Feeling overwhelmed by all the options for high school, I set aside my list of curriculum publishers and subjects I intended to investigate, and listened to my daughter figure out a new tune on her violin.
She’d really like to join the homeschool orchestra in the Fall, so she picked up a violin for the first time about a month ago, determined to become a proficient member of the strings section over the Summer.
We’re not aware of a good violin teacher in the area so she is relying on YouTube, instructions from the Suzuki books, and her mama’s limited violin experience. She’s learned how to tune her instrument, replace broken strings, and play some psalms and hymns well enough for us to sing along with.
There’s no need for me to tell her to practice; this is self-education: knowledge she is making her own possession. Something has captured her interest and she is striving towards a goal. She will not forget what she learns along the way because it is important to her.
“What a child digs for is his own possession; what is poured into his ear, like the idle song of a pleasant singer, floats out as lightly as it came in, and is rarely assimilated.” ~ Charlotte Mason
If I’m honest, the reason I considered changing homeschool methods for high school for a brief moment has nothing to do with improving her education; it had everything to do with fear – my fear.
Fear of keeping grades, records, and transcripts.
Fear of covering all that needs to be covered should she desire to pursue a degree.
Fear of people’s opinions.
Fear of powers that be.
Fear is a terrible motivator.
Fear does not come from the Lord. (2 Timothy 1:7; Isaiah 41:13; Proverbs 29:25)
I was this close to trading my child’s love of learning for tower of dull textbooks, and long days of heavy schoolwork. This close to tearing out the tablecloth from underneath a feast of ideas. This close to squashing her God-given bent because I got too dogmatic about details that would surely skew the perception she had of her own ability.
My attention was directed towards meeting the criteria of an institution that does not love her or desire her to succeed as much as I do. It distracted me from the truth that what’s true will always be true. The high school years don’t change what we already know about learning from Scripture.
- All good gifts come from the Lord (James 1:7)
- We are responsible for multiplying the gifts and talents God gives to us (Matthew 25: 14-30)
- We must work and study willingly with the purpose of serving the Lord (Colossians 3:23, 24)
- Our minds are in need of renewal (Romans 12:2)
- We must not be conformed by the teachings of this world (Romans 12:2)
- We are liable to fall prey to deceptive philosophies and principles taught traditionally by men (Colossians 2:8)
- A prudent and wise heart seeks knowledge (Proverbs 18:5)
- Effective education can happen in a natural family setting (Deuteronomy 11:19)
- We must diligently apply ourselves to what is put before us (2 Timothy 2:15)
- Knowledge is useless without love (1 Corinthians 13)
- Knowledge is damning without the fear of the Lord (Romans 1:22; Isaiah 5:21; Hebrews 10:26)
- The ability to discern is more advantageous than knowing it all (Proverbs 28:11)
We must stop confusing schooling with education.
An educational method ought to enhance the learning of life’s most important lessons, not detract from them.
By God’s grace and with His help, we will ignore the fact that we are “behind” in some areas and “ahead” in others, and continue to make time for things that work towards our goal: living books, limited textbooks, Morning Basket, ample time in Creation, and “purposeful letting alone.” (Charlotte Mason)
2 thoughts on “Homeschooling High School Charlotte Mason Style”
Hi Jacinda from a fellow SW Ontarian… I’ve followed your blog since Growing Home, and have learned much as a first generation home school mama with 6 children 8 and under. Keep up the content please, it’s very much appreciated!! I love the idea of a living education, but find it a bit difficult to put into practice with so many littles around… I’d love to hear what a “day in the life” looks like for a Charlotte Mason family.
We have homeschooled for 23 years and have used a school named North Atlantic Regional High School for our high school students to receive an accredited diploma. They allow you to use your own curriculum, which leaves a lot of options for your family. It has been really wonderful using different types of curriculum for our children. Some of our courses we were even able to self design.