S6 E23 | Where There's a Will There's a Way | Virtual Book Club: A Philosophy of Education, Chapter 8 (Julie Ross with Shay Kemp)

S6 E23 | Where There's a Will There's a Way | Virtual Book Club: A Philosophy of Education, Chapter 8 (Julie Ross with Shay Kemp)

Show Notes:

The power of the will is one that every homeschooling mother needs to address in order to foster a self-education in their children. So how do we consider that in our daily lessons? Julie and Shay Kemp discuss Miss Mason’s perspective on the will.


Shay is a homeschooling mom of five who loves enjoying the learning journey with her children and encouraging others in their paths of faith, parenting and homeschooling. She believes the best conversations happen when you are comfortable on the front porch and loves to share her own journey from there!


Julie H. Ross believes that every child needs a feast of living ideas to grow intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. As a former school teacher, curriculum coordinator, and assistant director of a homeschool academy, Julie has worked with hundreds of students and parents over the past 20 years. She has also been homeschooling her own five children for over a decade. Julie developed the Charlotte Mason curriculum, A Gentle Feast, to provide parents with the tools and resources needed to provide a rich and abundant educational feast full of books, beauty, and Biblical truth. Julie lives in South Carolina. When she’s not busy homeschooling, reading children’s books, hiking, or writing curriculum, you can find her taking a nap.


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Show Transcript:

Julie Ross Welcome to The Charlotte Mason Show, a podcast dedicated to discussing Ms. Mason's philosophy, principles and methods. It is our hope that each episode will leave you inspired and offer practical wisdom on how to provide this rich living education in your modern homeschool. So pull up a chair. We're glad you're here.

Julie Ross Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Charlotte Mason Show. I'm your host, Julie Ross, and I'm here with the amazing Shay Kemp for our book club again.

Shay Kemp Yay! I just love that introduction. That makes me feel good every time. I don't get called amazing in any other place in my life.

Julie Ross Well, that's wrong. We need to fix that. So we are kicking off the start of the school year with chapter eight of volume six. So if you've been following along, that's fantastic. If you haven't, this is a great chapter, I feel like, to start the school year with and kind of gauge maybe some of your plans or what you're doing philosophy wise. And then, we're about almost halfway through the book, so just join in and start following us from here on out. So we'll try to do one a month, and just keep going through volume six as much as we can. So we are talking about the way of the will and the name I put for this episode is Where There's a Will, There's a Way.

Shay Kemp Yes!

Julie Ross We have that saying, right? Because—

Shay Kemp It's true.

Julie Ross Yeah, right. When we're determined and we're motivated to do something, we'll pretty much move a mountain, if we have to, to make something happen here. So it's how do we create that motivation and that power within our children? So let me just read the principle for you. It's principle 16 and 17, she put together in this chapter. She said, "We may offer to children two guides to moral and intellectual self-management which you may call 'the way of the will' and 'the way of reason'." So today we're just focusing on the way of the will. The way of the reason is the next chapter. "The way of the will: children should be taught to distinguish between 'I want' and 'I will'. That the way to will effectively is to turn our thoughts away from that which we desire but do not will. That the best way to turn our thoughts is to think of or do something quite different, entertaining, or interesting. That after a little rest in this way, the will returns to its work with new vigor. This adjunct of the will is familiar to us as diversion, whose office it is to ease us for a time from will effort that we may will again with added power. The use of suggestion as an aid to the will is to be deprecated, as tending to stultify and stereotype character. It would seem that spontaneity is a condition of development, and that human nature needs the discipline of failure as well as success." So there's a lot in there. In fact, I could just talk this whole episode on just the introduction.

Shay Kemp So much to unpack in that.

Julie Ross Yes. Well, let's just define— how would you say Charlotte Mason defines 'will'? I'm gonna wear cute little reading glasses like you. Look, I got some.

Shay Kemp I know. Well, I'm to the stage now where— this is 48 for you. I have to have them.

Julie Ross I love your glasses. They're cute. I got some too, so we're twinsies.

