Anyone who has spent some time with a four or five year old can attest to the fact that they are full of questions. Why is the sky blue? What is that called? How do the apples grow on the trees? Why did God make bees? On and on it goes. Sometimes, the steady stream of curiosity can exhaust our adult patience. Yet, there is a certain beauty in it. Young children possess such sincerity and care in their desire to know more. We're told that this is a short stage which often dies off around age six or seven. But, why is that?
Perhaps the not so obvious answer is school. Children enter school at age five eager to know more about how the world works and all too often are fed a steady stream of 'junk food' books and dull worksheets. By age six or seven, their curiosity has been severely dulled. When getting through school has more to do with filling in the correct multiple choice bubble than it does with forming relationships with books, nature, math and painting, it's no wonder that the children give up. Some will strive to please and get the correct answer, some will quietly fill in their bubbles hoping that nobody notices how little they care, while others will show their frustration through acting out. The good news is that it's never too late to recover curiosity.
Whether you are looking to restore or maintain those bright and curious eyes, a living education provides the necessary ingredients to genuinely educate and inspire young minds. We believe what Charlotte Mason said to be true:
"In proportion to the range of living relationships we put in his way, will he have wide and vital interests, fulness of joy in living."
Perhaps you've had the pleasure of meeting a Lawyer who is a hobby ornithologist and finds great satisfaction in his monthly book club, he helps to care for the poor through ministries at his church, he has a garden and enjoys many interesting friendships. One could say that he is, in the words of Charlotte Mason, "author(ing) a full and free life." This should be the goal - to raise a child into adulthood who is not only prepared for a career, but is prepared to live well and remains genuinely curious throughout his days. This is the very reason why Ambleside Schools are striving to re-define education for the children's sake.