Nature of a Child – Charlotte Mason

I am a bit overdue for sharing a few thoughts from my reading of A Philosophy of Education. Chapter Three was The Good and Evil Nature of a Child. The chapter itself is broken down into five sections. So much good food for thought throughout.

I suppose this is why it has taken me so long to pull together what I wanted to share in this post. And in reality, I am not sure I can even adequately paraphrase, sum up, or expound on Miss Mason’s thoughts. Perhaps her thoughts will have to speak for themselves.

“The fact seems to be that children are like ourselves, not because they have become so, but because they are born so; that is, with tendencies, dispositions, towards good and towards evil, and also with a curious intuitive knowledge as to which is good and which is evil.” p46

I will say that anyone who deals with the education of a child..in any way teaches a child..I think this chapter is worth reading. To say that this text would only benefit a homeschool parent is an error indeed.

“There is a common notion that it is our inalienable right not only to say what we please but to think as we please, that is, we believe that while the body is subject to physical laws, while the affections, love and justice, are subject to moral laws, the mind is a chartered libertine. Probably this notion has much to do with our neglect of the intellect.” P49

It is easy to read the title of this chapter and set our minds that we will be reading about how bad some children are and how good others are. But that is really missing the whole point of this chapter. We all have the capacity to do good and no doubt we have the capacity to do evil. Which aspect of the nature of the child do we want to feed? What do we want to encourage in growth?

“As for literature – to introduce children to literature is to instal them in a very rich and glorious kingdom, to bring a continual holiday to their doors, to lay before them a feast exquisitely served. But they must learn to know literature by being familiar with it from the very first. A child’s intercourse must always be with good books, the best that we can find.” p 57

When we set before the child a vast array of truth, beauty, and goodness…when they read great and beautiful literature, when they see the beauty of creation, when they see purpose in the numbers…it feeds that good nature in the child. They recognize it and develop an appetite for it that must be fed.

“The divine curiousity which should have been an equipment for life hardly survives early childhood” p57

”The love of knowledge is sufficient.” p57

There is an almost comedic occurrence here. I am typing, deleting, re-typing, deleting, rephrasing. Perhaps I will just end it with Miss Mason.

“Children are not to be fed morally like young pigeons with predigested food. They must pick and eat for themselves and they do so from the conduct of others which they hear of or perceive. But they want a great quantity of the sort of food whose issue is conduct, and that is why poetry, history, romance, geography, travel, biography, science and sums must all be pressed into service. No one can tell what particular morsel a child will select for his sustenance. p59

If you have not read any of Charlotte Mason’s works, I highly recommend that you do. Whether you agree fully with her philosophy or not, their is so much value and truth in this chapter.

Are you currently reading any of Miss Mason’s volumes? Which one? What have you found thought provoking or intriguing? Interesting?

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2018-2019 Form 2 Curriculum Choices

I currently have one student in Grade 5/Form 2 this year. My goal is to implement the Charlotte Mason philosophy into our studies. In no way do I proclaim that I do it perfectly. Perhaps my stumbling attempts will be a help and encouragement to you. Here are the books selections and resources that we will be using for Term 1:

While my student is in Grade 5, I utilized Ambleside Online’s Year Four as a starting point. The Year Four plan at AO lines up well with our historical focus of 1650-1800. Please visit the Ambleside Online website! The Auxiliary has put in many hours to provide an amazing free resource.

Bible: Once a child is reading independently, I encourage daily personal Bible reading that is not related to our group Bible reading. I do not schedule this but am happy to offer suggestions/reading plans if the child is unsure of what to read.

Math: Math Mammoth is the current math curriculum. My daughter really enjoys Math Mammoth and is progressing nicely. I love that she enjoys math so no changes are planned. There are currently math resources available that are Charlotte Mason inspired and follow her method for math. I am choosing to use the resource I own incorporating Charlotte Mason’s principles.

Copywork: Along with daily copywork pulled from her poetry readings, hymns, Scripture, and other literature, we also use Beautiful Handwriting for Children. It is an italics program that includes both print and cursive. This term our focus will be on the cursive portion. This is a great, inexpensive resource!

Grammar: This will be her first official year for grammar. I am pulling two resources together. First is Simply Grammar. I researched grammar programs I owned along with a few other options. I decided that I would pull from what I had and see how it went.

I am also using Grammar Reinforcement Task Cards from Creek Edge Press. I used these with another one of my children and I love them! Creek Edge Press has task cards for other areas of learning such as history, science, and music. Recitation and Enrichment resources are offered as well. An excellent resource!

History: Two books are used since American History and British History are covered. The Story of the Thirteen Colonies (American) and Our Island Story (British). Along with these spines, I add in a selection of historical fiction. In Term 2, depending on how Term 1 goes, we will add in Ancient Greece. Both of the above books are available online for free.

Biography: Poor Richard (James Daughtery) is the selection covering Benjamin Franklin.

Geography: I made bit of a good here. Minn of the Mississippi (Holling C. Holling) was the book on the schedule. She happened to pick up Of Courage Undaunted (James Daughtery). Since she is really enjoying Of Courage Undaunted, this covers Lewis and Clark, I decided to schedule both books at a slower pace. Of Courage Undaunted is one of her favorite selections this term. We also incorporate maps as well.

Science/Nature Lore – Here we have another favorite. The Storybook of Science is being enjoyed immensely. I also have her reading Madam How and Lady Why. Both of these titles are available online for free.

