“You Can Sit on a Book, But You Can’t Read a Chair”

Wise words from veteran homeschool mom Cathy Simmons, in this lovely tribute—just in time for Mother’s Day!—by her daughter, Amy Sloan, at Homeschooling Without Training Wheels. Amy writes:

This is one of my favorite mom-isms ever.  My family never had fancy furniture, but we had shelves brimming with well-read treasures.  Our entire home overflowed with books from my earliest memories.  We read books aloud together constantly, both for school and pleasure.

Amy’s mom is one of my homeschool heroes, as well as a treasured friend. We met years ago, when Cathy’s son Zach arrived at Patrick Henry College—and our church—as a freshman. All the ways that the Simmons family has blessed the Weitz family, and all of our family ties that have grown in the ensuing years is a whole ‘nother story for different day.

Amy and her husband are second-generation homeschoolers, which means their moms were among the homeschool pioneers of the late 80s and 90s. Amy’s lovely post, “Thanks, Moms!” honors her husband’s mother as well as her own. What a joy to witness Amy’s thankfulness. All moms of “grown and gones” have a secret—or not so secret—list of things we keenly wish we had done differently. We have no illusions about our supermom status, so it sure is a balm when our adult children (most of whom have way outpaced us in life and learning) give grateful credit for the things we got right.

I love this description of her own homeschool days:

My mom was essentially classical before it was hip or had a trendy label.  The opposite of an “ages and stages” approach, she used the humanities as the core of our academic adventures.  We studied history biographically and chronologically.  We delved deeply into the riches of original sources.  We memorized large chunks of Scripture and (later on) catechism.  We even studied Latin!

What she is really talking about here is the pursuit of scholé . . . before it was cool. And, there’s more—

When I was a teenager and knew everything, I remember regretting that I hadn’t been drilled with a bunch of facts and dates (how I misunderstood the “grammar” stage at that time from my months of reading and becoming an “expert” from all the new cool books on classical education).  Now that I’m an adult and realize how little I actually know, I am filled with such intense gratitude for how my mom pursued a vision for raising a human being in the light of God’s Word and through the riches of a liberal arts education.

And just one more. Anyone who knows Cathy will immediately nod and smile at this one!

We never had time to grow uninterested, because Mom had personal enthusiasm for learning new things herself that radiated outward to the rest of us.  Whether we were crying over a novel, discovering reasons behind a math rule, or waxing doxological over the intricacies of science, we always knew that learning was something worth loving.

Everyone in my house rejoiced when we knew that Mrs. Simmons was coming for a visit (and Mr. Simmons, too). My kids especially reveled in her zeal and joy. Cathy simply brims with wonder, and that is one big secret of her classical homeschooling success.

Read the entire post, and be encouraged.

Thanks, Moms: 6 Things I’ve Learned from My Own Homeschool Moms

La Bibliothèque by Felix Vallotton, 1921

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