Shay Kemp There we go. I think it's interesting that over and over again she says through this chapter, "The work of the will is to choose." She uses that phrase over and over again several times. I think I counted like four, maybe five times through the chapter she says, "the work of the will is to choose." So the "will" is the part of us that makes the choice, that chooses. And I think it's interesting that, as she defines it, she tells us that it's not just conduct, but it's your character.

Julie Ross And not just choosing right or wrong actions. By choosing your "will" will shape the person that you are.

Shay Kemp So it does have to do with the reason behind the choices that you make, as well as the choices that you make. And that if you are making a voluntary choice, it involves your will. If you are making an involuntary choice, that is without conscious will action, she says. That's what we're discussing. I don't think that it's something— typically, if you are homeschooling, unless you have a philosophy, you don't consider this.

Julie Ross Oh, no.

Shay Kemp You do not consider the will of your children or the will of yourself because, I mean, I really take a lot of notes personally on this particular chapter about my own life and my own endeavors and my own choices. But I don't think typically— why I think this is such a great thing to start the school year with is that before you just open up the books and start reading the books and start the curriculum, start the schedule, you're really considering the will before you ever make those initial steps.

Julie Ross Right? The will—like you're saying—of ourselves and our children, because the best laid out plans in the shiniest new curriculum is only going to take you so long if you don't have good habits. And I really see the way that we make will effective is through the habits that we have. Because she says here, "No doubt that the greater becomes the effort of decision; the weaker grows the general will." So as we're looking through our day and our schedule, how can we make things be almost unconscious, like you're saying? Because if every decision takes our willpower to get through it, we will become very fatigued and burn out super fast. So if every part of our day we're having to reconsider, "Okay, what comes next? What are we going to do now?" And every power of our child is to will them to want to do something, we're going to grow frustrated very quickly.

Shay Kemp Yes. And that's why she addresses it as habit, the habit of obedience. So you're not— and decision fatigue is a real thing. I mean, it's such a real thing. And I think especially this time of year when people are going back to school as we're recording this, and there are a lot of decisions to make if you follow a Charlotte Mason philosophy because the curriculum is your servant, it is not your master. So you're never going to just open something up and say, "I'm going to do everything here." You do need to make those choices no matter what. And so when you back all the way back up to this and really consider the will, then it will allow you to have less decision fatigue as the year progresses. So it's super important to deal with in the beginning and consider and stop and think about some of the points that she makes in this chapter, I think.

Julie Ross Right? Yes. So kind of like a big overarching kind of philosophy approach here. Right? She's saying, you know, we can—through our use of suggestion, through use of strong personality—we can make our children do this or that. Right? But we are not really changing their character by doing that. So she warns against that. She says, "They should deliberately weaken the moral fiber of the children by suggestion as a very grave offense and a thoughtful examination of the subject should act as a sufficient deterrent." So we have to be careful. We might get the conduct, we might get the response that we're wanting, but we're missing the heart of the matter. We're not helping them be self-disciplined. We're not helping them learn to govern themselves. They're just doing what we say. That might even be the easiest thing, right?

Shay Kemp That's what I was going to say, is what you're saying is just to get them to do something is easy, but it requires daily heart work, daily choices, and and really observation on the part of the mom and being involved on the part of the parent to find out where is the obedience coming from or where are the choices coming from? It's kind of like— I don't know if you've ever done a flower bed. So I can throw some mulch down on the ground and sticks and flowers in the ground on top of the grass, and it's going to look really good for a couple of weeks. But if I don't take the time to dig down and clean out all the crabgrass and get down to the dirt, then I'm going to deal with that initial issue that I never addressed, which is what is actually going on underneath the mulch, underneath the flowers. But when we start to take the time there and we dig all that out, then later on we're going to deal with children that we don't have to nag, nag, nag, nag, nag, nag because we're working to help them understand why they make the choices they make. This is a deep chapter. I think when you start dealing with this, it's a lot more than just, "Hey, what you using for math this year?"

