"Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table." -William Shakespeare

Friday, August 26, 2011

FFT Friday: the Cup of Tea I Needed Most

Generally, when I get a good book in my paws, I inhale it like a greedy 2-year-old with a big cookie. (The image is in my head because my almost-2-year-old did in fact inhale a big fat no-good-for-you cookie today- in case you were wondering, it does happen sometimes here.)

Point in case: this week I got my paws on three novels by Elizabeth Goudge I've had on my reading list for 5 years and I'm nearly done with the 3rd. And actually I only laid paws on them 3 days ago. (Blush.... I mean the meals got cooked, the laundry got folded and little people got nurtured... I do read really fast...)

So when I read a book slowly, it's to savour it. To digest it as I go. To pray it, ruminate on it as I take it into my mind. And if a book is good enough for me to read slowly, really tasting every bite, then it's a truly special book, and they don't come often.

I just finished a book which I read veeeeery slowly. It took me 7 days to read a volume I could have read in about 4 hours. Because I didn't want it to end. Because it was like having a cup of tea after a rough day with just the person who had just the right things to say. The book left me at peace, deeply at peace with myself. Myonly regret is that I didn't read this book before placing my book orders this summer.


Here it is:
A Little Way of Homeschooling

Suzie Andres has done it again. With humility, simplicity, and the sharpness of a fine sword, she cuts through every fear in my mother's heart, even the ones I didn't know were there. Her first book:
Homeschooling with Gentleness: A Catholic Discovers Unschoolingwas revolutionary. Utterly revolutionary.

But the critics were there, in the wings, ready: O sure, for a highly educated and well-read family that might work. O sure, if you only have 2 kids, spaced 10 years apart that's a nice idea. O sure, if....

But here is a collection of writings from over a dozen women who let natural learning happen in their homes. Homes with a child or two; homes with a dozen or so! Homes where very different types of children have grown up to become intelligent, peaceful individuals with happy, productive lives.

Plus, in the spirit of Suzie and her husband's academic work, there is more information on the reassuring philosophical underpinnings of a relaxed home education (that her first book was so full of)- why it works, why it makes sense, why it is in keeping with the laws of nature and the laws of the human soul.

If I were considering whether homeschooling was for me, I would read this book.
If I were feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, and was fighting with my children due in part (or in whole) to the way I was homeschooling, I would read this book.
If I thought unschooling was a four-letter word, I would read this book.
If I wanted to know more about what several very holy saints had to say about education, I'd read this book.

If I had to rescue books from a fire and I could only take 3 homeschooling reference books (or what I call Mother-books) with me, this would be one of them, along with John Holt's Growing without Schooling and Mary Hood's The Relaxed Homeschooler.

Mother Teresa said, "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." Why does that quotation capture the essence of this book for me? Because in this modern, fast-paced world, I look at families, with children learning at home or in schools, and I see the lack of peace. For me, this book illuminates a way to bring peace into my home and keep it there, like a well-tended fire.

God bless you, and may you find the cup of tea you really need today.

"This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put." ~Attributed to Winston Churchill, rejecting the rule against ending a sentence with a preposition, c.1948, may instead have been said by an anonymous official, see notes at www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/churchill.html
(YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW LONG I HAVE WAITED TO FIT THIS FAVORITE QUOTE OF MINE INTO A POST HERE!!!! And no, it doesn't really fit here, but I couldn't wait another day to use it on you. And yes, if you scrutinize, I find it necessary to leave prepositions dangling now and then in order to properly express myself.)


  1. Nice review! I loke your blog! And that picture of bread and honey is making me hungry!

  2. Lovely! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Oh my! I am rejoicing that you found the spiritual food you needed in this book that has been a joy for me too...

    Thank goodness I don't have to choose which was more delightful to find in your post: the peace A Little Way brought you, or that you read 3 Elizabeth Goudge books this week!?

    But now please tell us: which 3 were they?
    My favorites are The Scent of Water, The Dean's Watch, the trilogy (Heart of the Family is one). At least I think they are my favorites - kind of hard to choose since all are so good.
    Isn't she wonderful?

    In the love of good soul-nourishing books,
    Suzie Andres
    p.s. Can't figure out how to be "somebody" instead of "nobody" - but it's good for my humility :)

  4. I loved the Little Way of Homeschooling. It completely change how I school. I have taken all the pressure off me and the kids. It is AMAZING! And we are learning so much!

  5. I love that Mother Theresa quote... And so glad you love the book. It's true, we contributors are all different and I love that diversity in Catholic Unschooling!

  6. I read the whole Eliot Trilogy. It was superb, but I must admit I got impatient with some of the looong descriptive passages. I'm eager for The Scent of Water, which my new library also has!

  7. I love Elizabeth Goudge too! I haven't been able to get my hands on an unread one in a long time. I keep searching the secondhand stores... And Suzie's books: wonderful! What a great review. BTW, I followed your link from the UC list and I've enjoyed your posts. God bless.

  8. Found your blog through DS .. and I think your blog is the thing I need to read next time i have some time!!