Welcome to the Twin Cities Charlotte Mason Community Blog where Mason Enthusiasts can come together and share ideas to encourage families in the Twin Cities, MN! This is our very first post! I hope to have many Guest posters soon!
I'll just put it out there right now, I'm not a blogger. I am a mom to 4 kids and a homeschool teacher. I'm a wife to a Classical Guitarist - Patent Attorney who runs Spartan Races for fun! He's pretty handsome AND smart! I'm a musician. I cook 10 times a day and bandage boo-boos endlessly through the summer. I get really grumpy with my kids sometimes, well, a lot of times, and for some reason I'm not patient enough to homeschool my kids, but I do it anyway. I don't really like to write and I used to even hate reading (GASP!). But now I teach my kids using Living Books like Mason says you should. And it's hard! But it's also easy.
All of the identities mentioned previously are secondary to the one true identity that shapes who I am: I am a follower of Christ. And so I started this website 6 years ago to help organize a little Charlotte Mason co-op. And now our website reaches a little farther and so I welcome you! But how does being a follower of Christ have anything to do with starting a little Charlotte Mason co-op? Let me try to to explain! ( My post is kind of long, so if you don't have time to read it, but you'd really like to know about Mason's Great Recognition, then you can click here to read about it or scroll to the bottom for a little more! )
Jesus walked with 12 disciples. He didn't walk this closely with everyone. For some reason, he didn't heal every sickness, he didn't fix every brokenness around him while he was on the earth. He chose these twelve men and then sometimes a few others. He was their friend. He loved them. He served them. He traveled with them and rebuked them. He ate with them and then he died for them. This is the ultimate sacrifice: To die an undeserved death for a friend. Or as Paul David Tripp puts it, "Willing Self Sacrifice for the good of another..." Wow! But then after rising from the dead and going to be with his Father in Heaven, he sent his Spirit to indwell all those who would follow him.
And as a little girl that Spirit called to me, I followed, and he made me his. His Follower. Following him means something. And for years I have struggled to know what this should look like. Even this very minute I struggle to know what this should look like. But this is what I am learning: Following him doesn't mean I have to react in a guilty way towards all the suffering and tragic news I read online or hear on TV. (A good book to help think this is Amusing Ourselves to Death.) He didn't heal everyone when he was alive on earth, so I don't have to either. My following can be kind of small.
That's point number 1! I don't have to fix everything wrong with the world. Whew!
But I kind of want to. So I keep searching. Maybe if I look at how he served I can find an answer. I see in the New Testament that He spent most of his time with these 12 that he was training and then as he went along and people came to him or he encountered people with faith and eyes to see and hearts to believe, he healed them and made them well and saved their souls too. He didn't even go to Rome or Egypt. He just stayed in his little region and loved people really, really well!
Point number 2: I don't have to go all the way across the world to help people who have needs! I can stay home, or maybe even have people into my home!
But I kind of want to travel and help, so I keep searching. When Jesus prayed in the Garden before his Crucifixion, and when he prayed for his people in John 17 there's a lot about him being one with the Father and us being one with him and one with each other. Unity! There's a lot of Humility (not thinking of one's self) going on and a lot of submission (willingly putting one's self aside and letting another lead) going on. Unity, Humility, Submission.
Point number 3: I think that I'm not supposed to fix everyone because I WANT to (PRIDE), or travel to the other side of the world because I LIKE to (SELFISHNESS). I think I am supposed to pray a lot and be still a lot and consider with humility how I can abide in Jesus as he abides in the Father. And then, maybe then, the Holy Spirit will teach me what I am to do and use me in little (or maybe big) and unexpected ways.
So I have been working on this and praying for a humble heart and a submissive heart and a heart of unity towards God and others. And I through all this, am discovering that Charlotte Mason had a lot to say about these things because she followed Jesus too! And so interestingly enough, the more I read about Charlotte Mason, the more I am learning about following Jesus. It's really great!
After 3 years of learning about Miss Mason, in 2011, I tried to start a little, humble, local CM group to encourage moms like myself in following Jesus and using Mason's principles for school. Also I wanted us to help one another lead our kids to Jesus in the most effective way possible, so that we, together, could serve our community. I always wanted to be a mom, but I am a dreamer, so I also really wanted to be a missionary and maybe be a midwife overseas, but I was here with little ones for now and I knew I still needed to follow Jesus. And that's maybe going to feel little and small, but there can be a unity and peace in knowing I am following the Lord here and now and not wishing away my life.
So now we've been going for 5 years and things have grown and changed and I keep trying to follow the quiet voice of the Spirit and now we're trying to reach out to the Twin Cities with Mason's Biblical Worldviews, especially on educating children!
This is where the Great Recognition comes jumping in. I have been mulling over these things for many years and asking for humility and asking God to help me to be a wise mother and a kind friend. To take away pride. I have always known and believed that a person's salvation was the work of the Holy Spirit and that he would do the work and use me to share about spiritual matters with people. But I think I have been quite prideful about all other areas of life. I CAN teach my kids all there is to know about life. I CAN convince my husband about this or that new idea or decision. I know a ton about Mason, so I CAN teach all my co-op friends what they need to teach their own kids and to teach at our co-op. Etc. etc. etc. Sounds pretty prideful, huh? Not submissive, no unity, no humility. God can do the spiritual work and I'll do the rest.
About 4 months ago, the lovely Nancy Kelly mentioned the Great Recognition that Mason refers to, in passing in an e-mail and I had to ask what it was. Then I read a little about it. I found out more about it from Art Middlekauff while in England at the CMI conference. Then again more reading, and more lessons at the Living Education Retreat this month. And Wow! It seems to be that Mason believed AND that scripture teaches AND that the historical church acknowledged/confirmed that not only was the Holy Spirit man's spiritual teacher, but also his teacher for ALL of life.
Whack! That's a humility whack. Then I did an online summer course with Nancy and learned even more about what Mason thought of humility and Whack! And then I found out that I have often led my little co-op with pride and wounded friends' hearts and Whack. And then we see that the Holy Spirit is the teacher in both spiritual and also educational things. In all areas of life he will guide us into truth.
I am chewing on it and trying here to narrate it back to you all. I am learning as I write and share about it myself.
This is the new LIVING idea I send with you! Go and research! What did Mason teach about Humility? What did she teach about the Great Recognition?
Here are some tools to get you going on your way! Please leave comments and let me know what you learn!
THE GREAT RECOGNITION by Charlotte Mason (Parent's Review Article)
Most of the orange links in the article will connect you with other people's writings on the Great Recognition!
Here are some pictures of the Fresco that Mason talks about in here article above!
HUMILITY This is a poem Nancy Kelly shared with us in a summer class a few weeks ago! She had a do it as a Copywork assignment. I would encourage you to do the same. It will help you slow down and linger on the meaning quite a bit more!
by Charlotte Mason
How deep a mystery, my Lord, Thou shew’st!
Though I do beat my breast and humble me
And of most servile tasks do make my boast,
Yet have I not attained humility!
Then, more I shame me, think upon my sins,
Cry, “Lord, I am not fit to touch Thy feet!”--
My self-abasing no advancement wins,
The more I loathe me, more am I unmeet!
“Perceiv’st thou not, my child, what thing I ask--
the lowly, simple grace that children own;
Thy Pride imposeth every heavy task;--
Humility is one as Christ is One:
Fret not thyself, but set thine heart on Me,--
And thou goest garbed in My Humility.”
-from Essays on the Life and Work of Charlotte Mason (2014)