Friday, August 08, 2014

On Being Like a Child: Hildegard's Gift

Some of our special needs children face many illnesses, and a book like Hildegard's Gift by Megan Hoyt offers encouragement. In full disclosure, this review is biased because Megan is my friend. I did buy a copy for her to sign with my own money. And, if you don't believe my praise, read the wonderful review at Publishers Weekly. And, it happens to be on sale right now!

Hildegard was a composer, nun, herbalist, writer, and many other things who lived nine hundred years ago. From the time she was a young child, she suffered from terrible headaches that left her worn out and bedridden at times. Megan's book weaves many big ideas into this children's biography of Hildegard: not all gifts come in packages, with some gifts comes pain, sometimes our frail bodies need rest, sometimes we must persevere even when our body is not cooperating, sometimes our talents are as plain as day, and sometimes they appear in God's good timing. Megan sprinkled Hildegard's words throughout the text. The illustrations by David Hill strike me as Narnian, and that is the highest praise I can give to a piece of art. The tone of the book is sweet and gentle, but also gives children a glimpse of the dark times in Hildegard's life.

We were blessed on July 28 when Megan did a book signing event for us during Clockwise. My friends from prov.en.der came to Harvest and shared what they know about "unhurried time" with our teachers, parents, teachers from one of our sister schools, and homeschoolers.

Humility, being childlike, going through a day done Mason's way, helped us understand "unhurried time." We did copywork, studied dictation, recitation, picture study, history, poetry, prayer, hymns, literature, math, handicraft, nature walk, etc. Our special guest Megan introduced us to Hildegard, not just through her book, but in many ways. She gave us more details about her world and what life was like. She showed us paintings of how people portrayed this visionary woman.

Megan shared many delightful things about Hildegard in ways that tapped into our senses. Throughout the day, we listened to her music while we did work that required quiet thought. We tried singing "O Ignis Spiritus" in the best melisma style that we could. She invited one of our teachers, who grows all sorts of herbs in her garden, to share those that Hildegard might have enjoyed. I don't want to give it all away, but we enjoyed it so much I plan to invite her back so our kids can get to see a bona fide author who is published! If you live within a reasonable distance from the Charlotte area, I encourage you to contact her for a book signing.


Anneatheart said...

Hi there, I just wanted to say that I am SO amazed and encouraged at your daughter and the fact that you homeschooled her, still homeschool with her as an adult, and that it was using Charlotte Mason. It is so wonderful to see this. My oldest daughter was born with Trisomy 9 mosaic. We have been so blessed, and it's because of our believing God's Word that she is almost completely normal. She doesn't have much speech and is delayed with the toilet etc. but she can understand everything and participate like most children. I do not homeschool her, because I feel like it would be too much to handle working with her and her three younger sisters. But, I would like to at some point, and your blog has so encouraged me that it is possible. Thanks!

walking said...

Anne with an "e", we all do the best we can do to nurture ourselves while giving our families what they need. As long as we orient ourselves to following God, we will find the path that works for us.