Charlotte Mason Monday – Thoughts on Atmosphere {and a ‘3-Words’ photo journal of our weekend…}

Here’s what Charlotte Mason said about atmosphere:

“… there are many important aspects of the home-life from the child’s first training to his highest education, but there is nothing in the way of direct teaching that will ever have so wide and lasting effect as the atmosphere of home…”

Charlotte Mason valued the Atmosphere of the Home so importantly that, in her philosophy, it comprised 1/3 of the child’s educational experience.   There are so many aspects of atmosphere as discussed in Charlotte’s philosophy, so, over the next few weeks I’ll try to unpack these truths as I understand them. 

Atmosphere is so much more than just the feel of our home or its perceived ‘homey-ness’.  This is about who our children are growing to be in light of who we are.

I’m starting today with the importance of the Lord’s presence and authentic love in our everyday home lives.

In her free ebook “Education Is…“, Sonya Shaffer reminds us it’s easy to get wrapped up in the ins and outs of homeschooling while forgetting a very important factor.  

Our children are watching us every day.    

Our children are watching for who we are, not just what we teach.  

After all, ‘More things are caught than taught’, Sonya writes.

And isn’t this the very essence of parenthood?  The little ones are watching and what we show them matters.  Our consistency in our faith walk could very well be what will either lead them to or away from their Heavenly Father.  And as a Mom, I have a responsibility to my Creator, to disciple our children towards Him.  To make ready the soil of their hearts for Truth and Grace and that glorious journey closer to Adonai, Father God.

But I’m only human and flawed in every way – how can I even begin to work towards this overwhelming task?  Only through Him and in Him.  It’s a beautiful and earth-moving truth – He calls us to do the impossible, but He makes all this possible IN Him and THROUGH Him.

My ability to love my family is directly related to my willingness to love my Heavenly Father.

The closer I am to Him, the closer I get to creating that life-bringing, God-honouring atmosphere to our home.  Because the more there is of Him, the less there is of me and the less there is of fleshly me, the more there is of life-giving, peace-filled, awe-inspired, love-motivated moments.

Pom-pom puppy cuteness

Audrey’s favourite fluff

Waiting for Chickadees

Coop cleaning day

Little sick hen

Unexpected beauty found

Precious snowy daughter

Breath-taking pond

God’s winter glory

First time Hamanstachen!

Delicious pastry goodness

Purim Challah baking

Sharing with friends

Big Dinner invitations

Purim banqueting table

let Light shine

Reading Esther’s story

Mama’s sketch book

Sunday morning glory

Home church communion

Back window gazing

Best hen friend.

Thrift store treasures

Home church theatre

Bread and Cup

Homeschool book piles 

I’ll let you in on a little secret I’ve learned the hard way – as Mamas, we set the tone in our homes.   So if things are wildly amiss, we desperately need to look within.
The greatest factor to the atmosphere and environment of our home isn’t our circumstances.  It isn’t whether the dishes are clean and there are flowers on the table.  It isn’t whether the books are back on the shelf or the toys are tidy. It isn’t even whether we’re organized and the meals are made and the cookies are baking.

The greatest factor in the atmosphere of my home is me and my ability to reflect a heart of love.

You know, the patient, kind, not envious, not boasting, not proud, not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeping no record of wrongs,  not delighting in evil, but rejoicing in the truth kind of love.  Yes, the love that always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres.  That kind of love.  Because, if we can love like that – our home will undoubtedly be a place of peace and joy that encourages wonderful growth in our children, spiritually, emotionally and academically.

For me, this requires daily surrender to the One who breathes peace and brings life to my soul.  How can I make a home if I’m not at home in Him?  And when my soul is at rest, I can be filled to pour out into every crevice of our little country haven.
It is a direct cause/effect situation-
I cling to Christ, I walk with Him, I give my days and my home to Him – He changes my perspective and I become more grateful, more alive in the moment, more fulfilled in the mundane things which are never really mundane.  And in this, I am filled with joy and purpose and a clear perspective of all things eternal.  And then, as I fall in love with my Saviour, His love fills and overflows from me – spilling over every room and over every one who lives in this home with me.
It sounds lofty, I know.
But it is possible.  I know this, because He promises it.  His Word says that if we walk with Him we will walk in Light and in love.   I’m nowhere near ‘there’, friends, but I have seen RADICAL changes in my life and in our home as I surrendered my calling to the Lord and embraced His purpose for me.

When we think about this huge topic of Atmosphere of the Home, we need to start at the very heart of home – Love.  We need to invite the Holy Spirit to dwell with us and cause us to be filled with grace and gratitude.  We need to pray (constantly) for the kind of love that truly makes a Christ-like home atmosphere.
Because, we can paint walls and bake cakes and hang bunting all we want – but if there is no love, it will all just sound like a clattering gong.  However, put on the garment of love and love first – and all else will flow freely from there.  That atmosphere will grow in grace and truth and, Lord willing, it will eventually flow through the very souls of all who live here.

Quotes from Charlotte Mason concerning the Atmosphere of the Home:

“To excite this appetency towards something – towards things lovely, honest, and of good report, is the earliest and most important ministry of the educator.  How shall these indefinite ideas which manifest themselves in appetency be imparted?  They are not to be given of set purpose, nor taken at set times.  They are held in that thought-environment which surrounds the child as an atmosphere, which he breathes as his breath of life; and this atmosphere in which the child inspires his unconscious ideas of right living emanates from his parents.  Every look of gentleness and tone of reverence, every word of kindness and act of help, passes into the thought-environment, the very atmosphere which the child breathes he does not think of these things, may never think of them, but all his life long they excite that ‘vague appetency towards something’ out of which most of his actions spring…”  

(Wow… yes!)

“Habits of gentleness, courtesy, kindness, candour, respect for other people, or- habits quite other than these, are inspired by the child as the very atmosphere of his home, the air he lives in and must grow by…”

“Education is an atmosphere – that is, the child breathes the atmosphere emanating from his parents; that of the ideas which rule their own lives…”

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