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.

 

 

2018-2019 Curriculum Choices – 1st and 3rd Grades

Our 2018-2019 School Year began back in July.  Perhaps not the most well timed start as we had a couple of major interruptions. But such is life, right?

I noticed a couple of weeks ago that I needed to make a few adjustments to the schedule and book selections. I think that I finally have things set to a good and reasonable flow for my younger students.

We do some studies all together and those things are not included in this post but will soon follow. The selections listed below are used with my Form 1 students.

Math:

Math Mammoth is used by both students at their appropriate level. I switched a few years ago to using Math Mammoth with my younger students and they are doing well. Not only do I appreciate the presentation of the math but the price is affordable as well. I also use Ray’s Primary Arithmetic. My 1B daughter really enjoys it and I think it works very well for mental math work. We use it once or twice a week.

Reading/Phonics Instruction:

My third grade/Form 1A student is working through the Treadwell Readers and has about two pages left in the First Reader. He will immediately move into the Second Reader. He is really enjoying these books and moving at a fabulous pace. Since I prefer a hard copy, I purchase copies from Amazon at a reasonable price. But you can access these readers for free online!

My first grade/Form 1B student is about a third of the way through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I love this resource and have used it for several children. Simple, straight-forward, short lessons are a win for me. All of my children who have used this book are excellent readers!

Handwriting/Copywork:

Beautiful Handwriting for Children by Penny Gardner is an italics handwriting program that I am using with multiple children. This resource covers print and cursive writing. It includes pages to practice letters, words, and then sentences. Additional blank pages for practice can be printed as well. The PDF download is only $10! My 1st and 3rd grader are working through the print pages at their own pace.

Within this post, the books highlighted link to Amazon. I choose to link to Amazon because they offer a great “look inside” feature that often allows you to read a few pages of a text. I have always found that helpful. However, I often use ThriftBooks.com because I find better pricing. It has helped my budget tremendously!

History:

All of my children are studying 1650-1800. For my Form 1 students there is more of a focus on just the years of 1700-1800 with a slight bit of the “heroic age” tossed in for my 1st grader. A First Book of American History and Meet the North American Indians are our current history books. I am also including a historical fiction read aloud. We are currently reading Johnny Tremain. A couple of times a week, I read a chapter or two during lunch. In a separate post I will share the history free reads that are available to the children; these include picture books as well.

Geography:

I have a few resources on hand for geography. We will be working through Paddle to the Sea by Holling C Holling as well as Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography. To add a bit of fun in the mix, I am including Blue Ridge Billy by Lois Lenski. Her regional stories of America show the beauty of the different ares and people! Naturally we will work with a few basic maps and use our wall maps often to locate places we read about.

Science:

Sam and Martha will be enjoying Pagoo by Holling C. Holling. This one is always a favorite! We are also reading A Drop of Water and doing some of the experiments shared in the back of the book.  This term our Special Study will be on trees and dragonflies. I may be adding in reading Tree and Shrubs by Arabella Buckley. I do not have a copy of this yet so we shall see if we work it in. Science is a favorite with Sam and he asks for it daily!

Literature:

Form 1B typically includes Fairy Tales and Form 1A often incorporates Mythology if I am remembering correctly. I am alternating reading fairy tales and Greek myths. I am utilizing a copy I own of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. While I have D’ aulaires Book of Greek Myths on my wish list, I am trying to use what I have. I own Greek Myths by Oliva Coolidge and Usborne Greek Myths. Which one will I use? I’m not quite sure!

I am also reading Swallows and Amazon by Arthur Ransome. This was just a spur of the moment decision. I am fairly confident that my third grade kiddo is going to love it! I may also have him listen to the audio of Pilgrim’s Progress in the evening as he falls asleep.

I think that covers the Form 1 work for the coming term/year. This is such a delightful age. I love their insights and narrations on the things we read and observe. We do not read these books daily and some are not read even weekly. My goal is to spread a feast for my children. We are savoring it slowly.  My hope is that this might be helpful to someone. As time allows, I will try to share a weekly schedule for my Form 1 Students.

 

**Please note that there are affiliate links included in this post. These links in no way effect your shopping or browsing experience. If you decide to make a purchase, I earn a very small percentage.