Imagine the genius and brilliance your children would exhibit if their thoughts were led by the Holy Spirit. Consider the ease they’d have in understanding challenging subjects.
Imagine how much less stressful homeschooling would be each day if you purposefully invited God into your schoolroom.
If you allowed space for the Lord to be their Teacher.
When Charlotte Mason speaks of a Living Education, she’s referring to the Living God who breathes His Life into everything. Everything that concerns us—even and especially the education of our children.
If we’ll invite God in, He’ll breathe life into us. Life into our children. And life into our homeschool.
God’s work in our lives—and in our children’s hearts and minds—is not confined to things we typically consider as spiritual, such as our character, our attitudes, our behavior or our times of Bible reading and prayer.
No. His power and movement in our lives are limitless when welcomed.
It is, in fact, when we invite Him into all aspects of our homeschooling—especially the academic—that true comprehension and even genius is revealed.
Charlotte Mason tells us that all subjects, even…
“grammar, for example, may be taught in such a way as to invite and obtain the co-operation of the Divine Teacher…the teaching of grammar by its guiding ideas and simple principles, the true, direct, and humble teaching of grammar…is accompanied by the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit, of whom is all knowledge.”
This reminds me of the scientist George Washington Carver. He sought the Lord in everything he did in the lab. He knew, because of Genesis 1:29, that all plants were given by God for a use.
God sent Carver to his laboratory with a handful of peanuts. Carver divided the peanut into its basic parts: water, fats, oils, gums, resins, sugars, starches, petoses, pentosans, amino acid.
Then God led him to combine the ingredients in different ways, using different chemical reactions. Soon, Carver discovered something that shaped humanity for eternity. Peanut oil was now a commodity that could be used to make glue, shampoo, shaving cream, oils, and crayons. And of course, the whole peanut could be made into our delicious staple, peanut butter.
Like Carver, if we endeavor to unite with the Supreme Teacher in all we think and do, in every subject taught, He will impart far more understanding, creativity, wisdom, insight and joy—pure joy in whatever we do and teach.
This joy is a mark of our cooperation with God.
This is the key to a Living Education. It all hinges upon seeking the Living Presence of the Holy Spirit in every aspect of our children’s learning—offering up to them a feast of Living Ideas that will germinate and grow, reproducing after itself new and profound ideas inspired by our Living God.
They are spiritual in nature and take on a life of their own, which is why we use Living Books and methods and invite the Holy Spirit to guide us as we teach our children in a life-giving manner.
Charlotte Mason insists,
“there is no subject which has not a fresh and living way of approach.” And “Every subject has its living way.”
She encourages us to seek God daily for His guidance in educating our children, imploring Him to pour out His inspiration, wisdom and influence upon them as they learn.
We must, as Ms. Mason says,
“engage ourselves to accept and invite the daily, hourly, incessant co-operation of the Divine Spirit...in the schoolroom.”
“Let her never contemplate any kind of instruction for her child, except under the sense of the Divine co-operation.”
A word of caution is also given.
“But we must remember that here as everywhere the infinite and almighty Spirit of God works under limitations.”
There are ways of teaching that repel God.
And we must take care to avoid these methods that disinvite and hinder the work of God in our children’s lives.
How do we avoid repelling Divine Cooperation in our homeschool?
- Let our Words be Few
Ms. Mason warns that if our teaching of any subject uses many words, we crowd out the voice of the Spirit.
“Such teaching as enwraps a child’s mind in folds of many words that His thought is unable to penetrate, which gives him rules and definitions, and tables, in lieu of ideas––this is teaching which excludes and renders impossible the Divine co-operation.”
- Offer Living Thoughts
All teaching should include ideas—Living Thoughts originating from the teacher (book). These are gained mostly through Living Books, poetry, music and art. Once the Living Idea takes root in the child’s mind, it will germinate in his soul. After that, mere facts and information taken in will be added onto the peg of the Living Idea.
Charlotte Mason tells us,
“Whatever is stale and flat and dull to us must needs be stale and flat and dull to him.”
She goes on,
“Are we teaching geography? The child discovers with the explorer, journeys with the traveler, receives impressions new and vivid from some other mind which is immediately receiving these impressions; not after they have been made stale and dull by a process of filtering through many intermediate minds, and have found at last their way into a little text-book.”
Books must be whole, written by authors who are passionate about the subject and who offer their original ideas—ideas they received from experience and from the Living Spirit who teaches us all things.
“Give him living thought of this kind, and you make possible the co-operation of the living Teacher. The child’s progress is by leaps and bounds, and you wonder why.”
- Believe Our Children are Spiritual Beings
We must begin thinking, Ms. Mason points out, of our “children as spiritual beings of unmeasured powers––intellectual, moral, spiritual––capable of receiving and constantly enjoying intuitions from the intimate converse of the Divine Spirit.”
We must keep in mind at all times that God has direct access to our children’s thoughts and that He longs to be their Instructor.
With our sometimes careless and harsh words, excessive lessons and tyrannical adherence to our schedule, we repel the voice of the Lord, leaving Him no room to speak to our children’s minds as they learn.
It’s paramount we give deliberate, daily attention to this deep and profound truth—our children are spiritual beings. God has direct access to their thoughts.
Charlotte Mason again says,
“For how shall we safeguard that which we do not recognize, and how recognize that to which we have failed to give deliberate attention?”
If we adhere to the truths that our children are God’s––that He can and will be their Supreme Teacher, we will find homeschooling far easier and more fulfilling.
We will create an atmosphere that depends fully on the Divine Life—the Living God who is our true Instructor and the only One who can ensure a Living Education.
As George Washington Carver said,
“God is going to reveal to us things He never revealed before if we put our hands in His.”
God desires to reveal these things to us, great things not yet known—if we’ll open our hearts to receive them.
‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:2
So let us release the need to be in full control of every detail of our children’s education.
Let’s invite Him to be the Divine Instructor of our children.
Only then can He accomplish His will through us as homeschool moms.
Only then will our children’s education be fully and safely in His hands.
For He instructs him in right judgment, His God teaches him. Isaiah 28:26
For more Charlotte Mason insight read here.