Sunday, June 01, 2014

Offering a Full Life

Children make large demands upon us. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests. Thou hast set my feet in a large room; should be the glad cry of every intelligent soul. Life should be all living, and not merely a tedious passing of time; not all doing or all feeling or all thinking––the strain would be too great––but, all living; that is to say, we should be in touch wherever we go, whatever we hear, whatever we see, with some manner of vital interest. ~ Charlotte Mason (page 170)
Recently, a Facebook friend asked what we would like in a daycare program for special needs adults. What I described was basically a full life as described by Charlotte Mason. While the programs in my area don't meet her lofty expectations, our school does! At the beginning of the year, I imagined I would hang out there and teach Pamela when I wasn't helping out. Family obligations for two of our staff put a serious dent in my time with her, so she attended class with the elementary students for the last two terms of the school year.

Because her teacher and classmates were so gracious and giving, Pamela had a wonderful year! When we moved to Carolina almost a decade ago, I would have never imagined her attending class all day long with her academic peers. All I can say is that God is good!

She joined her class for all manner of living.

Weekly Nature Walks

Classroom Critters

Reading and Narrating Living Books

Science Projects





Field Trips

Tracking Snow Tracks

A Pool Party


Term Finales
I'm especially pleased about the term finales. Even though Pamela narrated less frequently and less consistently than she would have with me one-on-one, clearly she paid enough attention to have something to say during her term exams. Not only that, she has transitioned to doing all her term finale questions in writing. So, besides the benefits of having to self-regulate to the demands of a typical classroom, she made progress in her academics. That's a more than acceptable trade-off, especially when I consider the alternatives for her as an adult in the autism spectrum.


Bright Side of Life said...

I am so overwhelmed with all that Pamela is doing and experiencing. Believe me, I am doing a lot of Snoopy dancing for you all. Fantastic post to read.

Susan A-C said...

I'm so happy for you and for Pamela! Harvest school sounds so wonderful, I wish we had access to something like that. I've been asked several times this year about if we were wanting to have our son put on waiting lists for group/residential homes as he's now 17. The thought makes me so sad. His body might be 17 but his mind is definitely not and we're happy to keep him home. Your work is so inspiring, I'm going to find out if a similar set-up exists or can be done here.

walking said...

For me, it was serendipity. Helping friends start a Charlotte Mason style school gave Pamela a place where she can continue to learn in ways that work for her.

Someone on an Facebook forum asked me if this can be done. I don't know if it "can" be done but I am doing it. :D Since I'm part of staff as a volunteer, it makes sense that Pamela gets to be part of it. It gives me incentive to work hard to ensure our school's success.

Carol said...

My daughter and two of her lovely friends are in the last year of their teaching degrees and we, their parents keep telling them they'll have to start a school together. maybe we should send them over to Harvest School for some ideas!

Karen said...

This is so wonderful! I love reading stories that show the impact and benefits of a CM education. Thank you for sharing! And I think it would be so awesome to have a CM style school.