Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 088 Godly Instruction
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #088 – Godly Instruction
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to grow in Jesus together. I am blessed to be back with you to discuss more ways to live with eternal perspective.
Proverbs 4:7 says, “Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do. Whatever else you get, get insight.”
Proverbs 4:1-2 says, “Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding; For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law.”
Proverbs 4:10-13 says, “Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many. I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble. Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; Keep her, for she is your life.”
The very first instruction a child receives comes from parents. God has ordained and established this right and privilege to us. Entrusting us to care for His precious, hand-crafted children is a gift none of us are worthy of. Remembering that it is an honor to influence and raise a human God has purposed to be in this world for exact purposes should be at the top of our mind as we make choices, educate, instruct, and correct our children. Raising them to know, love, honor, and obey Jesus is a process that demands we know Him first and love Him well. To be the greatest influence and tie to God that our child will experience is incredibly humbling and we should never take that responsibility for granted.
Psalm 78:1-8 reminds us, ”My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which He commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds but would keep His commands. They would not be like their ancestors—a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to Him.”
Educating my two youngest children from home has been one of my most treasured blessings. Without question, humbly asking God to work through me as I homeschool my daughters has been an obedient step of faith and trust that has made the scriptures I’ve read in this podcast come alive in new ways. Choosing to hear His call to home educate my girls and sticking to the commitment has opened my eyes and heart to new depths of relationship with God and heightened my desire to hear, trust, and obey my Father.
Being with my daughters to educate them at home has enabled God to work through each one of us to widen and deepen our personal walks with Him and one another. Scripture has been made alive in our lives in ways that only come from intentionally seeking and following God. We not only speak, read, and learn of Him together, but we make Him alive throughout each day, weaving the Creator of the Universe into every subject we teach. Can a parent foster the same spiritual strength without home educating their child? Of course-with much concentrated effort and intentionality. Yet, for my family, the sacrifice and honor to be at home to homeschool is one I never take for granted as I strive to praise God for the glorious ways He has and is still allowing us the privilege to do. I enjoy taking each step of obedience to honor my Lord with the children He has graciously entrusted to me.
Beginning the education of your child is easier and is a more natural progression than most people believe it to be. Many adults believe or are fearful of myths. The top one being that homeschooling prevents children from being socialized. Truthfully, I have found that lie to be one of the easiest to debunk. My children receive a much superior socialization than they would if they were sitting in a classroom with teachers and peers all day every day. Especially when I think of socialization in the widely accepted definition, which is: a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position. Which leads me to the next definition: social position, which is described as: ascribed status typically based on sex, age, race, family relationships, or birth. No matter which status we discuss, I seek to choose a godly social position for the child God has placed under my authority and in my loving care. That is not found in a public school setting, especially in these times.
There is so much I could share about homeschooling children. Often, people contact me for support or with questions about beginning a home education for their children. I remember when I was in the same position. Scared, full of questions, and humbly seeking God for guidance and direction, I questioned others who taught their children at home and attended conferences and seminars to absorb and digest as much information as possible. The time came when I just needed to jump in and trust God to protect and carry us. I knew what God was impressing upon my heart. Be at home to raise and train my daughters in righteousness and truth. Days have been easy. Days have been hard. Every one of them has been well worth the time, financial, spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical investment. Without a doubt, my girls have flourished, and our relationships with God and each other have been eternally changed.
After trying a few different educational methods, I have landed on what I believe to be the best choice for our family. The Charlotte Mason style of teaching encompasses all that is good and pure about home education and godly formation of character and soul. I rest in knowing that the Lord faithfully led me to what has been an enormous blessing in our home, as well as one of the foundations of our relationship with God and each other.
Over the new several episodes, I will be airing interviews that focus on home educating children. Whether you are a homeschool parent, a grandparent of a home educated child, or a friend or relative of someone home educating, someone curious about how homeschool works, or perhaps you are a parent thrust into the homeschool arena due to Covid, I believe you will find interesting and life-changing information over the next several weeks. Perhaps you may even have some basic questions answered.
Since I stated that I lean more toward the Charlotte Mason method of teaching my girls, I’d like to list a few of the hallmarks of the Charlotte Mason education, which I believe transcend teaching from home and cross into every area of life, imparting general knowledge, developing the ability to reason and critically think, nurturing and maturing spiritual health and depth, strengthening family bonds, and intellectually, emotionally, financially, and spiritually preparing children for a mature adult life.
Habits – Charlotte Mason believed that if parents work to instill the development of good habits within a child, a solid foundation is being built for early education. I’d also like to add that a firm foundation is also erected for the biblical sturdiness which undergirds all areas of life. Charlotte Mason wrote that, “The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days.”
There are no habits more important or crucial to the life and eternal future of our child than to instill godly habits that draw our child to the Father who created them, loves them, and has a good and perfectly tailored future for them.
Style of Lessons – Charlotte Mason style lessons are typically short (at least in the younger years). By limiting the time spent per subject, the parent is training the child to focus fully on the work set before them. It is an easier goal to attain because the parent pays attention to the age of the child and considers what they are developmentally capable of. This is especially important as each child is unique and as Charlotte Mason taught, the educator must respect the child as a unique person. This also applies to children with special needs and best enables parent and child to work according to their abilities and builds the trust needed to stretch capabilities further. Mother and child come to know one another well. Charlotte also recommends switching subject styles. Exercise the mind and change to another topic to keep the mind energized and awake for learning. For example, do not study reading, then spelling. Instead, study math, then handicrafts or handwriting, then music study. Use different areas of the brain to keep the mind stimulated. One exception I add is that we always begin our day with Bible Study. It allows our heart and mind to focus on God first, just as we should do in life. Establishing this habit has allowed tremendous blessings on our relationships with God and each other and set the framework for smoother and easier days.
