Friday, February 4, 2011

back in 1840

It was a pleasure joining Catherine and her 3rd grade class as they spent a school day at Brattonsville Academy, a school that Dr. Bratton started for his daughters back in the early to mid 1800's. The children recited a poem, practiced writing, learned about quill pens and how to write with one, did math on a slate board and reviewed the geography of South Carolina as it was in 1840. Once they completed their work, they enjoyed playing outside... games fitting to "back then." After playtime and using the privy (or out house), the children ate lunch: a ham biscuit, apple, dill pickle, milk and a cookie... served to them wrapped up in a towel and placed in a little basket. They finished up their day with making butter and doing a little dancing outside. Catherine really enjoyed the experience and found so much about it intriguing... it was a different sort of school day for sure... different in good way!

Having experienced a school day like it would've been "back then"... I continue to ponder if that would have been a good fit for me. As I observed what was being taught and what was expected of the children, like the way they had to stand while answering questions and speak in complete sentences, there was so much about it that drew me in. I thought a lot about why I, and so much of our society, has bought into the belief that we have to teach our children so much, so early. It seemed to me, as I watched and listened, the focus was more on speaking properly, using appropriate manners in a respectful way, and doing what you did well. It came across as a much simpler time, though I know it was "hard" and had it's own set of challenges. Certain things about that time continue to break my heart... especially the use of slaves and the way they were treated. But I find so much about it appealing. I think it's a craving in me to peal back all the layers of complexity I've allowed to creep into my life, often due to giving way to pressures from this "world," and find simplicity. Determine what is truly best for Brian, Me and our children - our family... be sure that what we determine is best is in alignment with God's desires for us. Though I feel we do a fairly decent job of not over-committing, there are still things at home we allow to eat up and complicate our time... often related to technology (it's beneficial but harmful, too), and for me, not using my time wisely. There in lies the challenge... how to edit such things so they are balanced in my life. And within an edited life, embracing what it offers as to enjoy the simplicity rather than allowing the ways of the world to steal the very joy that a simple life offers.


Jody said...

Love this blog - so true!!!!

Jody said...

And it is really Gina - not Jody!!!