We arrived at the Lodge and checked in. We got our folders and badges. My daughter greeted old friends. I didn’t have any of those; but I met people I can call old friends in the future should the occasion arise. If they wear nametags, I will also remember their names.
We found our cabin and unloaded the car including the wilderness provisions. We packed those in the refrigerator for the trip home. Fortunately, we both got bottom bunks. At my age, a bottom bunk is a necessity.
After arranging our belongings, we headed back to the Lodge to peruse the book sale. My daughter has plans to cover every available wall space in her home with bookshelves and shelves must have good books. One limitation on the number of books to choose on this trip was the baggage weight limit on the plane ride back home.
We attended the pre-retreat gathering, where I learned about Charlotte Mason. I had heard her name but hadn’t the need or desire to research her methods. I was able to give a successful elevator presentation to my seat neighbor regarding Charlotte Mason. My takeaway from that session: “Contemplate the personhood of the child you are holding.” My grandchildren are individuals; and I must recall that in my interactions with them.
The second day started early as did my daughter. I did not; but I made it to breakfast before they closed the kitchen.
I may be confused about when this occurred; but I think it was the second day. The session started with attendees introducing themselves. Luckily the last half of the alphabet was first. I’m in the first half which gave me a temporary reprieve. Something might occur and the first half of the alphabet would be overlooked. That didn’t happen. The first half of the alphabet was not overlooked. This is who I am. (I didn’t say all this when it was my turn and hope it isn’t too much information.)
I am Marietta Grover, Dawn Rhymer’s Mom. You may not have put us together because we never sat together. She liked the front; I liked the couch. Consider putting a couch in front at the next LER. I will sit there. I got my teacher training at Chicago Teacher’s College North with a Mathematics major. I taught Mathematics in Junior High, High School, and College in various places from 1966 to 1984. Since my husband is military, I accompanied him around the country. When we arrived in Omaha, the school year had begun (too late to get a teaching job unless I considered substituting, which I didn’t). Because I had some background in Computer Science I took a job, temporarily, as a Software Engineer. The temporarily lasted from 1985 to 2017. I got back to teaching when Dawn asked if I would take over teaching Math to my five grandchildren. I jumped at the great opportunity. I live in Nebraska. My grandchildren live in Colorado. We use Zoom. I love it.
The morning's plenary, “Learning for a Lifetime”, was right up my alley. I enjoyed the presentation and have already obtained one of the books Jeanette mentioned, “Naming Nature”. I considered the Nature Study Immersion session until I found out it required a field trip (walking around outside). I like walking around; it’s the outside part that gives me pause. I now have a nature journal. Dawn and I went to a Half Price bookstore in Omaha before she left for home. Dawn needed more books. I needed a nature journal. It was later that night as I sat in the kitchen when I got the journal out. I was eager to begin. Empty sheets of paper beg for something to give their life meaning. There’s not much nature in my kitchen (thankfully); but there was a Kleenex box with a picture of a butterfly and a flower. (See picture above.) So, I made my first entry. The entries have gotten better and actually have taken me outside and into the bird and plant books on my bookshelves. My notes say “Learn one new thing a day”. I applaud that endeavor. There is so much to learn and so little time.
Somewhere in the schedule of learning, I was exposed to a picture of a painting called “Fortitude”. We got into groups of four and absorbed the painting for some number of minutes. I can’t recall ever looking at a painting for so long a time. Then our group discussed what we saw. I also don’t recall ever discussing a painting with anyone much less a group. It was an eye-opening experience (pun intended). I actually enjoyed discussing the painting. I have been in several art museums in the United States and Europe. I wondered why people in these places would sit on a bench and stare at a painting. What were they looking at? What were they looking for? I feel a tremendous loss. I had the opportunity to stare at a painting for so long a time. I could have discussed a painting with someone. I can’t go back and get those missed opportunities; but I can move ahead.
Obviously, I chose the Math Games session. I have used some of the games when I am on site in Colorado. The grandkids love them.
The afternoon plenary dove into the basis of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education. It’s not Greek.
I chose “Imagination” for my afternoon session--an excellent presentation. I have a list of TED talks and books to follow up on the ideas presented. I have seen the imagination in my grandkids and hope to never discourage it.
I enjoy poetry and have participated with reading and listening to the poetry my grandchildren are assigned. So, I chose the Poetry session. I learned poetry involves not just reading the poem but learning about the poet. Karla read from the life of Longfellow. I got asked to narrate. I had heard the grandkids do narration many times; but this was my first narration. Karla says I did well. Karla is kind.
I could not imagine running a home with seven children. I wanted to hear about how this is done. Mary’s presentation reminded me that people are so much more important than things. Why is simplicity so hard?
Art’s final presentation reminded me always to remember we are shaped by our journey through life. The joys and trials on the path make us who we are. Everyone has a story. It was a privilege to hear Art’s.
What a wonderful group of young men and women who gave their testimony regarding home schooling! (In spite of my self-imposed aversion to exclamation points, one was needed here. I used great restraint not to use two.) When the time is right, I will ask my grandchildren to share their thoughts on home schooling.
The campfire and folksongs demonstrated the skills of so many of the group. It is no surprise to me. It takes superior individuals to assume the task of educating their children. It was uplifting to observe their talents.
It’s been a few weeks since my exposure to living education. Has it had an effect on my life? I am not asking my family for any opinions; nor will I. This is a self-evaluation. Of course, there is the Nature Journal mentioned earlier. I have begun listening to and reading the books mentioned during the retreat. “The River of Doubt“ is in the CD player in the car. I listen to it when I travel anywhere alone. My nighttime reading is “Naming Nature”. I propped up the Fortitude picture near my computer to remind myself to not just see but to observe. I have begun to eliminate clutter (part of cutting back). It’s taken years to get the clutter to its current state; so, I don’t expect miracles. These are small steps; I know. It’s a journey.
I am excited for the new schoolyear to start. I am a part of my grandchildren’s living education.