Living Books – When I speak of using “living books,” I do not mean reading textbooks used in the traditional education most of us experienced. Instead, “living books” can be fictional or non-fictional literature of quality, written by an author with a passion for the particular topic. The passion, interest, and expertise that the “living book” author injects into the topic and book births “life” instead of giving your child a dry textbook that simply recites facts and details about a subject. This way, your student is drawn into the experience, giving them a reason to care, read, and learn. When your child engages with the topics through the “living book” experience, they are introduced to people and characters who inspire, teach, and present positive models to mirror. Make no mistake, there is a severe lack of quality literature for our children to read. Take a walk through bookstores and look at the young adult and children sections. Be very particular and oversee what your child reads, both in school and private time to protect their character, thoughts, heart, and mind for eternity.
Narration – Narration is one of the central methods used in the Charlotte Mason education. Through narration, a child proves his ability to absorb and use what he has learned, as well as learning to think and express those thoughts clearly. Eventually, when the world hits your child with ideas and examples that are not from God’s values, she will recognize them. Of course, we teach our children to love everyone as God does, but we also train them to examine everything in light of the gospel. Our child learns to respect others, yet use critical reasoning that allows him to follow Christ and not culture. Through the process of narration, the home educator may assess what the child is catching and enable them to continue deeper learning day by day.
Dictation – Spelling and grammar concepts are reinforced through repeated dictation exercises. Charlotte Mason enjoyed and recommended using quotations that inspire or scripture verses for dictation exercises. First, the child studies the passage until he is certain he can spell the words and use proper punctuation. Next, the teacher reads the dictation passage slowly as the child writes it. I personally enjoy using scripture for dictation, but also use well-written literature and fun sentences.
Art and Music –Charlotte Mason believed that children should be exposed to greatness in several forms. Both music and art appreciation were intentionally introduced in her schools. One composer or artist would be studied during each term, allowing children to experience them through both music and art. They would also listen to the music, read living books about the artist or composer, and attempt to reproduce the style of the artist or composer through art and music lessons. Classical music and early hymns may also be used beautifully during periods of rest, handicrafts, or art. I have also had fun at school when playing popular, meaningful American patriotic songs and marches that are seldom heard in society now.
Nature Study - Charlotte Mason strongly believed that children should spend as much time as possible outdoors, especially when they are young. She encouraged the use of personal journals used for nature study, drawings, and notes, which greatly helped the children to learn and identify the world of nature around them. We personally do not experience enough time outdoors. While one of my daughters and I take walks together, it is difficult for the other to do so, and I have to intentionally try to get her out of doors in other ways. Since she enjoys observing insects and birds very much, I sometimes set goals of sketching or observation times for her to experience nature and I have her orally narrate what she sees, feels, smells, etc. as she views creation. Charlotte Mason asked students to keep detailed nature journals and we have also used nature journals over the years. I also keep one and sketch when the girls render their drawings. I’ve even enjoyed looking back over my own sketches over time. Nature studies have changed each of us in multiple ways.
When Charlotte Mason first developed her educational ideas, she ignited quite a revolution in education because she believed that a child, no matter what class of society they were born into, held a God-given right to be recognized and respected as a unique person. It was her desire that education would give each child the opportunity to acquire qualities and develop into the person God created them to be and that would reach opportunities unknown to them before.
One of my favorite Charlotte Mason quotes, which is very telling of her intuition and insight is, “The question is not how much does the child know when he has finished his education, but how much does he care?” I would like to add, “How has my child deepened and widened her relationship with God? How has she formed a desire to learn for the simple sake of using the mind, gifts, and talents given to her when God thought of her and formed her? How often does she persist in learning, knowing she should expect to fail and not grow discouraged, but rely on the strength of her Heavenly Father to sustain and guide her?”
As Christian parents educating our children in such a manner that respects our child as a unique person planned, created, and set apart by God for a specific journey and life, we must intentionally plan the course set before us. What is the goal we have for the life of our child? What is the goal our Heavenly Father has set for our unique child so loved by Him? We must submit to God, ask Him for guidance for each child, and allow Him to lead and inspire us to cultivate and mature strong character and spiritual formation in our children.
I hope you will join me over the next several episodes to learn more about the gift of homeschooling and the eternal blessings it brings. Even if you are not homeschooling your child, the basic thoughts and principles that should be the foundation of home education are wise lessons for each of us to absorb and ponder the ways we can incorporate these treasured bits of wisdom into daily life at home with our children.
Father God, I praise You for Your mighty and sovereign ways. Thank you for the wisdom, understanding, insight, and knowledge You impart to us when we ask for it. Thank you that we can trust that we will never be enough and that You fashioned us to humbly bow to You for our needs. Thank you for the gift of caring for our precious children. In reality, we recognize that they are truly Yours and are entrusted to us for such a short time, but also for just this time. You know the times we live in and the experiences and concerns we face, but You planned this time in advance for us. Please go before us. Show us the way to You and how to navigate this world and the education of our children. Let us choose what is pleasing to You. Carry us through each day in Your strength, for it makes an eternal difference in the lives of Your children. In the precious name of Jesus we humbly pray. Amen.
Thank you for listening to this podcast. Please visit terrihitt.com to access podcast episodes housed in one convenient location, read blog posts, transcripts, and access additional resources designed to mature your walk with Jesus through an eternal perspective and encourage you to raise or influence children to choose Christ over culture.
I pray this podcast draws you nearer to God and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on new ways to Live With Eternal Perspective.