Celtic Homeschooling

It is no secret that one of my greatest joys is the discovery of Celtic Christian spirituality.

When we left the city, I was no longer able to attend a Messianic congregation, so I was essentially presented with three options: Anglican, Methodist or stay at home.

For most of the first three years, I stayed at home. Eventually I tried the Methodist and didn’t like it, but then I tried the Anglican and found that for various reasons, I loved it, and then out of Anglicanism I stumbled on Celtic Christianity, and I fell in love. 🙂

For anybody not familiar with Celtic Christianity, here are just some of its essential elements:

– A hopeful, positive outlook
– Love for nature and the outdoors
– An admiration and enjoyment of great stories, whether heard, read, or seen
– An emphasis on the ties that bind—kinship, friendship, anamchara (soul friend or mentor), community, and hospitality
– A lack of authoritarianism and compulsion, and thus freedom of conscience

What does this have to do with home education, I hear you ask?

Well, gradually it has dawned on me that one of the reasons that I feel so at home in Celtic Christianity is that I am by nature Celtic – both by ethnic heritage and by temperament – and it got me wondering about Celtic education.

As one does, when one suspects one has an original idea, I googled Celtic homeschool, and of course it does already exist, but in much the same way as the Celtic peoples and languages, it is small and on the fringe. It hasn’t been taken up in a big way like Classical (Latin / Roman / Greek) education has been. (Take a look at my page on Celtic homeschool above for links.)

I plan to write a longer post to discuss what Celtic home education might consist of, but for now let me suggest the following ideas:

– An emphasis on oral, rather than the written word
– Storytelling
– Celtic languages
– Celtic history and geography, preferably through hands-on, living experience
– Music, especially Celtic folk music, preferably through hands-on, having a go at playing and learning through doing
– Irish dancing
– Nature study
– Learning outdoors

That’s just a quick list of the top of my head, and I’m sure there is more that could be considered. But you can probably see immediately that there is some overlap and affinity with Charlotte Mason education (and although it is less obvious, I have also seen a deep affinity with Jewish thinking and being and learning), and I think that is one of the things that has made the whole concept of Celtic education appeal to me. It’s not a huge step away from what we are currently doing and what we have always naturally leaned towards.

Having moved house again, this time to a new build, we have been left once again (for six weeks so far) without telephone, internet and – because we only access it via the internet – television.

It has been painful, but it has forced us to look for other styles of entertainment, and we have found ourselves naturally singing more, listening to music more, making music more, talking more, reading more aloud, and it has struck me that this has been a natural (though enforced) move towards a Celtic kind of lifestyle, and it is something I would love to maintain and encourage even when (if!) we have our technological services restored.

On that note, I will leave you with a quote from Ian Bradley’s lovely book “The Celtic Way”:

“Only by recovering the Celtic values of imagination, instinct and identification with nature […can we…] have any real hope of breaking out of the alienation and exile caused by technology…”