CM 3 Audioblog #14 The Holy Spirit is The Best Teacher
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CM EP 14
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Hello. I'm Tara, from Minivan Ministries, and today I would like to read to you a blog post titled, The Holy Spirit is the Best Teacher Ever.
It's time to get back to school. Hopefully, you've enjoyed your summer, but it's back to the grind. Whether you enjoy getting back to school or not, there is usually a tiny piece of us that is sad to see summer go. We must remind ourselves that God's mercies are new every morning and every school year too.
One reason we can trust this is that God has given our children the best teacher ever. If your kids are in public school, you might evaluate the potential for the year by who your child gets as a teacher. Even if you are a homeschooler, you may still have strong opinions about who teaches your child in co-op, Sunday school, or other activities they are involved with.
We want our kids to go back to school with the best teachers ever. After all, teachers can set the tone for the whole class experience. Unless you are following a different teaching philosophy. Let's look at what Charlotte Mason says about going back to school with the best teacher ever.
Is the best teacher ever the parent? In tradition, and even most homeschool settings, we picture the teacher standing in front of a class teaching and leading. And in a perfect world, the students are sitting still and taking in every word. Instead of being the supreme teacher, the homeschool parent is actually to be a guide, spreading a feast of big and beautiful ideas. In order to be the best teacher ever, the parent must let go of the idea that they direct every single thing and give the child some freedoms to choose and follow their hearts. This is done best when you can trust that you have first taught your children well.
Charlotte Mason says, let children alone. The education of habit is successful in so far as it enables the mother to let her children alone, not teasing them with perpetual commands and directions, or running fire of do and don't, but letting them go their own way and grow, having first secured that they will go the right way and grow to fruitful purpose.
Is the best teacher ever the student? Charlotte Mason says that students should set the tone for the classroom. She believed that students had to teach themselves, or they would not be interested in the learning, and therefore, not truly retain the information. If teachers lead too much, they are just imparting their own thoughts and not truly giving children the chance to grapple with big ideas and make them their own. Self-education is the only possible education, according to Charlotte Mason. She says the rest is mere veneer, laid on the surface of a child's nature.
Does this make the student the best teacher ever? Actually, the answer is still no. Who is the best teacher ever? You can look all around a school, a homeschool, or a public, and still not see the best teacher ever. Why? Because He cannot be seen. The best teacher ever is actually inside the heart of the student. It's the Holy Spirit.
Charlotte Mason says we allow no separation to grow up between the intellectual and the spiritual life of children. But teach them that the Divine Spirit has constant access to their spirits, and is their continual Helper in all the interests, duties, and joys of life. If you are a Christian, you most likely believe that the Holy Spirit lives inside of you.
But what does it mean to tap into Him, and let Him teach your children? Do you simply pray over curriculum and ask for help when the kids are getting on your nerves? You are not in charge. There's a Yiddish proverb, ‘Man plans, and God laughs’. It is a great idea to plan out your school year, or at least your school days. You need to pray first and then hold on to those plans loosely.
Be prepared to address needs as they arise and minister to those who weren't on your lesson plan. God will take care of the rest. Matthew 6:33 says seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. God can handle the teaching. Colossians 1:15-18 says, he is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, for by Him, all things were created in Heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things were created through Him and for Him, and He is before all things. And in Him, all things hold together.
If God is holding everything together, then He has our school as well. He created everything on earth, so He knows everything about it. He can lead your child to focus on the things that are important for them.
Does this mean you should only teach from Christian curriculum? It is a good idea to pray over your curriculum. There are lots of good choices and some may not be Christian. It's how you discuss it and approach it that matters most. Listening to the Holy Spirit can lead us to the best choices.
Let's look at how to teach various subjects and leave room for the Holy Spirit.
God is the big picture, and all the parts of the curriculum feast fit within. We wouldn't be studying it if God hadn't created it. So, it makes perfect sense that He has a wonderful way of teaching the amazing things He created.
Let's do living lessons. Charlotte Mason encouraged us to enjoy many living books. Living books are controversial, full of emotion, and they draw you in with life-giving ideas. They are not only living books, however but also living lessons. Living lessons are done in life-giving ways. When you teach in a living way, what you teach comes alive, contrast of philosophies that rely heavily on memorization and drill.
Leave room for big ideas and heartfelt conversations. Give them time for big ideas to sink in and for God to work on their hearts. Charlotte Mason says grammar, for example, may be taught in such a way as to invite and obtain the cooperation of the Divine Teacher, or in such a way as to exclude His Illuminating Presence from the schoolroom. Don't drown the subject in too many words. Doing so drowns out the Holy Spirit.
