Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Guest Post: Beholding and the Keeping Hour by Mariah Kochis

I've posted about our "Keeping Hour" a little bit in the January Our Weekly Amble posts. I took the idea entirely from my friend Mariah Kochis who I met on Instagram. As a part of Charlotte Mason IRL, I have had the privilege of seeing how many people do their keeping and when Mariah presented her day in the life I was intrigued by her Keeping Hour. I continued to think about it as keeping is one of the places we weren't gaining much traction. I decided to implement the idea in our homeschool and have gotten many questions ... on Instagram and on Facebook and on Voxer.

Because you were all as interested as I, I asked Mariah to write a guest post and ... it's just lovely. I learned so much and was so encouraged to continue to work to establish Keeping Hour into the rhythm of our day. I'm very excited to share her post with you today! Below my family's Keeping Hour list of choices is Mariah's post. Enjoy!



Hello, friends! My name is Mariah, and I'm grateful and humbled to be here today to share with you something I've become quite passionate about in our homeschool: Our Keeping Hour. I pray you find encouragement and inspiration here to try a Keeping time in your home that works for your family. Let's jump right in, shall we?

Miss Mason says, "We all have need to be trained to see, and to have our eyes opened before we can take in the joy that is meant for us in this beautiful life."

Our keeping hour started in rather unique circumstances. We had just transferred to the adoption side of the fost-adopt process when I picked up The Living Page. I could exhale and think again, emerging from a two-year, intense boot camp where my were eyes opened. Some of us require more challenging training than others, perhaps. Ahem. The Living Page was such a gift to me, helping me to understand the layers of beauty within this philosophy. It wasn't so much the how and when of keeping that appealed to me as it was the heart of the matter. Laurie Bestvater says as she wraps up the first chapter of The Living Page, "Miss Mason is banking on it. She is determined all her children will have what Aunt Betty unwillingly gave me; a blank page with the confidence that deep will call unto deep, even in the little child whom Jesus took upon His knee, saying, if effect: There is Glory out there; make it 'visible and plain'."

This. This was what appealed to me. Beholding His Glory. In 2 Corinthians 3:18 we read that beholding His Glory is what transforms us. We are changed when we behold His Glory, we are transformed more into His image, therefore leading us to make a life changing impact upon this world. Miss Mason was onto something, as always! Oh how I adore her! She understood that beholding His glory, paired with the Divine Spirit that has constant access to our spirits, mixed with the blank page - well, it's quite simply kingdom work. It is this, if I can get you to look past the "law" of keeping, the Living Heart of it that struck a cord within me and led me down a road that has become such a passion. We're not just buying copious amounts of notebooks to try to find space for them on crowded bookshelves; we are nourishing our faith.



I'd like to share with you a few definitions a friend shared with me from the Noah Webster 1828 dictionary. These are thrilling to me; the Science of Relations connected all the ideas rolling around in my head when I read them.

{To record} :: to call to mind, to remember from the heart or mind; to remind, also to awake from sleep; to imprint deeply on the mind or memory; as, to record the sayings of another in the heart.

{To preserve} :: to keep or save from injury or destruction; to defend from evil; to uphold, to sustain; to keep or defend from corruption; as, to preserve youth from vice.

{To remember} :: to have in the mind an idea which had been in the mind before, and which recurs to the mind without effort; to think of and consider; to meditate; to bear in mind with praise or admiration; to celebrate.

We celebrate as we behold His Glory; becoming more awake, defending ourselves from evil, and preserving our youth. Yes, and Amen, and thank you Jesus!! Keeping is bigger and deeper than notebooks, watercolors, and fancy pens. I beckon you to see this.

A keeping hour was then born in our home. Some keeping was already being done, individually, but I saw this as a wonderful opportunity to be together. We began gathering our various notebooks after lunch during the week. When we first began keeping hour, our little guy was still napping. We've persevered through the transition of nap times no longer gracing our days, and I'm happy to report we have all survived. It is possible to keep with littles, just perhaps messier and louder than we'd like it to be. The discipline of Keeing Hour didn't take too long to establish in our home, but I am sensitive to the fact that it could be, for many families, for many reasons. Persevere, it is worth it! The atmosphere of this time is my favorite; it's delicious. With candles lit, music playing in the background, and our keeping set before us, we get to work. It's lively; we joke, we encourage one another, we use this as a time to also discuss our day and any highlights or struggles we may be having. I do my keeping at the table as well, and I think this has made such a big difference in the atmosphere of this time. When Mom gets excited over a connection she's made in her Book of Centuries or a poem she's copying into her commonplace, that passion can't help but bubble over into them as they seek and behold Glory themselves. As Bestvater said, "Learning to 'live with' children rather than to do education to them." Get in there with them, Mommas, behold the Glory and make it visible and plain-together! We begin our day with the discipline and atmosphere of Morning Time, and we wrap up our day with the discipline and atmosphere of Keeping Hour; a bookend match made in Heaven.


{Side note: I have a child in Yr 7, one in Yr 2, a 4 year old, and myself all doing keeping hour together, but we are not necessarily doing the same keeping. My Yr 7 may be recording an illustration out of Sloane's Weather Book in her Science Journal, while my Yr 2 labels some places on his Tree in the Trail map. I may be commonplacing, while my 4 year old colors or works in his homemade ABC notebook. The keeping we do that day reflects the learning from that day. There is a bountiful variety of possibilities to make this a beautiful time in your home, your way.}

What are the results I've seen of such an atmosphere and discipline over the last year? Life.

