Children Are Born Persons – Charlotte Mason

My reading pace of A Philosophy of Education (Charlotte Mason) is moving a bit slower than I had originally planned. I find that I often go back and re-read portions of the text over again. I think that it is quite possible that you could offer up selections of Miss Mason’s writings and people would think it addressing the current educational status.

And so I am just now finishing up my thoughts on Chapter 2, Children Are Born Persons. Why has it taken me so long? I wondered if perhaps I was missing something during my reading. The concept is so simple…perhaps in Miss Mason’s time it was not so. And perhaps we are still struggling with it as well.

A child is a born person. A child has his own personality and characteristics. A child has his own interests or abilities. A child has a mind that can do amazing things! Perhaps we feel education would be easier if a child were an empty pitcher that we filled with the beverage of the day. But they are not puppets on a string! Children have amazing abilities to think, learn, create, imagine, and comprehend. We just need to present them with the ideas, the inspiration, the words.

Children are born persons. We do them an injustice when we treat them as anything less. They are able to think, to understand, to accomplish. Are we giving our children the opportunity to thrive? Are we offering a feast of ideas? So often my children leave me speechless at what they have gathered from their books. Those minds are constantly at work. Don’t underestimate the children!

“We may not take things casually as we have done. Our business is to give children the great ideas of life, of religion, history, science; but it is the ideas we must give, clothed upon with facts as they occur, and must leave the child to deal with those as he choose.” p 40

 

 

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.

 

 

**Please note that this post contains affiliate links. This means that when you click on a link and make a purchase, I earn a very small percentage. It is no ways effects your shopping experience. Thank you!

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!