Excerpt from The Kingdom of Heaven (Vol. 3 – The Saviour of the World by Charlotte Mason)


Excerpted from The Kingdom of Heaven (The Saviour of the World – Vol. 3)
by Charlotte M. Mason
Part of an epic six volume set of poetry on the life of Christ.


BookCoverImageThe Passover was Nigh

The Passover was nigh; high Spring had come;
As when an army passing through a land
Leaves track of desolation, charred and sere,—
E’en so another host had passed that way
Leaving the land apulse with life and light!
Life had made her royal progress, hung her boughs
With rosy blossoms; made the waste to bloom—
Garden of flowers rich-painted, odorous;
Crept, greening through the grasses; flushed bare trees;
Set birds apairing, full of joy and song,
And brought all tender young things to the birth!
That marvel of the Spring had come to pass
And left the earth renewed; the dry and sere
Now burgeoned into life; the hoary earth
Was born again to gladness! Who can mark
The parable of the spring and take no heed,
Nor wonder at the upwards course the sap
Takes in the barren tree-trunk, finds its way
To furthest lateral branch and topmost twig,
And clothes bare limbs with miracle of leaves!
The little life laid up in gem-like egg,
Or that in bone-dry chrysalis, breaks forth;
And would men hold them from that fuss of days—
Affairs, so futile, fond, engross their thought—
Why, they might see Life early walk abroad
With movement, glow and beauty in her train;
Hear rhapsody and hymning in the air,
For what was dead hath come alive again!
But we are staled to wonders, slow of heart,
And greet surprises of the spring with eyes
Long used to things familiar—of small count!
The LORD of life, was’t nought to Him to see
Through all things living, their green pulse renewed—
(Or red, or pale)—quickening the whole to life?
Took He no joy in multi-coloured veil
Spread sudden o’er the plains of Galilee,
Her mountain-slopes, her soft ethereal skies?
Sure, all the shows of earth were good to Him
As some great Minster to the architect;—
In such wise all things praise the hand that made!

A deeper joy was Christ’s: the world of sense,
Astirring with new life, with beauty pranked,
Imaged for Him, how exquisite a life
Concealed in chrysalis dry as desert dust!
What sudden glory His foreseeing eye
Perceived break forth from this poor pilgrim, fraught
(And that), with dust of wayside, lying thick!
And His thoughts went out to the six great roads
Traversed all Galilee, north, south, east, west,
For flush of life discernible in crowds
Thronging the ways? perchance, to them, the Twelve,
As arteries, carried Life through all the plains,
The dry hard cities, thirsting villages!

by Charlotte Mason
from The Kingdom of Heaven
(Volume 3 in The Saviour of the World series)

Debi’s “NOT-Back-to-Homeschool” Book and Curriculum Sale!

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I don’t know why it should feel so surprising that my kids are all grown up now.  It’s what children do, right?  But I’m discovering that it is a rather odd feeling to not be homeschooling anymore.

Anyway, I’ve decided to sell/auction many of my homeschooling books and curriculum on eBay to make room in my house for whatever the next phase of life might bring when I finish Grad school next year.

The first batch of books has been added to my Ebay account.  Feel free to browse around.  Lots more will be added as I have time.  This is just this week’s selection.

Q&A: Habits


Q&AI’m going to begin a series of Q&A’s on this blog relating to applying Charlotte Mason methods in a relaxed — somewhat eclectic — home school setting.

If you have a question you’d like to see addressed at some point, feel free to leave a comment here or on my CM Facebook page.

Between Grad school, work-related responsibilities, and life, I can’t promise how soon I’ll get to any questions (weekly? monthly? quarterly? randomly?), but I do promise that any questions will be put into the hat for possibly answering later on.


QUESTION:

Cynthia Ann says–

  • “Habits. I’m super excited to have habit training as the foundation of my Home atmosphere although as a newcomer to CM and HS I’m a bit overwhelmed by the idea. If you did/do habit training is there a book or outline you followed that you’d recommend? I plan on using Laying Down the Rails by Sonya Shafer but I wanted to get other opinions and options I may be missing. Thanks.”

DEBI’S ANSWER:

I personally haven’t seen or used Laying Down the Rails, but have heard good things from people who have used it.

When I did habit training with my kiddos (they’re all grown now), I would choose a habit for each child every month to work on based on what their current needs were. For example, if someone was slacking on brushing their teeth after each meal, we would work on that habit. If someone was having trouble remembering to close the refrigerator door, we’d work on that. The same with schoolwork related habits. I approached it in a very individualized way for each child rather than using a specific list of habits to instill, etc.

