Who and What is Charlotte Mason, and Why Does It Matter?
Things To Know:
Charlotte Mason was a British educator in the late 1800's and early 1900's. She dedicated her life to educating children and to training their mothers/governesses (nannies) to educate them at home. She was extremely countercultural to her time, and although her methods have resurged in popularity, her philosophy is still countercultural to what we "know" about education today.
You see, Charlotte thought highly of children. She believed that children are "born persons" and should be respected as such. Because they are thinking, feeling, intelligent persons, she believed they are ready at a young age to be exposed to beauty and noble ideas. Charlotte knew that children are not blank slates to be filled with facts, but rather whole beings that should be exposed to ideas and real knowledge. She also proved through the education of hundreds of students that children are more than capable of digesting these ideas and being the one to do the work of handling them.
In Charlotte Mason classrooms, students were not bystanders of their education, but rather active participants in it. These weren't classrooms filled with "busy work", mountains of worksheets, and streams of facts to memorize and recite. Her students got out of their education what they invested in it, but because they were given such wonderful ideas to digest, those investments and returns were substantial.
Charlotte believed that the mind needs food, just as the body and her students "feasted" on beauty and noble ideas through nature, poetry, music, art, literature and Scripture. In case it sounds as if these were undisciplined students who did as they pleased, rest assured that Charlotte was a big believer in forming good habits. Because her students loved to learn for learning's sake, they were diligent students.
Does this all sound lofty? Does it sound like a beautiful set of ideas that would never work in practice in our own homes? Well, Charlotte was definitely not afraid of lofty ideals, and was quite the big thinker. However, she put those ideals into practice in intentional, specific ways through methods that worked then and have worked in countless homeschool classrooms since then. Those methods, and the philosophy behind them, are what these posts will contain.
Things to Ponder:
My friends, we ALL have something to learn from Charlotte Mason. There is something for every homeschool classroom to gain from both her ideals and her methods. No matter how we choose to homeschool, I would dare to say that we all agree that we want our children to love learning, be exposed to great ideas, and to become thinkers rather than just memorizers. With that in mind, it is my heart's desire that these next thirty days bring something of value to the hearts, minds, and classrooms of every homeschooler that I know. I ask you to prayerfully consider what we discuss, and to hold on to what stands out to you. I'm very much looking forward to this journey with you into the heart and mind of this brilliant, quirky, turn of the century educator. 💗
Things to Do:
Bite Sized Challenge-
What is Charlotte Mason?
Then, decide how you feel about her principles and what stands out to you.
Digging Deeper Challenge-
1. Read Above Articles
2. Listen to This:
Children Are Born Persons
For the Children's Sake
Outside of Charlotte Mason's work themselves, this is the first book I'd recommend to ALL homeschoolers.
From Charlotte Herself:
"Education is a life; that life is sustained on ideas; ideas are of spiritual origin, and that we get them chiefly as we convey them to one another. The duty of parents is to sustain a child's inner life with ideas as they sustain his body with food."
I'd love to discuss them with you!
Delightfully Feasting 💗