Monday, November 29, 2010


Just popping in for a quick post while I wait for a friend to email me back about an ANI chart question for Ivanhoe class tomorrow. I love that class, and those kids, and the recitation assembly that happens before class. We recite the Charlotte Mason Students' Motto, which is a good motto for mommies, too:

I am . . . a child of God, a gift to my parents and my country. I'm a person of great value because God made me.

I can . . . do all things through Christ who strengthens me. God has made me able to do everything required of me.

I ought . . . to do my duty to obey God, to submit to my parents and everyone in authority over me, to be of service to others, and to keep myself healthy with proper food and rest so my body is ready to serve.

I will . . . resolve to keep a watch over my thoughts and choose what's right even if it's not what I want.

My favorite part is, "God has made me able to do everything required of me." I just love hearing so many people say it all together. Every time it happens, I get this swelling sense that I CAN do everything required of me, and that I ought to, and that, with the Lord's help, I will.

I do love those kids. They are ages eleven to thirteen, and have lots of energy. I am not very good at being teachertorial, or authoritative, or whatever you call that proper-authority thing that great teachers do. However, we have discussed nobility, and beseiged Torquilstone, and tomorrow we are going to rescue Rebecca from the court at Templestowe and decide whether she should have refused Bois-Guilbert. Or, instead, we might talk about whether Richard should have played the knight errant (which he did) instead of immediately saving his kingdom from Prince John (which he did NOT).

Here is my favorite definition of magnanimity:

Greatness of mind; that elevation or dignity of soul, which encounters danger and trouble with tranquillity and firmness, which raises the possessor above revenge, and makes him delight in acts of benevolence, which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects.

I really want to do the Richard question because I think it is the more complex of the two. Of course Rebecca should have refused Bois-Guilbert. But Richard, ah, Richard-- that lionhearted, romantic, legendary king. Can anyone fault his doings? But Sir Walter Scott does actually question them:

Novelty in society and adventure were the zest of life to Richard Coeur-de-Lion, and it had its highest relish when enhanced by dangers encountered and surmounted. In the lion-hearted King, the brilliant, but useless character, of a knight of romance, was in a great measure realized and revived; and the personal glory which he acquired by his own deeds of arms, was far more dear to his excited imagination, than that which a course of policy and wisdom would have spread around his government. Accordingly, his reign was like the course of a brilliant and rapid meteor, which shoots along the face of Heaven, shedding around an unnecessary and portentous light, which is instantly swallowed up by universal darkness; his feats of chivalry furnishing themes for bards and minstrels, but affording none of those solid benefits to his country on which history loves to pause, and hold up as an example to posterity.

Sounds like he had an active imagination. He reminds me a little of Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey before she realizes how ridiculous she is to seek out a Gothic novel in real life. (There is enough evil in life without seeking for it in dank castles and ruined abbeys, as she eventually realizes.) But according to Scott, Richard never matured enough to learn that true nobility lies in doing one's duty with wisdom and generosity.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for typing out that motto - I'll have to print that out. Are you using the Lost Tools of Writing in your class? Hows are you liking it?

Mrs. H

Katie said...

We aren't using LTW, but I learned about the ANI chart last year, and I love it. I want to get LTW as soon as I can. I have high hopes for it!