Habits book cover imageHave you checked out the Habits book yet which is a compilation of Charlotte Mason’s teachings/writings on habit formation? There is a list in the back of the book of specific habits Charlotte Mason felt could be established in children. Everything from personal hygiene to habits of mind.

One strong suggestion I have about habit formation is to only work on one habit at a time and work on the same habit for 4 to 6 weeks (the length of time it takes to establish a new habit) and make certain it’s fully established as an actual habitual action before working on another habit. If you work on one habit per month, at the end of the year you’ll have established 12 new habits.

Those programs that have you working from a checklist with a whole bunch of habits or behaviors to work on at the same time only train kids to be in the habit of checking the checklist and not to fully establish each individual habit.

You can also work on “family habits” if everyone has the same thing they need to work on. For example, if making the bed isn’t happening for anyone, you could have everyone work together on establishing the habit of making their bed as soon as they get up in the morning. Sometimes working on establishing family habits (whether it’s housework or reading aloud in the evening or taking a daily walk or whatever) can be a good place to start. That way the kids won’t feel like they’re being “picked on” for their personal issues. Everyone’s in it together.

Hope this helps!

And always remember to be gentle — gentle with your kids, with your educational methods, and with yourself.  :)

~Debi

Deborah Taylor-Hough
Author of A Twaddle-Free Education

Image

My advice to new homeschoolers is …

be gentle

Excerpt from ‘Habits: The Mother’s Secret to Success’


The following excerpt is from the book, Habits: The Mother’s Secret to Success, by Charlotte Mason.  A compilation of Mason’s writings on the topic of habit formation in children.


We Think as We are Accustomed to Think

HabitsHow does this bear on the practical work of bringing up children? In this way. We think, as we are accustomed to think; ideas come and go and carry on a ceaseless traffic in the rut— let us call it—you have made for them in the very nerve substance of the brain. You do not deliberately intend to think these thoughts; you may, indeed, object strongly to the line they are taking (two ‘trains’ of thought going on at one and the same time!), and objecting, you may be able to barricade the way, to put up ‘No Road’ in big letters, and to compel the busy populace of the brain-world to take another route.

But who is able for these things? Not the child, immature of will, feeble in moral power, unused to the weapons of the spiritual warfare. He depends upon his parents; it rests with them to initiate the thoughts he shall think, the desires he shall cherish, the feelings he shall allow. Only to initiate; no more is permitted to them; but from this initiation will result the habits of thought and feeling which govern the man—his character, that is to say. But is not this assuming too much, seeing that, to sum up roughly all we understand by heredity, a child is born with his future in his hands? The child is born, doubtless, with the tendencies which should shape his future; but every tendency has its branch roads, its good or evil outcome; and to put the child on the right track for the fulfilment of the possibilities inherent in him, is the vocation of the parent.

Direction of Lines of Habit

This relation of habit to human life—as the rails on which it runs to a locomotive—is perhaps the most suggestive and helpful to the educator; for just as it is on the whole easier for the locomotive to pursue its way on the rails than to take a disastrous run off them, so it is easier for the child to follow lines of habit carefully laid down than to run off these lines at his peril. It follows that this business of laying down lines towards the unexplored country of the child’s future is a very serious and responsible one for the parent. It rests with him to consider well the tracks over which the child should travel with profit and pleasure; and, along these tracks, to lay down lines so invitingly smooth and easy that the little traveler is going upon them at full speed without stopping to consider whether or no he chooses to go that way.

Habit and Free Will

But,—supposing that the doing of a certain action a score or two of times in unbroken sequence forms a habit which it is as easy to follow as not; that, persist still further in the habit without lapses, and it becomes second nature, quite difficult to shake off; continue it further, through a course of years, and the habit has the strength of ten natures, you cannot break through it without doing real violence to yourself,—grant all this, and also that it is possible to form in the child the habit of doing and saying, even of thinking and feeling, all that it is desirable he should do or say, think or feel,—and do you not take away the child’s free-will, make a mere automaton of him by this excessive culture?

