As we've been working through our naturalist training with the Kamana program, I'm pleased to see connections with Charlotte Mason's methods and the fruit they bring. It is easy to see how the children have already been trained to pay attention to detail since we've been doing nature journals for many years now. Drawing the local flora and fauna of the region demands attention to detail. Field guides are some of the first books they begin to use for themselves, before they can even read well. Not only nature study but picture study and narration have also provided training in attention.
When you read about these methods and begin practicing them, it takes faith. Often you think, "Can it be that simple?" Can we just read good books and talk about them? Will hanging up pictures by different artists and spending 5-10 minutes looking at the detail every so often really do anything? Will playing the music of great composers and maybe occasionally reading a short biography lead to a love of great music? Can scientific knowledge be gained by just going for a walk and finding something to draw in your nature notebook? These truly are seeds and by planting the habits, watering and pulling out the weeds, they will grow. There will be fruit.
The fruit is opening your eighteen year old daughter's cd case and seeing Vivaldi and Brahms CD's among the other music. The fruit is when your sixteen year old says she wants to get up extra early to go to spend time at her special place in the woods or when she asks for a great man of history's autobiography to read outside of "school time". The fruit is when your nineteen year old wants to study writing and yes, she may still need some help with the mechanics but she has so much to say and she says it with style.
It's always easy, for me at least, to see the mistakes I have made or the bad habits I have allowed to go unchecked. So it's really rewarding to have those times when you look back and see things that you've done right, things that bear good fruit. It's good to jot down those realizations in a journal somewhere so you can look back on them during the times when it you feel hopelessly discouraged and it seems everything is going wrong.