I started reading Island of the World by Michael O' Brien during the Christmas break. There are so many sections I've underlined and I'd like to quote but I chose this one because we're getting ready to start into our regular routine again after a few weeks off and like the quote says, "It is easier to read no books and remain uneducated."
It is a warm evening, midsummer. Fra Antonio has a little talk with the boys who serve at the altar, not the youngest, just those who are ages eleven to fifteen. Josip is only ten, though he will soon be eleven. Perhaps he is included because he is advanced in his studies and is unusually tall for his age - taller than some of the boys whose voices have cracked...
It is a talk about purity...
Fra Anto tells them that the changes in their bodies are good. These are new powers, the powers of life itself. But they must be used in a holy way. The strength of these powers is such that a young man can easily be ruled by them, if he does not grow strong in his character.
"You study to train your mind," he says. "You work hard to build up your muscles when you work with your fathers in the field. You don't always like it. It is easier to read no books and remain uneducated. It's easier not to strain your mind and body with labor, easier to lie on the ground all day and let the birds drop boiled eggs into your mouths." (Italics mine)
I think the quote above ties in well with Charlotte Mason's thoughts from A Philosophy of Education on purity and its association with the mind and is something I'm pondering as I plan what we are doing this year:
Now a fact not generally recognised is that offences of the kind which most distress parents and teachers are bred in the mind and in an empty mind at that. That is why parents, who endeavour to save their sons from the corruption of the Public School by having them taught at home, are apt to miss their mark. The abundant leisure afforded by home teaching offers that empty chamber swept and garnished which invites sins that can be committed in thought and in solitude. Our schools err, too, in not giving anything like enough work of the kind that from its absorbing interest compels reflection and tends to secure a mind continually and wholesomely occupied.