a delicate digestion, but muscularly strong. We live in London, and his one idea is to be out of doors all day, rushing about in the air, playing with any boy he meets, cllimbing the trees in the square, tearing his clothes, losing his handkerchiefs, gloves, &c. Indoors he is miserable. At Christmas I bought him ten shillings’ worth of toys, all the kinds he wanted; he never played with one of them. Before a week was over he had lost or traded away to his schoolfellows for sweets all the implements of his fret-saw work, he smashed his engine to see what was inside, and sold the other toys to buy cakes. I offer to play with him, but he hates sitting still; he will listen for a long while if he is read to, but then fidgets away and is out of doors “just to feel the air,” as he says. He teases the little ones, worries the nurse, and is selfish and quarrelsome with his gentle, elder sisters, who gives up everything to him. I talk to him gently, and he looks at me with his great solemn eyes, and appears to drink in every word. Then he flings his arms round my neck, and says, “I’m going to be less selfish, mother, truly I am,” and off he runs and forgets it all in ten minutes. He is full of fun and mischief, and has a loving affectionate heart, which he hides under a rough voice and manner; but oh! he is so hard to train. He seems to have no tastes; he likes tops, and marbles, and running wild. What am I to do with him? His father is a busy man and says it’s a woman’s place to look after children, and if Ernest is tiresome he must be punished. But I can’t help feeling it is mostly high spirits and thoughtlessness which make Ernest so trying. Is he not too young — eight years — to go to a boarding school? If I could be shown some way of keeping him home amused and happy. — F.L.B. [We invite answers to a letter in which the facts are evidently somewhat disguised with a view of publication. — ED.]
Here is an answer to the question about what to do to amuse a child indoors on rainy days: Miss Austen’s nephew tells us how his Aunt Jane could keep up cup and ball, was it 200 times? This may offer a hint for “Primrose’s” little girl, who should try to beat the record of yesterday’s doings. But better far is battledore and shuttlecock; perhaps there is not game which gives better exercise to the muscles, or tends more to cause chest expansion. The child need not be lonely, as grown-ups play with as much pleasure as children; anyway a record of each day’s feats in the way of “keeping up” would give spirit to the play. If the child learns to play from hand to hand, a battledore in each hand, the exercise is simply perfect, as the muscles of both sides are equally exercised.

Battledore and shuttlecock was usually played with two people- each has a small racket and the shuttlecock is something like the birdy in today’s badminton.

Update the language, and they sound precisely like today’s parents asking questions on a CM related FB page, don’t they?

Your turn- what CM post would you like to share with us? (Note: the linky tool has a glitch: you get to where it asks you to choose a photo, and then you get an error message, so you assume you need to try again or pick another one, but actually it’s already posted. Please doublecheck before resubmitting the photo link).

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