26 July 2010
Trusting "Natural and Gentle Learning"
"I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of education. They seem to me to be built upon the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think. Whereas, if the child is left to himself, he will think more and better, if less showily. Let him touch real things and combine his impressions for himself, instead of sitting indoors at a little round table, while a sweet-voiced teacher suggests that he build a stone wall with his wooden blocks, or make a rainbow out of strips of coloured paper, or plant straw trees in bead flower-pots. Such teaching fills the mind with artificial associations that must be got rid of, before the child can develop independent ideas out of actual experience." Anne Sullivan
I wonder if Anne Sullivan was a fan of Charlotte Mason! CM was 24 years older than AS but it does make you wonder as she seems to have similar ideas when it comes to the growth and education of children. In my own 23 years of homeschooling I have seen this play out in my children. I have found though, that it is something you need to trust in because our minds are not geared to think in these terms. In order to do so we need to jump off the 'conveyor belt' of our own experiences of being taught in the public school fashion and renew our minds and hearts to accept and embrace the more 'natural' and 'gentle' methods of living and learning before we can pass them on to our own children. Reading the great works from Charlotte Mason over the years has been a great help in showing me how real learning can and does take place. Through living books, hands on learning, short, daily lessons in the 3'rs,
plenty of free time to explore individual interests, (which leads to rich imaginations) and spending lots of time out of doors learning about God's world in the raw. It's in doing these things that I've seen the fruit of her work being played out in the lives of my own children. If you are interested in learning more about Charlotte Mason's work click HERE.