23 March 2012

Education as a series of relationships

Charlotte Mason defined education as a series of relationships formed by the learner as he developed intimacy with a wide range of subjects - something she called, "The Science of Relations." She believed that children should do the work of dealing with ideas and knowledge rather than the teacher acting as a middle man, dispensing filtered knowledge. Children should be taught the fallibility of reason, and that the responsibility of each individual is not in reasoning out the proofs, but in making sure the initial idea or assumption is sounds. She saw no separation between intellectual and spiritual life of children and adults, but believed that all truth is of God, regardless of the vessel it comes from.

Some things a Charlotte Mason education would include: (These few are my favorites)

1. Narration of course! Narration, which consists of the child telling back a story. This takes the place of composition in the early years. I love this one because it is so very natural for a child to 'tell back' experiences. They are able to 'connect' so well with the information they are narrating and in turn gain an even deeper understanding of what was learned and how to apply those things (presuming they are good things learned) to their own lives! Plus I love the ability to 'chat' with them as well and hopefully have an opportunity to share some true principles of life with them which we are taught in the scriptures. Because as Charlotte Mason says, "There is no separation between intellectual and spiritual life."

2. Habit training a as discipline of the child's will and behavior. Children are trained to develop the will, which is manifested in a strong resolve to act in a right manner. This one cannot be stressed enough. Helping our children gain good habits in behavior and in other areas of life is like giving them a gift. The gift of good habits learned will stay with them hopefully throughout their entire lives.

3. Living books rather than textbooks to convey ideas. Living books, whether fiction or non-fiction are more than just interesting books that make a tipic come alive. A true living book has the best material, from the best minds, or at least the real story from someone who was there or has a real interest in their subject. This is the one I am most grateful for. I grew up in the public school system and no such books were offered to me and it actually saddens me that this is the case. As I see it, it is the teachers responsibility to mentor the child and give the best of the best but that wasn't the case. I was only exposed to watered/dumbed down literature while as a child. But now as a parent I see the down fall of being brought up in such a light minded fashion and I can bring the best minds to my children through living books. I encourage parents everywhere, whether your child is in school or homeschooled, you too can open a world of great books to your children that they will treasure all their lives.

These are just 3 ideas that I love about home educating my children. I have the ability, time, and resources through the internet, home library, public library, and so much more at my fingertips to offer my children through their homeschooling journey.

101 reasons as to Why I homeschool reason #74


Cathy said...

I love Charlotte Mason's writings.

dggp said...

It is so true. I volunteer at the school to help beginning readers and the library at the school really stinks. There are any available living books hardly at all. Very sad in my opinion.