A Sacred Task

Charlotte Mason’s principles challenges me. When I read her chapter on Sacredness of Personality, these words jumped out ~https://i0.wp.com/www.classroom-teacher-resources.com/image-files/classroom-discipline-holding-hands.jpg

“Parents look on with a smile and think that all is well; but Bob or Mary is losing that growing time which should make a self-dependent, self-ordered person, and is day by day becoming a parasite who can go only as he is carried, the easy prey of fanatic or demagogue. 

This sort of encroachment upon the love of children offers as a motive, ‘do this for my sake’; wrong is to be avoided lest it grieve the teacher, good is to be done to pleasure him; for this end a boy learns his lessons, behaves properly, shows good will, produces a whole catalogue of schoolboy virtues and yet his character is being undermined.

https://practicalpages.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/handholdingparentchild.jpgA due respect for the personality of children and a dread of making them incompetent to conduct their own lives will make us chary of employing a means so dangerous, no matter how good the immediate end.”

No parent sets out to create incompetent, parasitic and weak children who live their lives in shameful helplessness, inadequacy and co-dependency.

Intentional parenting motivates the child to grow into meaningful independence and responsibility.

As our eldest daughter completes her schooling this year, and our second eldest son plans for his marriage towards the end of the September, they want to be equipped and ready.  It is a joy to see them becoming self-determined and responsible.

Our parenting should provide the essential structures and routines, some basic rules and disciplines, and mixed in it all, grace, love and assistance.

Let me go back to when they were young and innocent. I remember giving my toddler choices.  My options, but she could chose in them, and the outcome was the one I wanted e.g.: ~ “We are going to bath, brush teeth (…insert your activities…) and then read a story.  Which story do you want to hear tonight?  This one or this one?  Great!  Quickly now, let’s …”

This approach works well with young homeschoolers too.  Our read aloud time is our “together” time and we usually do all the disciplined studies before morning tea so that we can enjoy our reading and hands-on activities.  When the child is given some choices in these activities, they do not resist and mope when lessons are short and sweet. (Thank you Charlotte Mason, for this lovely principle.)

Homeschooling a high schooler is slightly different.  They want to work independently.  The best tools for them is the year plan/ overview, a calendar and a weekly schedule or timetable.  We work out how many lessons per week, how many hours that requires, and they can tick the plan off as they go.  Both my highschoolers work to try finish and write off a subject by completing the work and the tests/ exams.  They ask me to tutor them. We book our time together and I enjoy the moments working side-by-side.

All too soon, it will pass and my role with them will change.

My parenting will be worthy if my children grow up to ~

  • love the Lord, His Word and His Ways
  • make good choices; in serving others, in excellence,
  • have an ethic that values hard work and diligence
  • form and maintain sincere and sound relationships with others
  • respect themselves and those in authority,  and be worthy of respect
  • persevere and endure even when it gets tough
  • be themselves, unique, creative, sincere
  • be faithful to the Lord’s gifting and purpose for their lives

So this is a “sacred” task.

How do you find your homeschooling and parenting sacred?


Creating an Inspiring Home Atmosphere

Outside an authentic Cape cottage

Outside an authentic Cape cottage

We were fortunate enough to stay in an authentic restored Cape cottage for over month a few years ago.  There was no electricity except for a small solar panel and gas for the stove and geyser.  The house smelt of the reed and mud ceilings and thatch roofing.  It was cool in the hot Klein Karoo summer because of the thick stone walls and small, deeply recessed windows.  All the furniture was antique; even the odds and ends that decorated the shelves and sills were antique artefacts.  It was a home with atmosphere!

Charlotte Mason says,

“Ideas are held in that thought environment which surrounds the child as an atmosphere, in which he breathes in unconscious ideas of right living emanating from his parents. Every look of gentleness and tone of reverence, every word of kindness and act of help, passes into the thought-environment, the very atmosphere which the child breathes; he does not think of these things, may ever think of them, but all his life long they excite that vague appetency [relationship] towards something out of which most of his actions spring.”

Her words challenge me, but also they inspire me to create a home atmosphere where we honour the Lord.  In Col 3:12-17 we are told to, “put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness and long-suffering; bearing with one another, forgiving one another … but above all these things put on love …”

How blessed it is to homeschool our  children,  be at home with them,  and create a living atmosphere where they can flourish and grow!