More Than a Charlotte Mason Moment
The toe bone is connected to the foot bone… The foot bone is connected to the heel bone…
In elementary school, my health class memorized a song called Dry Bones. I didn’t know it at the time, but this song references Ezekiel 37:1-14, where Ezekiel prophesies that the dead in the Valley of Dry Bones will one day rise again at the Lord’s command. The song tells the sequence of bones, starting with the toe bone connected to the foot bone, the foot bone connected to the heel bone, and moves upward all the way to the head bone. Though there are many variations of this song, the song usually ends with “Now hear the Word of the Lord.” This week I was reminded of Dry Bones for an odd reason! Though the song is about how bones are connected, I was reminded of the song by how Heart of Dakota’s subjects are connected! And Charlotte Mason has a lot to do with it!
The Storytime ‘Bone’ Connected to the Write with the Best ‘Bone’
For MTMM’s Storytime, Emmett has been reading Factory Girl. In Factory Girl, 12-year-old Emily works in an overcrowded sweatshop for just four dollars a week. She works eleven hours straight, clipping threads from blouses as fast as she can. Emily’s boss shouts for her to snip faster, or she’ll be fired. However, if she snips too fast, she’ll ruin the blouse and be docked pay. Emily’s family will starve without her pay. When a reporter arrives and begins to expose the factory’s terrible working conditions, Emily begins to hope for a better life. Archived, real-life photographs brought this book to life for Emmett. At 13-years-old, Emmett is close to Emily’s age, and the life she led as a factory girl was surprising. This living book made such an impact on Emmett that he was soon connecting this Storytime ‘bone’ to his Write with the Best ‘bone.’ Let’s see how!
The Write with the Best ‘Bone’ Connected to the Science ‘Bone’
For Write with the Best, Emmett needed to write a persuasive essay. He immediately connected his Factory Girl Storytime ‘bone’ to his Write with the Best persuasive essay ‘bone.’ He took notes, made an outline, and wrote his essay all about working conditions in the Gilded Age. Writing this essay made such an impact on Emmett that he was soon connecting this Write with the Best ‘bone’ to his Science ‘bone.’ Let’s see how!
The Science ‘Bone’ Connected to the Biblical Self-Image ‘Bone’
As Emmett was reading Factory Girl and writing his Write with the Best essay about immigration laws in the Gilded Age, in science, Emmett was reading about Marie Curie. This brilliant woman and her husband discovered the elements polonium and radium. Marie loved her life’s work so much, and it was a passion her husband shared with her as well. As Marie continued to work in her lab, her health began to fail. She had poor working conditions, and due to her constant exposure to radioactive materials, she eventually died.
As Emmett and I discussed the assigned questions in his Marie Curie book, he commented that Marie Curie’s working conditions in her lab were also terrible, but in a different way than Emily’s in Factory Girl. Marie loved her long hours in her lab! She loved working there, and she didn’t know the conditions were harmful. However, Marie did have her lab workers who were also in poor health take fresh air vacations, only to have them return to the lab’s poor working conditions. This, Emmett felt, was not right. Before long, Emmett was connecting this Science ‘bone’ to his Biblical Self-Image ‘bone.’ Marie had a good self-image because her work was her purpose. Emily had a poor self-image because her work was pointless. However, the best self-image comes from knowing you are a child of God.
The Biblical Self-Image ‘Bone’ Connected to the Reading About History ‘Bone’
The day after we finished discussing our Biblical Self-Image lesson from Who Am I? And What Am I Doing Here?, we moved to our Reading About History lesson. It was primarily about Madero replacing Diaz as Mexico’s president. But, it also had connections to Lazarus being raised from the dead. And THIS is where I connected the song Dry Bones to all of this Charlotte Mason, Heart of Dakota-style of learning! Yes, I admit MY connection is the weakest, but as I began to type this “More Than a Charlotte Mason Moment” post, I began humming the tune Dry Bones. I just had to find a way to share this. In the end, the point is: a Charlotte Mason education helps kiddos make connections. Those connections are real, and they are memorable. What an amazing way to learn!