Charlotte Mason, Wikipedia
I don't know about you, but WOW! There was just so much meaty goodness upon which to gnaw that I'm still picking the remnants outta my teeth. Here are a few of my fave excerpts:
God has given to the child all the faculties of our nature, but the grand point remains undecided––how shall this heart, this head, these hands be employed? to whose service shall they be dedicated? A question the answer to which involves a futurity of happiness or misery to a life so dear to thee. Maternal love is the first agent in education (p. 2).The parent who sees his way––that is, the exact force of method––to educate his child, will make use of every circumstance of the child's life almost without intention on his own part, so easy and spontaneous is a method of education based upon Natural Law. Does the child eat or drink, does he come, or go, or play––all the time he is being educated, though he is as little aware of it as he is of the act of breathing (p. 8).Let the child perceive that his parents are law-compelled as well as he, that they simply cannot allow him to do the things which have been forbidden, and he submits with the sweet meekness which belongs to his age (p. 15).Many a little girl, especially, leaves the home schoolroom with a distaste for all manner of learning, an aversion to mental effort, which lasts her lifetime, and that is why she grows up to read little but trashy novels, and to talk all day about her clothes (p.16).Deal with a child on his first offence, and a grieved look is enough to convict the little transgressor; but let him go on until a habit of wrong-doing is formed, and the cure is a slow one; then the mother has no chance until she has formed in him a contrary habit of well-doing. To laugh at ugly tempers and let them pass because the child is small, is to sow the wind (p. 19).The child has been doing sums for some time, and is getting unaccountably stupid: take away his slate and let him read history, and you find his wits fresh again. Imagination, which has had no part in the sums, is called into play by the history lesson, and the child brings a lively unexhausted power to his new work (p. 24).My endeavour in this and the following volumes of the series will be to sketch out roughly a method of education which, as resting upon a basis of natural law, may look, without presumption, to inherit the Divine blessing. Any sketch I can offer in this short compass must be very imperfect and very incomplete; but a hint here and there may be enough to put intelligent parents on profitable lines of thinking with regard to the education of their children (p. 41).
My first practical response to this reading is to take a long and hard look at the habits I've allowed in my children because they were once cute when they were smaller children. More recently, after changing maths curriculum, one which required more of my hand in guidance and one which requires more effort on his part, with my son, there has been a decidedly desperate struggle happening each morning in our home school. The previous maths curriculum came so easily for him that he oft worked alone and swiftly, without needing much guidance from me at all. At such a young age, this amount of freedom in his studies has produced an iron will, one which will be quite slow in bending to his new circumstances. Although painful, I'm glad to have learned this lesson early enough so as to not repeat it ever again in this short lifetime.
Secondly, I am rethinking our Spring Schedule. As much fun as it has been to get out-of-doors first thing in the morn, our afternoon lessons have been pathetic and shoddy to say the least. No one can focus, myself included, and there are too many afternoons during which we just vegetate and recover from our morning sun parade. I do think that Charlotte Mason's purported principles of having the best of Mother and making the most of the mental freshness of the morning hours ((for all of us)) is quite foundational indeed. So here goes:
1. Mom wakes, starts laundry & exercises
2. Kids wake, dress & make beds
3. Bible reading together
4. Breakfast & Chores
5. Core Lessons: Maths, Languages & Living Books
6. Lunch & Clean-up
7. Handiwork; Music, Nature & Artist Studies
8. Outdoor Time
We'll see if this works any better for us!
Finally, I'm also rethinking the scheduling of our school year in order to make the most of Spring, which is the best time to be out-of-doors here in northern California, in my opinion. Our Summers are scorching, killing every living thing save the lizards and snakes, and our Autumns are too short, hovering between the scorching and the raining. Yes, believe it or not, it does rain quite a bit in California---all winter long here in the north. So, I'm thinking Spring will be our new Summer break. Don't you just love that as homeschoolers, we have the privilege of thinking way outside the box?! I know I do.
So, how did y'all do this week? Did you find that there was more than a mouthful, or were you rather understimulated? Please share what you've gleaned this week, in any which way but loose. I love that we are all uniquely fashioned and knitted together and, therefore, have homeschools which reflect those special qualities providentially ordained by our Creator, don't you?
For next week, we'll read just the first seven sections of Part II, Volume I, of Home Education. Thanks for reading & gleaning with us from the mind and writings of Charlotte! And, as promised, I'll post each week's link on the sidebar, so you can jump in whenever it works for you---the more minds, the merrier!!