Julie Ross Yes. If you looked at my garden right now, you would definitely see the lack of discipline I had and what it has now turned into a dry dead hump of weeds. I had good intentions, right? I didn't have self-discipline in wanting to go out there and water and weed it in 100 degree heat, so I'm now reaping what I have sown, right? So we don't want to do that with our children. And so she says that, "Our part is to afford to each child a full reservoir of right thought of the world to draw from. Right that flows from the stimulus of an idea, in ideas or stories we have seen in books and pictures in the life of men and nations." So the way that we're going to go about training this will is not through rewards, punishments, sticker charts, anything else that is external. We're providing our children with ideas, and those living ideas are going to work inside the soil of their hearts and change their thinking towards this will. That is hard because you don't see that fruit tomorrow. It is a long process here of forming these right ideas. Right ideas over time.

Shay Kemp Yes. And you have to have confidence in what you are choosing to give your children, that they are full of ideas. And one that I wrote in this is— she talks about this a couple of times in some other places as well. But this is why we choose books that are living books. It's not that you're trying to be like, "Oh, it's snobbery." It's not that you're saying, "Oh I'm not using that book. That's twaddle." She uses that word. And I know there are some debates about what's twaddle and what's not. It's not that it's snobbery. It's that you're considering what living ideas and what are the people in this— what are they seeing in these books? If it's not full of ideas, then they don't get a chance to see not only what comes from making a choice of the will that's—like she talks about—an outside purpose, but also people who don't do that. They need those examples in those books and what happens to them. It doesn't need to be moralistic. And she addresses that. She says, "We don't intrude upon the minds and overrule the wills of other." We're not trying to teach you this moralistic lesson. But this point that she makes about this right thought flows from the stimulus of an idea and these books and pictures of lives of men and nations. It's really important when we choose the books that we choose and why we don't use dry textbook material. The methods go all the way back to this consideration on the will of a child.

Julie Ross Yeah. And I think that is such a key, too, because I think we can shy away from sometimes wanting to show our children that people can be good and bad and we tend to make our heroes all good. And by thinking, by showing our children only the good, that will inspire them to want to behave and act like that as such. Right? But she's saying that is not the case and that they need to be able to have the ability to look at both sides of a person. Now, again, you're not exposing them to everything, right? Purposely in the younger form one year, she excluded certain Bible stories, but as they're progressing—right?—and and I really tried to do this with A Gentle Feast of— let's take a hot button topic here. We won't go too in depth, but let's take Columbus, right? So people are like, "Oh, he's all good. He's like the best guy ever in the history of the world and he did all this amazing stuff." And then there's other people who are like, "He's a villain." It's like, okay, can we look neutrally at here's what he did and allow our children to think through that? Oh, well, that might have been a consequence of that and this might have happened and allow them to have those conversations and those thoughts rather than just kind of saying, "Oh, no, here's the only right way to think about this."

Shay Kemp Right. And we do that, like you said, as they grow. We're not going to give them all that information in first grade because they're not prepared for that. But if you don't go all the way back to that first principle that your child is born a person, you're not going to trust that. And you're not going to trust that personhood in themselves that the divine teacher is working within them to help them understand these things. And we don't turn it into a moralistic lesson, "Now, this is what he did that was good. This is what he did that was bad." We're—like you said—we're presenting these ideas, these lives of men and nations, and then they are going to learn this as they narrate and connect with these ideas because it fed their minds. So it really is important to—I think that's such a great point that you make about something that's a hot button topic like that—to make sure you do present both sides so we don't have flat-sided, one-sided characters. These were not characters in a story book. These are people in history, just like you and I, who we want them to gain wisdom from and also caution from in every book that we put forth on them. So it's important this time of year. You know, I made some choices in some books for my own children this year that I was like, "I don't think that that one is particularly ready for that, so I'm going to choose this. But I think this might be a little difficult, but I'm going to choose this for them because I think they need to be sort of pushed in that area." But it's all thinking about these things, these ideas that they're going to take the choice of will from.

Julie Ross Yeah and she gives other examples here. She talks about Jacob up Esau. She talks about a guy from Greek mythology. She said we oftentimes will say, like, if we're at a store, and a toddler is having a temper tantrum, "Oh, that child is so strong-willed." Well, actually, it's the complete opposite. That child is very weak-willed. They are totally full of their lust and passions and what they desire. Their chooser—which is the way of will—is choosing the lust of the flesh and not what is right. Right? So we can all see that.

Shay Kemp That's a good point. Yes.

