Charlotte Mason: Whole Child

Since making the decision to home school my children, currently ages one and three, I have been researching various methods of home schooling.  Over the next few weeks, I’d like to share with you some of the benefits I’ve seen in each of those methods.  If you are considering home schooling, this may help you decide where to start.  If you are already home schooling, this may provide you with some ideas to enhance what’s working well for you or re-work something that’s been a struggle.  To see all posts in this series, please click the tag “home schooling methods.”

British educator Charlotte Mason is often referred to as a “revolutionary” — not for firing canons or making heads roll, but for the simple notion that a child is a complete person and his education should treat him as such.

This may seem intuitive, but one hundred years later, most schools still compartmentalize learning in a way that is almost cartoonish.  In contrast, Mason believed that “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.”  To nurture a child’s natural love of learning, their education should be integrated into real, daily life.  She advocates for the use of what she calls “living books” — books written by passionate experts — rather than textbooks, which are notoriously dry and superficial.  She encourages educators to expose children to all the best examples of art, literature, music, and so forth from the very beginning.  For hand-writing practice, for example, children should use Scripture verses or passages from famous poets or writers.

The integration of education into real life has immense appeal for me.  I want my own children to understand that learning is not something that happens from 8 to 3 until you graduate.  Learning happens every moment of the day in everything we do.  We are always growing, always improving, always seeking to understand and do more.



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