About Me

I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Scottish History 'Field Trip'

We are enjoying an impromptu 'module' on Scottish history! I recently described the opportunities that come form having a slightly hectic and itinerant schedule. So I currently find myself in a farm cottage in central Scotland, and the boys and I are making day-trips whilst my husband stays home and works on various distance-learning tasks. It's been great!

Highlights so far:

1) Walking up a steep hill to discover two cannons and the 'beheading stone'. The boys of course wanted to know who was beheaded there, and I had no idea....

2) As well as checking on the internet for information (they boys still haven't realised we look up their tricky questions overnight to supply answers in the morning!) the following day we went to Doune Castle. If you had opportunity, it is a gem! Unique in that it represents a single period in history rather than having been refashioned through the ages, it was the hunting lodge of Kings James I-III. And whilst we were there, we found that it was Murdoch, earl of Lennox, his sons and father in law who were beheaded by their cousin King James I.

3) Stirling Castle itself is well worth a visit. High on a hill, overlooking much of central Scotland, you can really understand the strategic importance of the city as the ancient capital. It is one thing to explain military strategy in words, but so much easier and more captivating to stand on the battlements and be able to see for many miles and understand how one could see enemy invaders for miles around. (And I got to take an international teleconference about one of my studies at the castle, whilst my husband took a break from his work!)

4) Climbing Dollar Gorge to Castle Campbell. This was interesting, because it was very hard, steep walking for boys aged 5, 4 and 2, even though they are accustomed to much physical activity. It made us question why on earth there was a castle in such a remote, difficult terrain. But hiking up to it really made the boys appreciate its situation (and it was breathtakingly beautiful; we are in the midst of a crisp, cold, colourful autumn.

5) That the boys are keen to record, in writing and drawing, their experiences and impressions of what they have seen and done. People sometimes think us harsh because 'school' never really stops, but my understanding is that this is in keeping with Charlotte Mason (and many other educationalists') philosophy that 'education is a life'. It doesn't start and stop. Technically we are 'on holiday' and yet this week has been more richly educational than many others.

6) Later in the week - plan to visit Bannockburn - apparently the new visitor centre has some great interactive activities that will be good for the children. (I'll report back - often I find that things that are described as 'good for children' are dumbed down and involve lots of media and flashing lights and displays which we find a little unnecessary and unhelpful!)

7) Living on a farm - I've written about this before, but we see many things which remind us of where our food comes from, the cycles of life (including animal slaughter), the seasons and help us understand some of the biblical parables about sowers and farming.

This post is mainly to encourage you - everything is an opportunity. We have not spent much time at the table (probably 20 minutes per day) but we've embraced many educational opportunities which I am sure will be more lasting than my attempts to explain concepts verbally would have been. Visiting the castles and talking long, challenging walks up to them has really brought a lot of Scottish history to light (and I must confess, I am learning more than I ever knew, even though I spent my childhood not too far from here!)

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