Julie Ross Not a very strong will. But a strong will can make determined choices which can either be good or bad. So a strong will isn't necessarily a right or wrong thing. So, she's talking about Jacob here. She says, "Jacob has a strong will. And through this and many other examples, a child will recognize that a strong will is not synonymous with being good, nor with a determination to have your own way. He learned to distribute the characters he comes across in his reading on either side of a line: those who are willful and those who are governed by will. This line no means separates, though, between the good and the bad. It does divide, however, between the impulsive, self-pleasing, self-seeking, and the persons who have an aim beyond and outside themselves. And she says you can see this in Milton's Satan. So in Paradise Lost, Satan has a very determined, strong will. Right? But that's not good, and then she talks about Louis the 11th. He was a mean man, but a great king. So you can look through history and even Shakespeare, Plutarch, these other things where you're seeing people and the way that they interact in literature. I mean, it comes up in so many— even in science. We read biographies of scientists. You you see this in so many different cases. Somebody can be a great man—I think of like Alexander the Great—but be a mean person and make really bad choices too. And he says, The will, too, is of slow growth, nourished upon the ideas proposed to it. So all things work together for the good child who is duly educated. And I love that thought. Right? But someone can be evil but still be strong-willed. That is not the dividing line. Your child will see that, right? Someone can be very self-disciplined. They can be very focused and determined but use that aim for evil, not good. And she says, "Children are born persons." We have the second principle. Children have the propensity for good or for evil, right? And so by seeing this throughout the ideas that they're learning about and not being just told constantly what to think and believe. They're able to form their own opinions, and that will shape their will.

Julie Ross Today's episode is brought to you by A Gentle Feast. A Gentle Feast is a complete curriculum for grades 1-12 that is family-centered, inspired by Ms. Mason's programs and philosophy, and rooted in books, beauty, and biblical truth. You can find out how smooth and easy days are closer than you think at AGentleFeast.com.

Shay Kemp And I love that she makes the point that the will should have an object outside of itself. You're not just thinking of yourself. She talks about. She gives a couple of examples here. She says, "He was not himself was the object of his crooked policy." And it's because your will needs to be more about than what I want and I desire, which is what she talks back all the way back in the principle. And she gives a couple of examples here. And we need to understand that our will, she says, "is subject to solicitations all around." More than any other generation I think since people have been alive, you can't even in— everywhere you go, there are solicitations on your will. So it's important that we—while our children are under our influence—we're giving them the opportunity to see other people who fell to the solicitations on their will that led to bad consequences as well as good consequences. Yeah, I love that. And I love the quotes that she has also where she talks about, "Choose you this day whom you will serve." She gives that that quote a couple of times and it says that this is what we're considering as we homeschool our children is, "Who are they going to serve with their will?" You are serving someone with your will. It's not just about your own self, but you are serving someone. Is it your own purposes you're serving? Or are you serving a purpose that's outside yourself?

Julie Ross Mm-hmm. Yeah. And it seems like such a weighty thing, right? Because we want our children to have a strong will, too. And in here, she talks about a sense of duty, which I think is something that is highly lost in today's world.

Shay Kemp And I love her definition of chivalry. She talks about—where she talks about chivalry—that "It's the temper of mind opposed to self-seeking. The chivalrous"—am I saying that correctly? My tongue is tied—"person is a person of constant will, for, as we have seen, will cannot be exercised steadily for ends of personal gain." And that's a sense of duty to someone other than yourself.

Julie Ross Right? Yeah. I'm going to do this because this is what I'm supposed to do. I think that was definitely something that is very lost. And I think part of that has to do with kind of the—I don't know, this is just my personal opinion—but the passivity of education that is so prevalent and that children aren't allowed to think what they think about whatever, and they're not filled with ideas. They're just full of sawdust, and they don't have that kind of— their willpower become so weak because that power to choose is taken from them constantly. We might give them a choice of, "Okay, what jacket do you want to wear today?" And I read that in parenting things and stuff, but can you choose your thoughts? Can you choose to discipline yourself? And, I mean, sadly, I even see that in myself, right? Where I have gotten into bad habits in different areas, and it's so easy to do. It's so easy to do, right?

