Have you ever felt that ominous sense of panic when you think about all that goes into a Charlotte Mason homeschool program? A Charlotte Mason panic. Would Mason approve of our program? Am I doing this right? What if I mess up my kids?
Please tell me I’m not the only one who has these thoughts?!? I’d love to report that we’re as cool as cucumbers down here in hot and humid Georgia, calmly preparing for the first “real” year of CM homeschool. But the reality is more complicated.
I am definitely feeling the pressure, which is helping motivate me to keep up the prep work. In the meantime, even though I’m sure there isn’t such a thing as having everything perfectly prepared, there are 3 reasons that flow from Mason’s philosophy that explain why I’m not in full blown freak out mode.
Mason Had Confidence in Moms
Mason had confidence that mothers were competent to educate their children (vol. 3, pg. 23). When I think about Mason’s first foundational principle that children are persons, I feel less pressure to perform and prove myself.
After all, the children I have are the people God has put in my life to nurture and guide, but I don’t have to force on them my vision of who they should be and what they should do in life. For someone who often has grand ideas of the way things could be, this is a great relief.
The Desire for Knowledge is Innate
Children are curious and have an appetite to learn and explore the world. My role isn’t to try to fill to my child’s head with all kinds of textbook knowledge. Mason pointed out that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. Children react to education in a similar way. You can lead a child to knowledge, but you can’t force him to learn.
I also don’t have to entertain my son. Instead, my role is to inspire and put the best books and inspirational ideas in front of him and allow him to respond to them. This is part of the reason why narration is so insightful. When children narrate, you can hear or see what was interesting to them.
In addition, in keeping with Mason’s motto that education is a life, I regularly remind myself that this isn’t about learning everything according to a specific timeline. We put the feast before our children, and as they go through life, aspects of what they have learned will occur to them in new ways.
The Holy Spirit Is Our Teacher
The third reason I’m not panicking is that even if I don’t do everything perfectly, there is no reason for me to think that I’m ultimately responsible for my child’s education. One of Mason’s important epiphanies was that the Holy Spirit is the source of all true knowledge.
I plan to talk more about her experience of discovering this truth in the future. But for now, the Spirit’s work in my life and in the lives of my children gives me hope that He will be our great teacher.
What about you? What helps keep you from feeling overwhelmed by the thought of a Charlotte Mason education? I would love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.