Rough Sea at Étretat by Claude Monet
"A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor." I used this Franklin D. Roosevelt quote on the first packets sent home to my eighth-grade students when my school and districts across the U.S. shut down in March. The next months certainly proved to cause waves and unrest. I had a sense we were in for a wild ride. Little did I know just how turbulent it would be.
In the current moment of a worldwide health crisis and civil unrest, we find that the idea of our school is all the more necessary-first in wisdom and second in self-reliance. Our children do not have to be the biggest losers in the whole ordeal. It is critical now as always, we use wisdom from our Creator and provide sound guidance and leadership to our children. We must nurture hope and belief in a brighter future. This instruction begins with reading the best living book and best-seller known as the Bible. Moving from a public charter to a faith-based school allows us the freedom to teach the living word that will spiritually sustain our children through the years to come.
As disheartening as it is to watch statues of our past fall, our history must be taught and known in the hearts of our children. Charlotte Mason acquainted her students with art, literature, music, and ideas of the great minds of our past as well as an appreciation of other cultures. Our students, like all prestige scholars, will be able to recognize a quote from Horace or a picture from Van Eycks. Upon hearing and seeing such works, children will respond enthusiastically to the curriculum. Mason wrote, "He touches a spring to which all hearts rise because allusions to what we know are like the light on 'old familiar faces.'" Being the beneficiaries of wisdom, beauty, and truth, is it not our responsibility to know them intimately? This quote resonates with today's children who are only familiar with star athletes, pop and rap artists, and Hollywood celebrities. We must do better in providing them a delectable feast of the greatest thinkers, authors, inventors, artists, and musicians of all time. The book, Fahrenheit 451 portrays a society where the books of the past are burned. Like the adult survivors in that story, our children become the books. Wisdom, knowledge, and the stories of our past will find refuge in their minds, hearts, and whole being that will be shared and never destroyed.
With threatened shortages in food supply chains, raising children in the practice of growing their food and caring for livestock will also provide the skills necessary to become self-reliant should the economy fall apart. They will learn the vital concept of community and helping one another out in times of plenty and strife. Seeking solutions that cannot be purchased will cultivate creativity, ingenuity, and a proud sense of accomplishment in future generations. Many of you might agree that we weren't headed in the right direction before this whole ordeal manifested. Now we have the opportunity to get back to a life that is rooted in simplicity and meaning.