Shay Kemp And it can be a scary thing to do what you're saying, to let go of that control, which she talks about in the beginning of this chapter. We're not trying to control their will. We're trying to— you know, when you let go and you say, "Okay, I'm not going to control this will. I'm going to give this will options of rich ideas that can help it choose on itself"— It is easier control. Plan out the entire day. Plan out exactly. This is why we get the question, "Where are the workbook questions?" Do you know what I mean? I want to control what they are learning here and what they're taking away from this passage. I want to control that by asking the questions and getting the answers back that I expect. And it can be a scary thing to let go of that control and say, "What are you choosing here to learn?"

Julie Ross Yeah. And that's why I think it's so important to kind of think through these things at the start of your year and just be encouraged that you are doing the right thing here, that you are on this path, that this is what you have chosen, and that this is hard work, and you are training a will. And one of the things I hear that just like— is when people are like, "Oh, my child is so strong-willed. I have to break their will." No, no, no, no, no, no. Our job is not to break our children down. Our job is to strengthen that will to choose what is right, not because of punishment or because of our authoritative personalities and making them— we can make children do stuff. That's breaking that will, but that's not shaping it to make right choices on their own. And that bothers me because it's like, "I don't want to break my child. I want to build my children up."

Shay Kemp Right. And my third child— God love him. He turns 20 next week. But he was what they would call strong-willed. I mean, he did have— I have more than one, but he was the big one, which he knows now. We laugh about it, you know. But what's funny is when he used to strongly react to things—we'll call it that—I would say, "God's going to use that. God's going to use that." Because he is— what I see now as he's grown, he is an extremely loyal, extremely dedicated young man, very much a visionary and very driven, extremely driven. This is my goal. He just finished Aircraft Automotive Maintenance School, and he works on F-16s. And he's 20. He's about to turn 20. He's extremely driven. And I made some mistakes where— because I didn't understand this principle. I did make some mistakes, "Oh, we've got to break that. We've got to get him to obey." But I do think there was that niggling divine teacher, the Holy Spirit, inside me saying, "He needs to understand the same power to push against your choice for him is also able to be used for good to make powerful choices that will bring good consequences in your life." And I truly believe that the books that he read and the fables that we read and the lives of the biographies of people throughout history, I truly believe they did influence him and his— you know, I could see it in his narrations as he grew through. What he was able to pull out through the years as he matured and be influenced by those ideas. But at the time— when you're looking back, I can see that, but when you're in the middle of it, you're like, "Ah!"

Julie Ross Oh, yeah, I've been there. I've been there in the grocery store, where you want to just like, "Is there like a little hole in this aisle I could crawl into please?"

Shay Kemp Listen, girl. More than one time, I'm like, "I'm leaving the cart in Walmart and we are literally walking away. We are walking away. We are not going to stay here and be a circus. I will come back even if it's at night when the kids are asleep and I buy groceries. I'm done here."

Julie Ross Yeah, yeah. And I love that, too, because I totally have seen that in my own children, too. The ones that have the most passionate and intense personalities that you can kind of clash against are the ones that can do so much good. And again, it's just taking that. "You're going to be such an"— and speaking those truths over them. "You're gonna be such an amazing leader someday. You're going to be so good at X, Y, Z, because you have so much passion." You turn that that way.

Shay Kemp It's like considering the power of water. I mean, it can be destructive or it can be beautiful or it can run an electric plant. I mean it's the power behind the will that we're considering.

Julie Ross Yes. And as you look through your day and what routines and habits you're wanting to focus on, do consider that— she says in here, "The effort of decision is heavy labor." That choosing is hard for our kids. So there's going to be times where they don't want to choose. Right? They are wanting to choose what's easy, what doesn't require much effort. "I just want to go lay in the couch. I want to play, so I'm going to throw fit because I'm done here." She talks at the beginning about the power of diversion. So sometimes it's okay to take a break. It's okay to go against that. It's okay to go jump on the trampoline. It's okay to do something that's going to divert them, and then their will will be able to come back. But if you keep pushing, they're going to keep— especially if you have one who has a lot of personality, they're going to be pushing back.

