All the chapters in our read-aloud, My Contract With Henry, begin with one of Thoreau's quotes. Today's struck me as something to remember, especially in the context of educating pre-teens and teens, in the midst of their tears, moods, silences, silliness, distance, sarcasm, confusion, moments of understanding and clarity and sudden sweetness.
To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.
So says Henry. Sometimes I lose that focus and become distracted, thinking about the quality of my children, their work, their approach to the world, their moods and troubles. When perhaps, to simply focus on the quality of the day - something, as a home educator I have a responsibility to do but also take great pleasure in doing and creating - should be taking precedence.
If I concentrate on the day - provide nourishing food, literature, art and music, interesting work, meaningful chores, thoughtful feedback and responses, opportunities to rest or to breath in fresh air, hugs - perhaps I can be a centre around which the children turn, the point that keeps them steady as they change and deal with change. An art indeed.