Sunday, May 9, 2010

Musings 'Education Is' from Simply Charlotte Mason

Over the weekend I read 'Education Is - an atmosphere, a discipline, a life' from Simply Charlotte Mason. I highlighted on the first pass and then re-read the sections later and made some notes. Here are my highlights, musings.

"Education according the Webster, involves training by both formal instruction and supervised practice; it includes all that we do to help our children develop mentally, morally and aesthetically; it entails our persuading our children to feel, believe, or act in a desired way."

The really speaks to me. It says to me that the desired outcome of a Charlotte Mason education is a person who is well rounded. They will have skills in all areas and not just academics. Is this thought perhaps related to Steiner's thoughts on educating the head, hands and heart? Is that what he says?

"Atmosphere - environment children grow up in."
"The child breathes the atmosphere emanating from his parents; that of the ideas which rule their own lives" CM Vol2 P247

Without intent and direct instruction parents pass on to their children their own bias and can colour their thoughts and feelings.

"Discipline - training our children in good habits."

Life - "all the thought we offer to our children shall be living thought; not mere dry summaries of facts will do" CM Vol2 P277

Academic/formal instruction should therefore be limited to 1/3 of the total education of the child. Atmosphere, discipline and life should be equal components in a well rounded education.

"Education is a discipline - that is, the discipline of the good habits in which the child is trained. Education is a life, nourished upon ideas; and education is an atmosphere - that is, the child breathes the atmosphere emanating from his parents; that of the ideas which rule their own lives" CM Vol2 P247

To me education is a growing, living thing. It changes as the child changes and grows with them. As a parent you are providing all of the food for the plant to grow, you water it and prune it and the aim is to end up with a wonderful well rounded specimen. Don't loose sight of the goal at the end, the bloom will amaze you!

"What ideas rule your life?"

Is there bias, political views, social views, etc?

"She just wanted to make sure we realise that the ideas that rule our lives play a big role in what our children learn from us."

Lead by example, keep an open mind.

"Children must face life as it is"
"Due relations must be maintained: the parents are in authority, the children in obedience."

We can freely share our thoughts and feelings but must always remain in charge. The adult, the parent. We should not expect nor ask that children take on adult responsibilities or burden but it is OK for them to witness us having a hard time of it. Hmm, does that conflict with the previous statement about ideas that rule our lives? I don't think it does. If our lives are generally unbiased then sharing our thoughts and feelings surrounding and event should be balanced, or at least instilling the values that we cherish.

"What does your choice of curriculum say about what is important to you?"

Mine probably says that i don't spend enough time planning, or preparing. It probably also says that i don't spend enough time actually reading to the children. Going to be changing that!

"Do not let the endless succession of small things crowd great ideals out of sight and out of mind" The Story of Charlotte Mason P160

I love this, LOVE it! We can be so focused on the here and now that we loose focus altogether on the end goal. Everyday, every small step is one step closer to the final outcome we are looking for.

"If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children when these are overdone, we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play!" CM Vol3 P33

When our kids are overwhelmed we stop and sometimes redirect them. Why then don't we do that for ourselves? We seem to plough on and no, that doesn't make it any better. It is time to STOP, get out of the house, or go to your room and feed our soul. What speaks to you? What can you do to help calm? Meditation? Handiwork? Make time for yourself and you will be better able to manage your household. I am trying to make time for myself everyday during quiet time now.

"At first, a child wants the support of constant supervision, but, by degrees, he is left to do the thing he ought of his own accord" CM Vol3 P108

Demonstrate, instruct, supervise, withdraw one step at a time. Does this show similarities with Montessori? I recall a moto of hers 'Help me to do it myself'.

"She wanted education to be alive to the children, to give their minds the nourishment of living ideas instead of dry facts."

Make it fun, enjoy it :)

"We too often settle for what looks easy rather than going on a treasure hunt for what is living. Education is a life teeming with ideas. Let's spread the feast of living ideas before our children rather than handing them dry factual crumbs."

I think I need a bit of help in this area. We need more living math, more literature and better science. Need to look at what is immediately available in our area. Also need to remember the previous note about making more time to plan.

So that is it. It was very thought provoking and I plan to tackle Smooth and Easy Days next. I think I would quite like to purchase the all day seminar from Simply Charlotte Mason. I'm ready to learn more :)

1 comment:

  1. It's certainly challenging to see so many excellent CM quotes put together like this, isn't it? Love Sonia's books!!

    We use CM and MEP in our homeschool as well - I'm off to take a browse around your blog now. Look forward to learning more about you and your lovely fam!!


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