Journal and pen

Fleece. Dyeing. Carding. Spinning. A year ago I recognized those words and could define them accurately. But in the past several months my oldest daughter has taken up dyeing and spinning as a hobby. Now when I hear someone mention one of those words, I don’t have just a nodding acquaintance with them, I can relate to them.

Those words have settled into a new position inside me. They are no longer just words; they are a part of me because I have shared in the joys, frustrations, puzzlements, and successes connected with them.

Perhaps you have a hobby, a special diet, an historical person, or a personal responsibility that has taken on new meaning to you lately. It has moved from the “I think I’ve heard of that” to the “Oh, yes, I can relate” position inside you.

Charlotte Mason taught that “Education is the science of relations.” Education is not just recognizing or knowing about an idea. True education is forming an “I can relate” connection.

We can relate to ideas that have touched us personally in our emotions and our minds. Ideas that have triggered sympathy within us or have caused us to ponder. Ideas that have shaped our opinions and our actions. Those ideas have had a lasting impact on us. They are the ideas that we really know.

Charlotte defined knowledge as “information touched with emotion: feeling must be stirred, imagination must picture, reason must consider, nay, conscience must pronounce on the information we offer before it becomes mind-stuff” (The Story of Charlotte Mason, p. 175).

So how do we help our children form those relations? How do we give them a real education? Charlotte believed the answer lay in using two tools: living books and things.

Over the next few weeks we’ll look more closely at those two tools — living books and things — and how we can use them to help our children form relations that are vital to a real education.


  1. OHhhhh!!! Living Books and Things!!! I CANNOT WAIT to hear more!

    PLEASE dont keep us hanging for too long!!!!

    I’ll think on your questions here….

    Thank you! You’re wonderful!

  2. Autism used to be something that other people’s children had. Almost 2 years agowhen our then 8 year old was diagnosed with Aspergers (high functioning autism), it became something to which I can relate to others.
    It has truly been a blessing, though, as I’ve met many others who the Lord has brought into our lives who minister to me, or I am able to help them.

  3. Yes, my 9 year old daughter has taken on the hobby of balloon twisting and all the terminology is lingering in my head as we discuss deeply how she improves daily. She doesn’t realize she is learning and developing discipline (and we don’t mention it either). It is just a joy to see her know that something that appears quick is simple is really the result of effort and dedication and because we homeschool she spends her afternoon perfecting her hobby.

  4. When history takes on relative meaning it becomes vital. They say history repeats itself. Perhaps it does. If we apply the lessons of the past to our current decisions and cirsumstances, we can make far better choices and possibly avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.

    I never appreciated the importance of history while in school. Frankly, I did not understand how history could possible relate to life today. Historical details seemed particularly cumbersome. Years ago when reading history I often felt I was drowning in an ocean of irrelevancy.

    Over time, in the search for truth, I began to see how very helpful historical lessons are. If we consider the lessons of history when making current day decisions , we are able to apply the wisdom of the lesson in determining the direction to take. By considering historical lessons in our decision making process, we can often avoid repeating mistakes made by others in the past. If we do not learn historical lessons, we find that the mistakes of history are, indeed, repeated.

    Choices and decisions are made in many different ways. Some are made haphazardly – often based on an emotional response rather than a well thought out process. Historically, wise choices prove to have been based on God’s principles. To assume the attitude of a detective and look for historical facts and clues that reveal the inspiration or motive behind historical decisions is to track the lessons of truth found in our forefathers’ choices. Some decisions were good. Some were not.

    When I began to apply questions to history, I was amazed to find that the nuggets of truth were available to me if I would just reach for them. I began asking how this happened and why that happened. The longer I looked the more I found that good choices and decisions were based on principles formed from God’s laws. Often the good decisions were preceded by a great deal of prayer. And bad decisions were often made out of very selfish desires and godless ambitions. Bad choices were made when people turned away from God in an attempt to please themselves rather than Him.

    Abraham Lincoln wrote about this kind of situation in 1863 during the Civil War. On March 30, 1863 in his “Proclamation Appointing the National Fast Day” he wrote the following:
    “…………We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which has preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

    It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

    Now, therefore, in compliance with the request and fully concurring in the view of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer. And I do hereby request all the people to abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

    All this done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high and answered with blessings no less than the pardon of our national sins and the restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

    In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.”

    The Civil War in America spanned four years from 1851 to 1865.
    By the President: Abraham Lincoln”

    The Civil War in America was fought over slavery. Slavery is the opposite of freedom. It took years and a civil war for America to unit against slavery. Slavery was without a doubt the despute that fed the war. However, in his “Proclamation Appointing a National Day of Fasting,” Lincoln focused the country’s attention not on slavery but on the sin of pride. He reminded the people that in the midst of all the blessings that God had poured out upon this nation, the people had became enslaved by pride. “Intoxicated by unbroken success,” they had become “too proud to pray to the God that made us.” In Proverbs 16:18 we are reminded that “pride goeth before destruction.” Pride in the people moved them to turn away from God. Had Abraham Lincoln not realized the root cause of the problem, America might have been completely destroyed at that time in history. Lincoln asked the nation to pray for forgiveness and fast in the hope that by returning to God in humility, the nation would be saved from self destruction.

    Pride comes from an attitude of self absorption. Choices and decisions are made with only one’self in mind. Arrogance, hauty displays and self serving choices characterize the prideful individual. Once a person succumbs to pride, bad choices always follow. Falling into the temptation of self absorption is historically problematic. Pride is the root of self absorption.
    When America became “intoxicated by unbroken success” she became prideful. The people turned away from God and became self absorbed. After much prayer Lincoln realized what the root problem was. He asked the nation to stop for a day, fast and to humbly pray for forgiveness for falling into pride. God answered their prayer.

    After looking at this lesson in history, one can’t help but question if pride might be the root of some of America’s problems today. If we learn from Abraham Lincoln’s decision about what to do when pride is a problem, we will turn to God in humble repentence. God gives us direct instructions on what to do in 2nd Corinthians 7:14: “If my people who are called by My name put away their pride and pray, and look for My face, and turn from their sinful ways, then I will hear from Heaven. I will forgive their sin, and heal their land.”

    Looking into history has now become one of my favorite things to do. I like to search for truth in the stories of history. If we look at our current problems through the lens of history and especially His-story, we will find ways to solve our problems.

  5. We were on Sabbatical in the mountains in January, and we were blessed with several snow falls. Now my kids can “relate” to everything snow! It sure makes it all come alive when you’ve experienced it yourself!

  6. Sharon- what a wonderful post about history! Thank you. I feel the same way. Now HIStory is my favorite subject, which I hated in school. What a blessing to be able to teach our children His Truth

Comments are closed.