Shay Kemp Yes. Yes. And that's such a good thing to think about, to stave off frustration ahead of time. You know, like, okay, I know this child and I know that normally they're going to push back about whatever the thing is. This is what I see. What what diversion can I— how can I give them these tools? I used to have this little jar when my children were younger. I had a little jar, and I put little popsicle sticks in it. And each popsicle stick had like a few options. And let's say they were frustrated and needed a break or whatever. They could pull one of those out. Okay, snack. This is what I need. Or I need to go play with Legos for 10 minutes. Or I need to go run around the house three times. Or I need to pet the dog for five minutes or whatever. And when you give those options to them, those are tools that will serve them for the rest of their life, because, I mean, can you imagine if some of the adults that we know that—and even in my own life, if I had been given these tools to think, Shay, you're not mad. You're hungry. You need to go pet the dog for five minutes. You're frustrated. Or go eat a snack. Or you're thirsty. You need to drink some water. You're not overwhelmed. You just need a little break. And that's an important tool for lifetime.

Julie Ross Yes, absolutely. And to teach our children— you know, she says in here, "When over-strained will, ask for repose." For them to even— and she talks about this here. A lot of this is unconscious, right? This is just programing that's going on in our minds. And we can't will everything. That's bringing it to conscious, that's exhausting. So you do want some of these things kind of running on autopilot, which is what these good habits will do. But we do want to train them to think, "Okay, am I really frustrated with this cursive copywork or is something else— do I need something else right now?" And "the over-strained well will ask for repose. It may not relax to yielding point, but may and must seek recreation diversion. Latin thought is afforded its beautiful and appropriate names." And I think of the classical concept of leisure. So we think in America, leisure time is like Netflix and chill. Well, the Latin concept of leisure is what is building you up as a person, what is beautiful, what is fulfilling to you. And so thinking through your day. I might need a break of whatever and we're going to go listen to some classical music and have a snack. But also training your children to go, "Okay. I'm getting very frustrated. I'm getting exhausted. I need a break. What can I do? What are some tools?"—Like you're saying—"and skills I can learn in order to train the will.?" And she says, "The way of the will is a secret of power, the secret of self-government." And I love Nicholeen Peck, who speaks at the Great Homeschool Conventions as well. Her book is called Teaching Self-Government. And I really feel like it ties into her philosophy of— discipline and parenting really fits into this chapter on training the will. But I love this with younger kids especially is you can tell them, "Training your will is a secret power. You're like a superhero, right? Superheroes, they can take the will to do what is right. And of course, you know, they have special abilities, but you do, too. Right? Whatever your special abilities are, and taking that, and making these choices. And the more you exercise— again, it's a muscle. The more you exercise that will power, the stronger that power is." And I don't know— can you see what's on my wall over there?

Shay Kemp Your Wonder Woman? Yes.

Julie Ross Can you see it?

Shay Kemp I can see your Wonder Woman.

Julie Ross Okay. So if you're if you're watching this on YouTube, you can see it. But if you're listening to the podcast, you won't see it. But I have a ginormous picture of Wonder Woman in my school room. And then over my son's desk, his name is written in superhero pictures. Why? Right? Because there's days where my willpower— I'm tired. I don't want to do the lesson. I have to show up consistently. I have to be self-disciplined. If I expect my kids to be self-disciplined, I got to be that first, you know? So I look over at Wonder Woman, she has the Wonder Woman stand. And it's funny because I read some study where standing like this for like 2 minutes boosts your testosterone, it boosts your confidence in all these different studies— you know, because— and it seems so silly. It does change the chemicals in our brain, which can then change our feelings. We can be more confident by standing like Wonder Woman. But I'm just saying. Right? There are times where I ask myself, "What would Wonder Woman do? Would Wonder Woman get frustrated and be like, 'Okay, nobody wants to do school today. I'm just going to go back in bed and hide under the covers.'"

Shay Kemp Right.

Julie Ross There are many days I have done that. I'm just being honest, right? They are far and few between now because I've learned the power of training my own will and not just doing what I want, which is to give up. But, "Okay, would Wonder Woman quit? No. Wonder Woman would take this on. Wonder Woman would do action. Wonder Woman would be like, 'Okay, guys. We're all getting frustrated. We're all going to take a break. We'll be back in 5 minutes. We're going to attack this. We're going to do this.'" And just having that visual in my school room has really helped. I know it sounds very silly.

