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Time, Peace, and Creativity




I have been thinking about this little phrase, shared a few years ago as a quick answer to a question by Christy.  In this guest  post over at Afterthoughts, she writes about it as it relates to scheduling in the homeschool, which is what I was referring to.  But I wanted to address it as it relates to another part of homeschooling – outside activities.  I think it applies here as well.

Three words that I read over and over again in Charlotte Mason’s writings are “long,” “slow,”  and “time.”  If you are running around from one activity to the next, you are cheating your students out of so much of the natural benefits of homeschooling and in particular, the CM method.  There was a phrase that used to be popular in homeschool circles:

"If this is homeschooling, why am I always in the minivan?"

A friend recently said that she eliminated 40 hours – 40 hours! - from her outside activities.  All good activities, mind you, and spread over a few children, but cutting those out has made all the difference in  the peace in her home.

In my own home I have seen the benefits of this cutting back, too.  As a family, we are careful about things we say “yes” to, thinking and praying before agreeing to join this or that club, playing a sport, or even volunteering the for myriad of activities church offers.

It’s important that the 15-year-old son has 1-4 hours  every day to think and tinker with robots.  He needs this time to cultivate ideas and creativity that might bring about solutions.  His team recently won at the state robotics championship, bringing home a passel of awards.
 
I like what Ken Robinson says in Out of Our Minds:

“Creativity is Imagination Applied.”


It’s important for the 17-year-old daughter to spend a few hours every day messing with her photography and editing skills.  It’s one of the things she loves to do and giving her that time respects her as a person. I have gained a huge respect for those who choose this art form as I had no idea the time it takes to produce amazing pictures.



For some reason, we tend to think that as our students get older, they should spend less time alone, thinking, tinkering, experimenting, and daydreaming and more time doing “important” things. But in a way,  I think more of it is needed.

My farmer friend once told me that one day she looked out her kitchen window and saw a sight that she will never forget and brought tears to her eyes.  Out in her yard was her young daughter on her horse, lying on her back and just staring at the sky. She knew that she was giving her daughter a precious gift. 

It's important that the 11-year-old gets lots of time to paint and draw. Or the ...you get the picture.



Sometimes we need to resist the urge to nag our children to “get up and do something.” Sometimes giving them the time and space to just “be” is the best way to respect their personhood. (Masterly inactivity, anyone?)And  sometimes it takes the adult in their life to rearrange things so this can happen.

Warmly,
Nancy


18 comments:

  1. *sigh* I just LOVE this post. :) *sigh again* Thank you.

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    1. Dear Amy,
      You're so very welcome, Amy dear.
      Truly,
      Nancy

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  2. Amen. I love creativity. This is so much of what Makoto Fujimura speaks about in being generative.

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    1. Dear Bonnie,
      Yes, exactly - being generative can be a result of all this, and should be!
      Truly,
      Nancy

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  3. This is so, so encouraging and I need to keep reading things like this over and over. I truly believe what you say is true; our kids need that time and space. One of my 7-year-old piano students was wondering over how composers could come up with such songs and how they had the time to think of them. We were talking about a composer who made his own instruments also and she was amazed that he would have the free time to come up with and build the instruments. Then she said something to this effect, "sometimes I have a good idea and I want to think about it and work on it but then we have to go somewhere".

    It sometimes doesn't seem like we're doing much but important work is going on in those unscheduled chunks of time.

    Thank you for the reminder Nancy.

    Shelley Dorman

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    1. Dear Shelley,
      Even 7-year-olds can see how much it is needed! Thanks for sharing this little story that illustrates the point!
      Truly,
      Nancy

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  4. Dear Nancy - thank you so much for that encouragement! It's easy to get involved in too many good things and become burdened and burned out by it all! Thanks for sharing your thoughts - I needed to hear it! Blessings, Patti

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    1. Dear Patti,
      Lest anyone think I've got this down, let me say that I am always weighing activities. Sometimes we get it right, but sometimes we don't. I need it, too, Patti!
      Warmly,
      Nancy

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  5. Your wise words continue to bless, Nancy! I actually took this idea and cut back -- not just our school schedule but our extracurriculars as well, and have not regretted it. My son has thanked me many times for the margin we try (not always successfully) to protect in our lives. I've discovered that even good things like audio books or vocal music playing in the background can rob us of the quiet we need to hear God's voice, think deep thoughts or get those creative juices flowing. Thanks for this timely reminder! Stay warm up there ;)

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    1. Dear Christy,
      I agree - we need the quiet. So happy things are going well with your son!
      Warmly,
      Nancy

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  6. It is amazing that as the cutting back happens a beautiful flower blooms...our children. And for that matter...ourselves. We too as parents benefit from the cutting back of the 'things to do'. Our presence sets the tone. I am usually a 'less is more' type of person, but last year too many things crowded my day and mind. This year the cutting back has brought back the freshness to set my feet in a big room as well as time to truly be still and know that He is God. Our home is peaceful again, but you are right it is a continual reminding of weighing and choosing. I love that Charlotte Mason set this example in her private time as well. Thank you Nancy for your always timely freshness.

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    1. Dear Dena,
      Lovely analogy with the flower! Your thoughts are beautifully stated, Dena. Thank you!
      Warmly,
      Nancy

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  7. Nancy,
    I appreciate that you give credibility to your children's interests and hobbies and that you affirm the time spent just "being".
    "Well done", on all the talent coming from your household.

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  8. Does it take these winter/ mid school months to regain perspective and get back on track? It seems every year about this time I must reevaluate choices and reset some of my priorities in homeschooling. I appreciate you insight and bringing it all to the forefront. I love the term "masterly inactivity". I need it too!

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  9. Amen! I try so hard to remember this. Every yes means a no somewhere else. Is it worth it? Likewise, every no means a yes to something. Like that peace.

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  10. Well said Nancy :)

    Unfortunately, we over scheduled this spring semester and are temporarily committed. However, my dd and I were just talking last night about extras we can cut for fall.

    Looking forward, rather than back....

    Thanks,
    Melissa

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  11. Uncanny. This has been the private topic of my thoughts this week, well, for months now I guess, just more focused this week. Somehow we are so often on the same wave length! I'm SO glad you shared it, and for your personal applications. :) you have a special bunch of people in your family! Say hi to them from me :)

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  12. Coming in late ... and so grateful for the confirmation and heart-peace your post brings! It is sometimes difficult for city folk to maintain time and space, but it easy for our family, living on a remote farm up in the mountains. My daughters are so creative because they have time to develop their passions and interests.

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