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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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.

What I Read – February 2018

At first glance, I felt that my February reading was a bit disappointing. Once I really looked back over my list, I realized that I had read really great books!

This list is my personal reads as well as chapter read alouds to my children. Hopefully I can add in picture books for February later.

The Diary of Young Girl – Anne Frank – Surprisingly I do not recall having read this during high school. For the Redeemed Reader 2018 Reading Challenge, I needed to read a few biographies. Since two of my daughters had chosen to read about Anne Frank, I decided to join them. I must confess that I did not really enjoy this selection. World War II fiction is one of my favorite ares of reading. I began this prepared to love it. I’m not sure why it did not resonate with me. Perhaps, when I realized that I was not enjoying it, I should have set it aside for a later read.

However, I reminded myself as I read it that this diary of Anne’s was representative of all of those who were unable to leave anything behind or we never found a trace of them again. So many who are gone; lost forever to us. So many children and families taken during this horrid time. My two daughters did enjoy The Diary of a Young Girl. They can’t all be a good fit, right? (My daughters who read it were 14 and 17. There is a portion in the diary where Anne discusses changes in her body and some thoughts leading from that. This portion may make this selection not suitable for some families. )

Macbeth and The Tempest – William Shakespeare were also completed during February. I read these with my children during our Gathering each day. For the first time in my life, I am truly enjoying Shakespeare. Reading it aloud with everyone taking parts is great fun. Macbeth was a bit heavy but following it up with The Tempest was perfect. I thoroughly enjoyed The Tempest . It is definitely my favorite Shakespeare play so far!

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness – Andrew Peterson  This is book one of the Wingfeather Saga. My older children read this series years ago and I never made it a priority to do the same. I finally decided that I wanted to read them. The best way to make sure I finish a book in a timely manner is to make it a read aloud. My children are great motivators for “one more chapter”!

The original plan was to read this to my younger ones. My husband just happened to hear me read a chapter and we switched to it being our evening family read aloud. The Dark Sea of Darkness really makes an excellent book across the ages. It is adventurous, witty, humorous, and has most excellent footnotes throughout the book. I’d love to go and visit Oskar’s book shop!  I highly recommend this book. I am so glad that I decided to share it with my children! Book Two, North! or be Eaten, is on its way.

The Grave’s a Fine and Perfect Place – A Flavia de Luce novel – Alan Bradley This is the latest release in the Flavia de Luce series. I knew it was set to be released so I was diligently stalking my library to see when it was on order. As soon as I saw it, I put it on hold. I am always a bit fearful of series; especially when you get several books into the series. There is always that possibility that the author carries the characters for too long. But oh, sweet Flavia, I have loved each and every one in this series. The Grave’s a Fine and Perfect Place did not disappoint! At all!

I enjoy a mystery now and then but the mystery aspect of Flavia is not the draw for me. The characters, especially Flavia and Dogger, and how they personally and their relationships have grown and changed in this series is the real hook for me. Bradley has done amazingly well at capturing young Flavia’s personality. So witty, humorous, and heart wrenching at times. Love it! Mr. Bradley, please, please, tell me there is more Flavia de Luce in the future!

Before We Were Yours – Lisa Wingate. I can’t recall where I first saw this book mentioned. When I saw my library had it, I immediately put it on hold. I was like number 368 in line. Then when it finally arrived at my local branch, I couldn’t get there in time to get it! After four days, it went to the next person in line. I put it back on hold. And yes, I was again like 300 and something. It took me months to get this book in hand. It was so worth the wait!

This story, while fiction, is based on real life events. It tells the story of the Memphis Tennessee Children’s Home run by Geogia Tann and the devastation and heart break that she brought on so many families. Children were literally stolen from their families and sold to families of wealth and high society. Tann ran this “orphanage” from the 1920s to 1950s. So many children were lost to their parents forever.

Before We Were Yours tells the fictitious story of a group of five siblings and how they were ripped apart after being taken from their home. In the orphanage, children were starved, abused, and neglected; many of them died. This was a deeply moving and powerful story. It made me smile and it definitely made me cry. So thankful for those who were able to be reunited with their families; heartbroken for those who were lost forever. I highly recommend this one.

I’d love to hear about what you read in February and definitely what you are reading now! You can check out my GoodReads to see what I am currently reading.

 

 

**Disclaimer – This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of my links and make a purchase, I receive a small percentage. Your shopping experience is no way changed by using affiliate links. Thank you!