Monday, March 4, 2013

A Homeschooling Fleur de Lis

"In the Middle Ages the symbols of lily and fleur-de-lis (lis is French for "lily") overlapped considerably in Christian religious art. Michel Pastoureau, the historian, says that until about 1300 they were found in depictions of Jesus, but gradually they took on Marian symbolism and were associated with the Song of Solomon's "lily among thorns" (lilium inter spinas), understood as a reference to Mary. Other scripture and religious literature in which the lily symbolizes purity and chastity also helped establish the flower as an iconographic attribute of the Virgin. It was also believed that the fleur de lis represented the Holy Trinity" (Wikipedia).

I was inspired by the fleur de lis to come up with my own "little way" of homeschooling, under the patronage of St. Therese and the Blessed Mother, but not necessarily under the label of unschooling. Though I have not yet received my Keeping It Catholic book, I think I have read enough on unschooling to see that it is problematic for the Catholic homeschooling family, possibly even in the less radical forms. The Faith is supposed to permeate the entire educational experience, and because unschooling does not put forth a clear educational philosophy and method (at least not to my satisfaction), I think I am safer calling what we do ''relaxed CM Catholic homeschooling".  But we'll see... And even if Charlotte Mason was heretical in her worldview, as Marianna Bartold proposes, living books, narration, and nature journals are not used exclusively in the CM method, and these and other techniques can certainly be employed in a Catholic homeschool, as long as the books and materials used are not in conflict with Church doctrine. In this I agree with Mater Amabilis, and I have found some book suggestions on their online curriculum list to try. 

As to the fleur de lis, the central petal represents Catholic faith formation; the left petal stands for order on the homestead; and the one on the right is CM, open source learning. The base of the fleur de lis in my little way corresponds to the Holy Family, with Jesus at the center and Mary and Joseph on each side. I think St. Therese would agree with keeping it simple in our homeschooling so that we do not break our heads over it, as she was wont to say. I want my family to be grounded in the Catholic faith in all things; I wish to continue to bring order to my home and yard (for how else can anyone who lives here relax?), and order is also necessary for the blossoming of Beauty; and I feel that using the CM method in a relaxed, Catholic way gives me a firm foundation for educating my child, along with keeping the good aspects associated with unschooling in mind as we seek open sources for learning.

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