By Carrie Gress
Imagine going to school everyday in Narnia?
Mary in Ohio has done just that. The mom of two created a homeschooling classroom inspired by the wonder and joy of the hidden world found in C.S. Lewis's classic collection of fiction, The Chronicles of Narnia.
Mary, her husband, and their two daughters moved into a new home just under a year ago. Mary has added her own touches to every room.
I was able to visit this delightful room on a recent trip to Ohio and was completely charmed by its cleverness, thoughtfulness, and originality. I just wanted to grab a cup of cocoa, snuggle up in a cozy chair, and stay for a long time.
The Narnia-themed room was one Mary had had in mind for sometime. "I saw somewhere years ago a playroom that was Narnia themed. I've wanted to do it for so long, I can't remember anymore where I first saw it," she explained. "Initially, my idea was a Narnia playroom for small children. By the time we found property and built our new home, it is now a Narnia schoolroom. When we built our home, I was so happy to find a whole space above the garage for a schoolroom."
"All of Narnia is an allegory." Mary adds, "I love seeing Aslan in things you wouldn't normally think." Mary was able to bring that wonder and allegory alive in the schoolroom.
One corner features a lamppost nestled among faux-trees and wallpaper. The effect is that one feels like they have just squeezed among the fur coats in the wardrobe and stepped into chilly Narnia.
"The lamppost," Mary explained, "is just so iconic. I thought that if I could have something real, I would use it, rather than having it painted on the wall."
When asked what people's response has been to seeing the room, Mary says it is usually delight. She was able to surprise her daughters with the lamppost corner when she put it altogether after they had gone to sleep. "One night I had a second wind and I was eager to see how it would look. So I put up the trees, lamp post, decal. The girls were just so thrilled when they saw it in the morning."
The room features cozy white reading chairs, and another winter tree lit up with sparkly lights. There is a map of Narnia on the wall and a large scale quote from the book, which reads:
Mary was a school teacher before getting married and has always homeschooled her girls. She explained a bit of her own philosophy of education. "Education does not happen in one place in one time. I want my girls to be life long learners. We do school throughout the summer to cultivate the joy of learning. Since God is inexhaustible, we'll be life-long learners. Though we love our schoolroom, learning isn't limited to a classroom."
"We honor God," Mary adds, "when we use our mind, our intellect, our memory, our imagination; these are all gifts from Him. So whether we're studying algebra, memorizing poetry, or learning geography, it all honors Him."
Mary hopes to add a wardrobe that will serve as the door to the schoolroom, but hasn't found quite the right one to fill the large doorway space.