Monday, August 8, 2016

Coming Home After CMI West 2016

I was so overjoyed with the success of our first CMI Western Conference.  It was great to see old friends, make new friends and especially, to finally, meet forever old online friends! The speakers were wonderful!  I have to admit there is always much to ponder and process after this event.

American Jewish Universtiy, CA
I got home Saturday afternoon and after some unwinding I made my way to the kitchen to find a book on the island counter.  It surprised me to see it there and eventually learned that my 12 yr old daughter  had been reading it earlier in the day.  "That's nice, " I thought and continued with the afternoon. 

Sunday we got up early for mass, and when we got home, we needed to make "something" to bring over to friends that had invited us to their pool.  My 12 yr old immediately insisted that she wanted to bake some cookies using "candy covered chocolate drops in an array of beautiful rainbow colors!"  Her wanting to bake did not  surprise me as she is the official family baker around here.  What did delight me tons was when she started baking and asked if she could tell me about the book...and how wonderful it was...and how she "now knows" about Theodoric, a friar, and his work with rainbows.  Her excitement and precise telling of rainbows; her newly developed relationship with a humble monk in the middle ages was very refreshing.  It wasn't an assignment given to her; it was just a book with a story she chose to read the day before.  Now, that knowledge of rainbows and Theodoric Dietrich has become hers.

Theodoric's Rainbow by Stephen Kramer
This small encounter lead me back to our last session at CMI, given by Dr. Carroll Smith, precisely on the "Story as Narrative".  A discussion on the use of story and living books.  The ability of a story to transport you to other places.  In our children, good literary stories allow them to use their imagination. Mere facts won't give them a visual or a relationship with the idea.  Ultimately, how the power of telling leads to knowing.  I couldn't have been more delighted to come home to my family, of course, but after the conference (specifically Dr. Smith's talk) I admit there was an added sweetness to seeing Charlotte Mason's methods working in my children.

*The book by the way is Theodoric's Rainbow by Stephen Kramer