Habit Rules 99 in 100 of Our Thoughts and Acts

In the first place, whether you choose or no to take any trouble about the formation of his habits, it is habit, all the same, which will govern ninety-nine one-hundredths of the child’s life: he is the mere automaton you describe. As for the child’s becoming the creature of habit, that is not left with the parent to determine. We are all mere creatures of habit. We think our accustomed thoughts, make our usual small talk, go through the trivial round, the common task, without any self-determining effort of will at all. If it were not so—if we had to think, to deliberate, about each operation of the bath or the table—life would not be worth having; the perpetually repeated effort of decision would wear us out. But, let us be thankful, life is not thus laborious. For a hundred times we act or think, it is not necessary to choose, to will, say, more than once. And the little emergencies, which compel an act of will, will fall in the children’s lives just about as frequently as in our own. These we cannot save them from, nor is it desirable that we should. What we can do for them is to secure that they have habits which shall lead them in ways of order, propriety, and virtue, instead of leaving their wheel of life to make ugly ruts in miry places.

Habit Powerful Even Where the Will Decides

And then, even in emergencies, in every sudden difficulty and temptation that requires an act of will, why, conduct is still apt to run on the lines of the familiar habit. The boy who has been accustomed to find both profit and pleasure in his books does not fall easily into idle ways because he is attracted by an idle schoolfellow. The girl who has been carefully trained to speak the exact truth simply does not think of a lie as a ready means of getting out of a scrape, coward as she may be. But this doctrine of habit, is it, after all, any more than an empirical treatment of the child’s symptoms? Why should the doing of an act or the thinking of a thought, say, a score of times in unbroken succession, have any tendency to make the doing of that act or the thinking of that thought a part of the child’s nature? We may accept the doctrine as an act of faith resting on experience; but if we could discover the raison d’être of this enormous force of habit it would be possible to go to work on the laying down of habits with real purpose and method.


Habits

Excerpted from the book, Habits: The Mother’s Secret to Success, by Charlotte Mason (Volume One in the Charlotte Mason Topic Series).  For ordering information and further details, simply click on the book title or cover.

Excerpt from His Dominion (Vol. 2 – The Saviour of the World)


The following is excerpted from The Saviour of the World – Volume Two – His Dominion, by Charlotte Mason.


“Our Father”

Hallow in my vain heart Thy holy Name,
Hallow in my dear home Thy tender Name,
Hallow in all Thy church Thy blessed Name,
Hallow throughout the world Thy mighty Name,
Our Father!

Within my rebel heart rule Thou, my King,
Over my wilful-dear, rule Thou, their King,
More constant, may Thy Church serve Thee, her King
And grant that all the nations know their King,
Our Father!

Ah Lord, my will is stubborn, do Thy will!
May they whom I hold dear adore Thy will,
In all Thy holy Church work Thou Thy will,
And bid the peoples haste to do Thy will,
Our Father!

Give all of us this day our daily bread,
The starving multitudes their daily bread,
Heart-hungry and mind-hungry, give us bread,
To us who hunger for Thee, give our bread,
Our Father!

My Father, I have sinned! Do thou forgive,
Thy church, Thy people, sin, do Thou forgive,
They sin who know Thee not, good Lord, forgive,
And teach us, sinful, that we too, forgive,
Our Father!

Temptation is at hand, deliver us!
We of this household pray, deliver us!
For all Thy church entreat, deliver us,
And for all men beseech, deliver us,
Our Father!

Our Father, hear Thy children’s prayer,
Keep us this day within Thy care!
Amen.

Thus, boldly, bade the Lord His people pray,
For God, our Father, will not say us nay;
Pray for ourselves, our dear ones, all mankind,—
We all are children to the Father’s mind:
For, our profoundest need, God’s grace to share—
His Name, His Will, His Kingdom, our first care;

Then, free, we ask for our immediate needs,
Meat, pardon, guidance; Who His children feeds
Will give, forgive, and guard us from our foes:
One sole condition doth the Lord impose;
“Forgiven, would’st thou be?” Remit his score,
Nor let thy brother’s trespass vex thee more!


Excerpted from The Saviour of the World – Volume Two – His Dominion by Charlotte Mason

Book #2 in “The Saviour of the World” series is out now!

saviour of the world vol 2The Saviour of the World, a six-volume set of epic poetry by Charlotte Mason on the life of Christ, now has the first two volumes in print.

I can hardly wait for the entire set!  :)

Excerpt from “The Sense of Wonder” by Rachel Carson

I recently found a copy of this book at the thrift store. I just now sat out on my back porch in the sunshine and read it while drinking my morning coffee.

And I have to say I LOVE it!

Highly recommended to inspire you to spend time outdoors with your little ones. Very CM-friendly text and ideas.  (I just wish there were an inexpensive paperback text-only version available — although the photographs are lovely.)

