Friday, June 29, 2007

Countryside and Cloister

I am re-reading Countryside and Cloister by Marie Litchfield, a lovely autobiography of a Carmelite nun who grew up in Somerset during World War II. She and her younger brothers and sisters were educated at home on a shoestring for most of their school years. This is her description of her education ...

My parents obtained permission to teach us at home, for which they were well qualified; and so began the 'Litchfield School' as we liked to call it. It was wonderful - we had occasional lessons, perhaps a whole morning of algebra - but did lots of reading on our own and had plenty of play. ... Father taught us mathematics, Latin and French - or tried to, I should say. Mother's lessons were the more practical ones; needlework and hand-work of various kinds; cookery, and, of course, music. I realise now that we must have been very trying, for she longed for us to play well and enjoy it. I did enjoy it secretly, but there is something about being told - or even asked - to practise that instantly puts some chidren off. I'm afraid that we were a bit uncooperative. It was Mother who guided all our reading, too, and she was brilliant at this. She knew exactly what books we were nearly ready for and kept us just a bit ahead of our capacity, so that reading became for us a continuing joy and a big part of our lives.

4 comments:

Alice Gunther said...

What a fascinating account!

Faith said...

Wow, how interesting! Do you mind if I link to you from the Catholic unschoolers list?

The Bookworm said...

Sure, Faith. Go ahead!

Micki said...

Just found your site while surfing blogs. I can't wait to come back and read more. I've already reserved my Elizabeth Goudge from the library...a new author for me.

Come see my holy card blog. Hope you find some inspiration there. If you want to use any of the pictures on your blog thats ok with me...(maybe a mention of my site would be great too.)

http://thewindowshowsitall.blogspot.com