Let’s see what haven’t I covered… Oh!

Poetry: The poet for this term is Emily Dickinson. A poem a day is read and one has been selected for recitation.

Literature: Here I have really slowed things down to meet the needs of my child. My daughter loved being read aloud to and she had no motivation to learn to read. We pushed through lessons and she learned to read. However, she didn’t seem to enjoy the process. In the past several months, she has found enjoyment in reading! Delightful! So she is tackling a good bit of her schoolwork on her own this term. I don’t want to overwhelm her so literature is assigned at a slow pace.

She will be reading Age of Fable from Bullfinch’s Mythology. I have a lovely illustrated edition on its way and will return the thick, chunky copy to the library. I also have her reading Rabbit Hill (Robert Lawson). This is another selection she was surprised to find that she enjoyed. Our weekly readings from Shakespeare are a part of literature as well but that is scheduled as a part of group studies.

Citizenship: Thankfully our library had The Presidency (Gerald Johnson). I was pondering reading it aloud but think it works better for Form 2. She is making connections with this book and Of Courage Undaunted. I love seeing her mind churning all these facts, people, and ideas.

She has been sitting in with us on Plutarch, and I was concerned that she wasn’t digesting the information. I had thought to incorporate Stories from the History of Rome by Mrs. Beesly. This should be free online as well.  However, in casual conversation my daughter showed that she was keeping up just fine with Plutarch. So perhaps no adjustments are necessary? We shall see.

Other areas of learning such as composer, artist study, and special studies (nature) are a part of our group family studies. When that post is ready, I will come back and link it.

This year is a time of maturity and independent learning for my Form 2 student. These selections are not read daily; the feast of ideas is spread out over the week and term.

I am slowly reading through Charlotte Mason’s writings on her thoughts and practices in education. I am currently reading A Philosophy of Education and it is delightful. I sharing a brief snippet of the highlights from each chapter here on my blog. Feel free to join me in conversation!

**Please note that affiliate links are used in this post. The links in no way change your shopping/browsing experience. I just earn a small percentage if you happen to make a purchase. I love using Amazon to do a bit of “window shopping” thanks to their See Inside feature on books.

 

 

Fool’s Notion – Book Review

Books and I have a long history together. I can’t remember a time when I did not enjoy a good book.  From the classics to my two years old’s board books, there is always a book close at hand. I will confess a literary secret. Shhh…just between me and you. Sometimes at the end of a long day, I need some help unwinding and clearing my mind. Picking up a light, easy read is often the perfect way to do this.

Christian Fiction is generally my genre to pull from because I don’t have to worry about inappropriate content or language. My mind will not keep churning around an unsettled plot twist but will drift off with happy endings. Do not be mislead. Even in my easy reading, I am extremely selective. The characters and story line must be engaging, authentic, and believable.

Recently I had the opportunity to read and review Fool’s Notion by Lisa J. Flickinger.  Fool’s Notion takes us to 1883 on the California Trail, Kansas. Here we are going to meet up with Alda and the finest Missouri Mules. Intrigued?

Fool's Notion Jamie (2)

About the Book:

1883 California Trail, Kansas

Missouri mules were the best. Alda grew to love the creatures working side by side with her pa on their farm along the banks of the Missouri River. He would be hopping mad when he realized his wife and daughter colluded behind his back to sell a pack string. It wouldn’t matter that they were trying to save the farm.

Alda struck out on her own to drive the team over fifteen hundred miles. By day three, her lead mule Bessie refused to take one more step. It was a good thing the handsome cowboy Cord stopped by to lend a hand or Alda might still be sitting in the dust.

Now, Alda needed the man to move on so she could continue her journey. Judging by the spark in Cord’s eye … it just might take some convincing.

Based on the book synopsis, I had hopes that Fool’s Notion was going to be the perfect bedtime read for me. A bit of history, a touch of adventure, and with mules I felt sure there would be a bit of comic relief tossed in as well.

Unfortunately after just a few chapters, I was struggling with Alda, Cord, and their story. I found myself not liking the main characters of this story and had difficulty believing that it was all possible. A young woman traveling on her own with a pack of mules across country in the late 1800s? Cord comes to her rescue and helps her join a wagon train for a safe journey across country. No one seems to question the respectability of this arrangement?

Despite my issues with Fool’s Notion, I continued reading and completed the book. There was a hope that Alda and Cord’s story would capture my interest. However, the story fell flat for me. The writing was stilted and shallow in development. The ending of the book was disappointing. Giving the perception of Alda’s character at the beginning, for her to allow herself to be tossed around at the end is maddening.

Another confession: I am definitely a “mood reader”. There are days where I want lighthearted and frivolous and other days I want deeply moving tales of epic proportions. I have found that a book I didn’t enjoy six months ago, I can now read with pleasure.  With those thoughts in mind, it could be that I read Fool’s Notion on a bad day. So I will likely grab one of her other titles and give it a go!

About the Author:

Author Pic (1)

Lisa J. Flickinger, author of historical novels Fool’s Notion, Ella, and All That Glitters, lives and writes from the cliff of a river along the majestic Rocky Mountains. When not writing or reading, you will find her scouring antique shops or sipping a maple latte with friends and family. To learn more about her visit www.lisajflickinger.com or her Facebook author page Lisa J. Flickinger.

**I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit for the purpose of review. No compensation has been made. The opinions and thoughts shared are my own. Affiliate links may be used in this post. They in no way change your shopping/research experience.