Shay Kemp No, I love that. I love that. And I think that's the thing is that we're— one reason I love that we discuss a philosophy and not just a curriculum is because that affects your life which your kids are watching you. And so you're not teaching them a moralistic lesson. They're watching you grapple with whatever you might be grappling with that day and how you use your will for the power of good. And that is much more powerful than a moralistic lesson, because it's the same thing. We're giving them books about the lives of people, and we're living our lives out in front of them. And we use the little quip, "Do what I say, not what I do." I get that. But what we do with our own will and what they see with our own— I mean, I've had my daughter said this weeked, "Mom, why are you spending so much time working on school? You've been doing this 19 years. It seems like this ought to be easy by now." But she's watching me make the choices to make sure that we have exactly what we need to start school. So I don't have to give her a moralistic lesson from that. She's watching that. And so lots of power in that.

Julie Ross Yeah, that is. That's huge. Right? So do you have any closing thoughts on this chapter here? Anything we didn't talk about?

Shay Kemp A lot of a couple of things that she says about the power of the object of education. Sometimes we ask ourselves, "What are we—"

Julie Ross "Why am I doing this?"

Shay Kemp "Why am I doing this? Why am I doing this?" I mean, I literally— and I posted on our Facebook group yesterday a quote that really jumped out at me as I was reading this chapter. And I mean, it really hit me so hard. And it says—and I'm trying to find what page it is now—but it says, "What we get in our youth, we keep for the rest of our life." And I think it's so important that we remember that the things that we get in our youth, we keep for the rest of our life. And I'm having a hard time finding the page that that's on right now. Sorry about that. But the reason we're doing what we're doing, and the object of what we're doing, and why we are making this effort and getting up every day is to prepare the for these immediate choices and voluntary actions which are going to affect them every single day for the rest of their lives. And what they get in their youth they're going to obtain for the rest of their life. I mean, I can still quote poetry. I did not grow up homeschooled or schooled in Charlotte Mason. Of course, I went to public school, but I can still quote poetry that I learned in the eighth grade because I had an English teacher who actually taught us in so much of the ways that Charlotte Mason language arts is taught. I didn't know it at the time. I got that in eighth grade, and I can still quote that poetry. So I think that's really important. That was a takeaway for me is that this is why I'm doing what I'm doing. This is the point of education. It's more than read this book today. Get your math work done. Make sure that you check all the boxes. It's about helping train that will.

Julie Ross Right? Yeah. And this will tie into chapter nine that we'll do next time. She says that the will is supported and instructed by reason. So you can't have a will all by itself, right? These ideas, the thoughts that we think shape our will, help our well. So what thoughts are we thinking on a regular basis? And that's huge, and I talk about that all the time. And so we'll get to that when we think of the way of of reason here. But yes, we encourage you—as you're starting your school year—to consider some of these things and focus on, again, that this is really the outcome of education. This is so much more important than—like you're saying—what math book we chose. Right? And that this will shape the person for the rest of their lives. So how to make these these good habits sustainable both in ourselves and in our children. And I encourage people to set goals. I set mine at the beginning of every school year, and I do it in January, too. What do I want to see in my home? But it takes that will for ourselves and that power of decision and that constant, "Okay, well, here's the habit I want to work on. Here's how I'm going to do it," and having a plan for it. So it does take that deliberate thinking in order to make those things happen. So thank you for joining us, Shay.

Shay Kemp Always fun. Always lots to chew on.

Julie Ross Yeah. All right. We'll see you all next month. Bye-bye.

Julie Ross Thanks for listening to today's episode. If you would like to know more about the Charlotte Mason style of education, check out AGentleFeast.com and click on the "Learn More" button or a free four-day introduction course. I would love to meet you in 2022. I will be at all five of the Great Homeschool Conventions. To find out more about attending one of those go to GreatHomeschoolConventions.com. If you'd like the show notes for today's episode, you can find those at Homeschooling.mom and click on The Charlotte Mason Show. Until next time, I hope your days are full of books, beauty, and biblical truths. Thanks for listening.

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