Self – Education

As I mentioned in a previous post I am reading through Charlotte Mason’s six volumes on her educational philosophy. I have slowly begun to read A Philosophy of Education which is the sixth and final volume of Miss Mason’s series.

I am a reader who loves to settle in with a good book and binge read for hours. Life does make that a bit difficult now but these writings are not ones to gulp down but to sip slowly. Savor. Let the words and thoughts and ideas settle in a bit.

Chapter One is on Self-Education. I have actually read this chapter twice, marked passages with my book darts, and finally copied them in my journal.

The love of learning is something I hope that all of my children will have by the time they leave my home. Actually I want them to have a love of learning long before they leave my home. That love of acquiring knowledge, learning something new, diving into a book and walking away with a deeper understanding…I want them to have that.

In my mind, self-education results in that love of learning. Self-education is when the child takes ownership and responsibility. She understands the importance of learning or knowledge. There is a desire to learn something new or to comprehend something better. Even in the face of hard work or challenges, that desire to learn makes the struggle worth it.

“A person is not built up from without but from within, that is, he is living, and all external educational appliances and activities which are intended to mould his character are decorative and not vital.” A Philosophy of Education p 28

We can set up a reward system for work completed. Offer a prize when a skill is mastered. Take them for ice cream when a math text is completed. This is all trying to build up from without and in the end will not result in that love of learning. If we must always have a prize or reward or pat on the back for our learning and accomplishments, then we are just puppets. Controlled by whatever or whoever will give us the most praise or the highest reward.

If the child understands the benefit and beauty of knowledge and learning, then it becomes a part of them, of her character. She knows to seek out information, to dive into a book, to practice for herself. Not for a sticker or a good mark on a transcript. Then self-education is born.

“The teacher who allows his scholars the freedom of the city of books is at liberty to be their guide, philosopher and friend; and is no longer the mere instrument of forcible intellectual feeding.” A Philosophy of Education p 32

Self-education does not mean leaving the child on her own. Instead of making a list of what must be learned, rewarding what appears to be mastered, and moving on down the list, you walk alongside the child. Helping her find information, discover the beauty around her that inspires, providing good, living books, and discussing those things that engage them.

I want to stress that I don’t see self-education as leaving the child to learn alone or to struggle through difficult concepts without help. I am walking beside them, discussing, helping, supporting, and often struggling right alongside them. Perhaps one day I will master higher math, eh? But I want them to own their education. Value it. See the purpose.

I always enjoy seeing what books will come home from the library with my children. An old edition of a book of poetry, a cookbook on grilling, a survival guide, or a how-to book on pressing flowers. Always stacks of literature; new and old.

Hopefully the love of learning will continue. This self-education will be a life long pursuit. The wonder of new ideas and beautiful stories and endless possibilities will never die.

What are your thoughts on self-education? I would love to hear them. Thanks for listening to my rambling thoughts.

 

 

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She Learned to Read

The decision to homeschool had been made long before she was born. Hours had been spent researching methods and curricula. Books and articles had been read. All of that boiled down to one thought: If I can teach her to read, all the rest will come.

If a child can read and comprehend then the world is, well, an open book to them, right? Once she grasped reading then anything could be learned, studied, mastered. This was my homeschool goal: teach her to read, love books, and realize that learning never ends.

And she learned to read. That is my homeschool success story.

What is the point of this? As many are beginning a new homeschool year or perhaps beginning homeschooling for the first time, remember your goal, your purpose, your reason for this journey. And remember that you can do this. You can!

It is not always easy. You will likely grow a bit weary. It might take a few tries before you find the right math curriculum. There is no way that you can ever teach your child everything so don’t stress over those gaps in learning. You know your child better than anyone.

Your homeschool day, life, journey is not going to look like mine. We are different moms with different children. Reading blogs and watching YouTube channels is great if they are an encouragement to you. If they leave you feeling like a failure and as if you don’t measure up, just turn it off. Just a bit of advice from a mom of ten who is a self-preclaimed organizational failure and has no clue what is for dinner tonight.

She learned to read. And the one after her learned to read. And the next one, and the next one…I’m currently teaching number eight to read and she is doing great. For me, please know this is for me, my goal has been met. I don’t stress over the test scores of my child who panics when she hears the word “test”.  Yes, one child is behind in math but he will catch up.

So fellow homeschool mom, you have got this. You have. Trust me! You can do this. Deep breath. Remember your goal. Fill up the chocolate stash. And do this thing!

Reading Charlotte Mason

I am not sure when I was first introduced to Charlotte Mason’s philosophy on education. Perhaps it was while researching curriculum online or maybe a friend mentioned it. I do know that I was already unknowingly implementing some of her ideas and practices in my home.

We had always used living books and narration seemed a natural response to all our reading. I remember when my oldest children were little and I read to them about Leif the Lucky. As I read they quietly played with Lego blocks. When I finished our reading, they all had various Viking ships to show me as we chatted about Leif Erikson. Letting young children enjoy time outside exploring and playing and running and climbing has always been a part of our days.

When I stumbled across Charlotte Mason I felt that in a small way I had found a kindred spirit. Someone I would have loved to chat with and learn much from I am sure. I definitely had the opportunity to chat with her in a way. She left behind a six volume collection of her thoughts and practices in education. There are the infamous “pink copies” of her writings that are now out of print (but you can still find them used). Thankfully there are new editions of these books now available and budget friendly. You can also read them for free online.

Here is a confession: I have never read Charlotte Mason’s original writings in full. I have read snippets here and there. I have read many great books on Charlotte Mason’s philosophy and ideas of education. Excellent books that help with the understanding and implementing of Mason’s practices. There are a few that I definitely recommend and have found super helpful! You can see them here if interested.

 

I have found that I am not satisfied with this second-hand encounter with Miss Mason. I appreciate other’s thoughts but I want to sit at the table with Miss Mason. Ponder her philosophy without other’s ideas tainting my view or assumptions. I will continue to read other books that address aspects of  Mason’s teaching; I am currently reading Know and Tell by Karen Glass. My main attention and focus will be on Miss Mason.

I am going to be a bit of a rebel. Normally I would begin with Home Education, Volume 1. However, I do have older children so I have jumped ship and am first reading A Philosophy of Education, Volume 6. It is my plan to perhaps share my thoughts here.