Modern Mason: My Journey with Charlotte

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I am starting a blog series chronicling my journey through early childhood education at home.  This is not a blog brag fest or platform to promote homeschooling, because well, gag.  Much like those who blog through their journey to physical wellness, bucket lists, or other other sorts of personal goals, I aim to write a series of posts sharing what our family is learning as we incorporate the philosophy and methods of Charlotte Mason into our homeschool day.

Who was Charlotte Mason?

Charlotte was a British educator around the turn of the century.  She was a revolutionary in education by promoting living ideas.  She had a high view of children and believed that we do not simply educate the mind, but the whole person.  For her, education was an atmosphere (home), a discipline (fostering good habits), and a life (academics- living ideas, not dry facts).

Why Charlotte Mason?

We use an eclectic approach in our home education.  By this I mean that we do not follow one particular method or philosophical stream.  There are a lot of wonderful ways to educate, both in the classroom and at home, so I am not advocating a certain method as a “one size fits all” educational plan.  For us, this means that classical education in conjunction with many of Charlotte Mason’s principles provide a framework for educating our children, but there are many other ways that could work for other children.  As Mason said herself, every child is a “born person” and should not be judged based upon his “usefulness” to society, but based upon the truth that he or she is made in the image of God with certain capacities and needs.

After reading about and practicing some of Charlotte Mason’s ideas in the past year or so, I have come to discover just how rich her philosophy is.  I didn’t believe or trust her at first.  I am starting to understand that truly “education is a life.”

Every so often, then, I will post updates on lessons being learned by both teacher and students.  I’ll share ideas and “Aha!” moments as well as our stumblings along the way.  My children are very young with my oldest in first grade.  My other two are almost five (Pre-K) and two.  I do use curriculum with my two oldest girls, but we don’t do every enrichment suggestion the curriculum calls for so that I can incorporate more of Charlotte’s ideas like nature study, living books, outside play, poetry, hymns, narration etc.

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I am calling this blog series “Modern Mason” because even though Charlotte Mason was an early 20th century educator, her ideas in my opinion are timeless and timely.  There are more distractions now than ever- screens, jam-packed schedules, excess extra curricular activities, and over achievement.  We have made parenthood and child rearing something to master rather than something to nurture.  The culture of parenting today is incredibly distracting.  

Maybe I am crazy for reading Charlotte instead of the latest and greatest mommy blogger.  Maybe she is too old fashioned or out of touch.  Maybe her principles and ideals are not what children need in an advancing age.  But maybe, just maybe, they are exactly what they need.  Maybe she had it right all along.  I aim to find out for myself.  

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This is a typical morning time for us. Hands busy. Table messy. Sometimes we are fussy. But there is also truth, goodness, and beauty. I am learning to let go of the reins of “teacher mode” and let my children be children without forcing them or pushing them beyond their abilities. As Charlotte reminds me, “It is not about- how much does the youth know. The question is, How much does he care?”
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