For those of you who do not know, Karen Andreola has written several books about how she uses the Charlotte Mason style in her homeschool. I love her books and find them inspiring on difficult days. I was thinking about Karen Andreola's statement that children need three things everyday -- something/someone to love, something to do, and something to think about.
Now the SOMETHING TO LOVE is easy for my kids because they live in a family with parents and sibs. My teen has the opportunity to love others by his volunteer work (logged about 200 hours in 2006), but I really want to give the little ones an opportunity to love others through charity work on a more regular basis. We maintain several helping jars that the kids can find coins and put into the jar. (Unknown to them, we hide coins around the house for them to find.) When the jar is full it goes to that charity. But I would like to find more things that they can actually do, a little bit hard to think of ideas for a 3, 4 and 6 year old.
As for the SOMETHING TO DO -- that is easy with Legos, playdough, blocks, crafts and all the great things to build/create. The only challenge is not caving in to the seduction of TV. The television is twaddle and they are not really doing anything when they watch it, but I just can't give it up completely. I crave that little bit of calm time every day.
The last thing is SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT. I try to encourage this by asking the kids lots of questions, reading them books that are just a little bit over their heads so that they have to stretch themselves to narrate back, and encouraging them to use their imaginations. One last thing -- if you haven't read A POCKETFUL OF PINECONES by Karen yet, it is great! It is set up like a novel but gives you great ideas on how to do nature studies at the same time.