She also says that we are told that the Spirit is life, therefore, that which is dead, dry as dust, mere bare-bones, can have no affinity with Him, can do no other than smother and deaden His vitalizing influences. A first condition of this vitalizing teaching is that all the thought we offer to our children shall be living thought, no mere dry summaries of facts will do.
Let's look at some specific subjects taught the Charlotte Mason way. The life-giving way.
First, geography. Use living books to discover with the explorer and journey with the traveler. Look at maps of the places that you read about in all your subjects. Do not merely memorize places, but experience what it might be like to live there. Travel impossible and let your mind roam when it is not. Find out what God is doing there currently and has done there historically. Pray for the people of the places you are learning about.
History. Live in the lives of those strong personalities that impress themselves upon their age and country by enjoying living sources of history. Historical fiction and really good biographies. Take field trips to historical sites.
Music. Observe the harmony and personality of music, such as with the music in our homeschool website. Don't force children into the drudgery of piano practice, Charlotte Mason said. Help them enjoy and appreciate music. Allowing children to practice an instrument for five to ten minutes a day is not such a big task. If they are enjoying it, they will practice even longer without even thinking about it.
Now, let's look at English and literature. Charlotte Mason said, children must have the best books. Living books. The best is not too good for them. Anything less than the best is not good enough. You need to save money? Then, let go of everything that belongs to the soft and luxurious living before letting go of the duty of supplying books. And the frequent changes of books, which are necessary for constant stimulation of the child's intellectual life. According to many places, including educationworld.com, the presence of books in the home has a greater influence on a child's level of education than does the parent's income, nationality, or the parent's level of education.
Science. Field trips open the mind and they bring fun to learning. The Creation Museum is a wonderful field trip that mixes faith and science. You can also check out the Museum of the Bible, for both science and history. If your children love experiments, let them explore. Learn apologetics. Living science books are much more interesting than books just filled with facts.
Textbooks. Math. Math and science are beautiful, and they make sense because God is a God of order. He created everything to be good. To understand them is to further appreciate God and become more like Him. Study Christian mathematics, such as Sir Isaac Newton, Blaise Pasca, who believed in the order of mathematics and it reflected an orderly God. Check out these mathematicians.
Make room for the Holy Spirit in our lives and our homeschool. It's our duty. Teaching with rich discussion builds relationships. Relationships are what last. Not many worksheets create relationships. Philippians 4:8 says, finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
For a time here on earth, we are our children's parent. In Heaven, we will all be equals. Our kids are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Work together towards the same goal and God will make it happen. Proverbs 22:6 promises, train a child up in the way he should go. Even when he is old, he will not depart from it.
We shouldn't compartmentalize God into certain subject areas. So many things in the world are pulling our kids away from God. The curriculum we allow in our homes shouldn't. We can't shut Him out when it comes to science and math, or any other subject. It is disrespectful to God to think that He isn't big enough to handle anything. The Holy Spirit can handle it all, including science and math.
Charlotte Mason says, let this be the mother's key to the whole of the education of each boy and girl because he is infinite. The whole world is not too great a school for this ??? teacher, and because He's infinite, He is able to give the whole of His infinite attention for the whole time, to each one of His multitudinous pupils. We do not sufficiently rejoice in the wealth that the infinite nature of our God brings to each of us.
So, take action. Action steps, such as pray every morning. Pray one, Lord, show me what is most important today. Two, help me get out of the way. Three, please help my child learn what he or she needs today. And four, pray for each child to have a deep hunger for God and His Word, and that they will be filled with His Spirit.
Incorporate some still time into your morning for both you and your kids. Help them learn to listen to the Holy Spirit. Reevaluate frequently and see if you are still teaching in a living way. If you aren't teaching in a living way, we are teaching in a deadening way. If we are exhausted, we are probably doing too much of the work and not letting the Spirit do His work. Our job is to spread the feast and get out of the way. We give gentle instruction, big ideas, and room for discussion.
Having the Holy Spirit as the best teacher ever is God's plan for you. Take a minute and picture your most perfect homeschool. Hold that in your mind and then remember that that is not going to happen exactly the way you pictured it. It's going to be even better because that's what God wants to do. He can give us gifts that we cannot even imagine.
Thank you for joining me today, and I pray and hope that you have a God-filled homeschool this year and that you allow the Holy Spirit to be the best teacher ever.
Thank you for joining us today on the Charlotte Mason Show. I'm your host, Julie Ross, and I would love to meet you in person. All of the Great Homeschool Conventions have been rescheduled to 2021. Go to GreatHomeschoolConventions.com to find a convention near you.
But you don't have to wait until 2021 to experience the amazing speakers and vendors at the Great Homeschool Conventions. They now offer an online convention that you can find on GreatHomeschoolConventions.com.
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Thanks for joining me today. Until next time, may your home be filled with books, beauty, and Biblical Truth
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