One of the most encouraging facts that Charlotte Mason draws out about education is that the Holy Spirit is our teacher. All knowledge is revealed by God to human minds. I believe this, but instinctively I find myself thinking that I need to "dress up" the well-chosen text with some creative sparks of my own. I check this instinct and remind myself that a well-chosen text will carry with it ideas that will nourish my students' minds without any extra table decorations by me. In fact, my "clever" decorations really would only get in the way between the text and the Teacher.
I was reminded of this recently when my six year old was walking with me to the car and spontaneously said "You know mom what you were talking about with Seurat about gaiety, serenity and sadness? I already knew what you were talking about because I have experienced those before." He was referring to the artist study class from at least a week prior where the text quoted Georges Seurat as saying that "art is harmony" and went on to say that harmony was achieved by the use of color, tone and line. Line can show gaiety, serenity or sadness. i defined these terms for the class before reading the text. Somewhere between that lesson and our conversation, my young son reflected on these states of mind and saw in them his own. The Holy Spirit took the lesson from the text and applied it to his life thereby making the text alive to him and allowing him to experience greater awareness of his own life of the mind.
I appreciate that I have learned from Charlotte Mason not to get in the way of the text by fancy decorations or by changing the author's words to ones that some would feel are more "child friendly." Would happy, calm and sad have captured the essence of what every human experiences at deep levels - even six year olds? Would such words have caused a six year old to meditate on the states of mind that Seurat sought to evoke in his paintings? Could I have added anything to this beautiful text or the Holy Spirit's use of it in my son's life? No at every point.