I've seen my children care more about their learning. They read, not only to know, but with the intent to behold glory and make it visible and plain. They seek out those relationships we are so hoping they will as we read and understand Miss Mason's educational philosophy ourselves. I've seen my children grow closer together through our time spent keeping. My oldest will stop her Book of Centuries illustration to show her little brother how to lay down the right length of strokes with pencil to make the perfect coat of hair for the star-nosed mole. He will in turn, tell her how great her illustration is, and how he can't wait to be able to draw like his big sister. Not something that happens around here often enough! Keeping Hour has scattered seeds I had no idea were being planted. Everything from the educational, to relational, to the spiritual. My kids have made friends with these notebooks; protests ring out when we are all not feeling well, "But we will do Keeping Hour, right?" They see the value of this time as well!

This time has allowed us to, "take in the joy that is meant for us in this beautiful life." I am so thankful for this time with my children; beholding His Glory, making it visible and plain, together.

Do you have special time for keeping? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!




Mariah is a mother to three children, ages 13, 8, and 4. She has homeschooled for seven years, stumbling along as a curriculum junkie until she found peace and purpose in Charlotte Mason’s philosophy. She lives with her Gilbert Blythe in the high desert of Colorado and enjoys seeking out the beauty hidden there. A few of her favorite things include reading, nature, chocolate, coffee, magnifying the Lord, Fleetwood Mac, and sharing her artistic gift with others at The Painted Tamarisk.


Dawn back again: I hope you loved this as much as I did. She even hit on the topic near and dear to my heart this year with Beholding that we might be conformed to the image of Christ. That was entirely unintentional on my part, but a now I see how it is an important part of the equation when it comes to Keeping. Something I'd like to meditate more upon.

Mariah's Etsy shop, The Painted Tamarisk, hosts the beautiful artwork she has done, but more to the point, she is releasing some forms that she has designed and drawn to help moms help their students plan for Keeping Hour. Her drawing and painting is so engaging, I don't think you can go wrong with taking a look.

Also, Mariah has been doing this for a while - what questions do you have about keeping or establishing a keeping time? We'd love to help you out!

11 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post! I'm definitely going to read again and have been encouraged to stay with my plan for a weekly keeping time. Maybe next year we can make it twice or three times weekly!

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  2. This was wonderful. Love, love, love. There's a lot here for me to mull over as I seek to implement this practice.

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  3. Thanks for sharing! I was wondering if you have any tips for children who seem enthusiastic for keeping but when put off to the afternoon don’t seem as interested? I think the atmosphere and discipline you describe would be a big help, but thought you might have other thoughts. Thanks!

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    1. One of the things at her Etsy shop is a form for noting keeping for later. If you read the notes she tells how to get it free. I gave it to my kids and it has helped. I'm thinking I'll laminate a nice copy and give wet erase markers.

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  4. This is wonderful! We practice keeping in our home, myself included. However, we keep individually, on our own time. I'm intrigued by keeping together. Thanks for sharing :)

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  5. I'm so fascinated by this idea! I have started a bullet journal with a commonplace section recently and my kids are excited that I also write down funny things they say. I love this idea of us all keeping something together!!!I've been studying Charlotte Mason for almost 3 years now and I still don't know what a Book of Centuries is?! Where can I best read about this idea of keeping a Book of Centuries? Thanks!

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    1. Here is an article from the The Parent's Review. Here is a link to Laurie Bestvater's FAQ page. She wrote The Living Page and has some explanation and links to further explanation. I like the Riverbend Press Book of Centuries It's heirloom quality and absolutely lovely.

      The best resource for Keeping is Bestvater's book, The Living Page.

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  6. I'm sorry if I missed something in my reading of this, but I'm still not exactly sure what "keeping" is? I feel like it was alluded to in the post, but not ever exactly spelled out, with mentions of book of centuries and other things, but to me, it sounds like kids are just working on their homework at the table together with Mom doing her own homework. Is this all it really is? As someone who is just coming around to CM methods, I'm not entirely familiar with this concept of "keeping". Is there another post or article somewhere that could explain this in a little more specific way? This article makes it sound wonderful, but in too vague of a way for me, who needs things spelled out a little more... ;-)

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    1. Hi Megan, Keeping or Notebooking in a CM context is the assimilation of ideas by the student in a beautiful way. It isn't "homework" per se, but an opportunity for our children and ourselves to pour out what has been poured in. Keeping helps us behold and see, as Mariah says, but it does so by helping us make connections and relationships with and between ideas. The Keeping Hour takes it one step further (Lord willing) and helps us make those connections together in familial fellowship. To learn more about what and how to keep, Jen Mackintosh's blog post is a wonderful primer - if The Living Page is out of reach.

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  7. This is wonderful! Love the bookending of the school day with time together as a family. Will definitely be trying this out, though with only a year 2 and a 5 year old (and soon a baby added to the mix) it probably will just be "Keeping Time." :)

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  8. So is there a suggestion to do this daily or once weekly? What would be the best way in starting out with a keeping hour at home with my children?

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