Excerpt:

I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel.  If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow.  The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil.  Once the emotions have been aroused — a sense of the beautiful, the excitement of the new and the unknown, a feeling of sympathy, pity, admiration or love — then we wish for knowledge about the object of our emotional response.  Once found, it has lasting meaning.  It is more important to pave the way for the child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts he is not ready to assimilate.

– Rachel Carson
The Sense of Wonder

Excerpt from The Holy Infancy (The Saviour of the World – Vol. 1)


Excerpted from The Holy Infancy (The Saviour of the World – Vol. 1)
by Charlotte M. Mason


saviour of the world vol 1Jesus in the Wilderness

Jesus, being full of the Holy Ghost, returned
From Jordan, and straightway the Spirit driveth
Him forth to the wilderness. For forty days
There was he tempted of Satan, and nothing ate:
And He was with the wild beasts all the nights.

Most men have solemn hours of inward searching,
Dedicate purpose, ere they set themselves
To take up that lifework appointed them;—
How best its tasks fulfil, how ’scape its perils,
How worthily and for God’s glory work,
For service of men, too, and their own weal?
All men have chart to study, course mapped out
By other men who journeyed that same way:
Traditions, documents, books, wait on all
Who law or physic or a craftsman’s trade
Would follow; these, and the counsels of friends:
No man goeth forth on an unbeaten track.

But this Man, driven into the wilderness—
Not one had been the way that He must tread;
No common calling of mankind was His;
No waymarks of past travelers showed His path
Through perilous wilderness His calling led Him—
An-hungered, He, for grace and heavenly goodness,
Of wild beasts beset, of Satan hindered:—
Those forty days were as the years to come.
Alone, the winepress trod He: “was there, then,
Nor chart nor compass for His way prepared?
The Scriptures of His people! There was traced,
On hundred luminous sheets, his heavy road.
No man had been His way, nor any should;
No man had done His work, nor any could:
But earthly father sets, plain-writ, the tasks
His son must learn: even so had God the Father,
Throughout the ages, thought upon His Son;
And given to chosen men to write in Book,
A little here, and there a little more,
All guiding precepts that the Christ alone
Should know to follow: vicissitudes had marked
On that untraveled land, unvoyaged sea,
Whereon must go the Saviour of the World.
What He should speak, how minister, how suffer,—
These things the counsels of God had occupied
Ere prophet spake or Moses gave the Law.

Not all unmapped His way, obscure His end,
To the Redeemer in the Wilderness:
Familiar with the guide-book of His course
Through years of labour, studious, purposeful,
It remained to order knowledge, shape His plans:—
How thus, and thus, knowing the people well,
He should begin the work of their salvation;
Teach them to think new thoughts, new ways pursue,
Toward new ends, undreamed of hitherto:
“Behold, I make all new!” His awful word,
And ever, as He thought, the Tempter came;
The Accuser had an ill word for the people;
That Mocker plied Him with, Yea, hath God said?
Evermore, What’s the Good? that Hopeless cried—
All his insidious temptings so conveyed
That purest heart might not perceive their guile,
Wisest and meekest, scarce their pride discern.

Was’t thus, or otherwise temptation came
To Christ, our Lord, our Life, our one sole Hope?
Scarce dare we ask, or let our reverent thought,
Obtrusive, scan the record, were we not told,—
“In all points He was tempted like as we,
But without sin.” Behoves us then to asks,
For soul’s instructions, how His temptings came,
Lest like assailing buffet our weak frame.

by Charlotte Mason
from The Holy Infancy
The Saviour of the World – Volume One

Charlotte Mason’s Poetry


saviour of the world vol 1I’m so excited!

Although there are several online text versions available of Charlotte Mason’s six-volume set of epic poetry on the life of Christ (The Saviour of the World), I’ve always wished for actual books I could hold in my hands.  And preferably books that didn’t have to be ordered at high expense from a secondhand shop in the UK.  I’m extremely frugal (i.e.:  “broke”).  I’m sort of old fashioned, too, and honestly still prefer curling up with a cup of something warm and an actual book — with actual pages to turn! — than curling up with my Kindle.  Although I do love my Kindle.

I’m excited to announce that my longtime wish for a book version of The Saviour of the World has come true!  The first volume, The Holy Infancy, is now available in an inexpensive paperback format.  (The other five volumes will be released over the next couple of months.)

This really is a dream-come-true for me.  Can you hear me squealing with joy from there? :D