“We allow no separation to grow up between the intellectual and ‘spiritual’ life of children, but teach them that the Divine Spirit has constant access to their spirits, and is their Continual Helper in all the interests, duties and joys of life.”- Charlotte Mason

A Charlotte Mason education could also be called a living education.  All things in education should be brought to life and give life to a child.  We know the ultimate life-giver is God and we know that the ultimate living book is the Bible (Hebrews 4:12″For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”).  We also know that we need food for our physical bodies to live, Charlotte Mason would also say that we need intellectual food for our minds and souls to thrive.  Also just as we need a variety of food in order to get all the needed nutrients, we also need a variety of living thoughts.

Charlotte Mason had twenty main principles, which could be read here https://www.amblesideonline.org/CM/20Principles.html.  The first of these principles was that children were born persons.  We know that children are born in the image of God, they are born fully human and person and do not need to evolve. She believed that God had given children all the intellect they needed to learn and that it wasn’t the teachers job to do a lot of talk and summarizing, rather the parent or teacher was to put the child in direct contact with living ideas.  These living ideas would come from Nature, the Bible, the best books, and the best art.  She mentions that there are three spheres of knowledge, the knowledge of God (religious education), the knowledge of God’s creation(sciences) and the knowledge of man (history and art).

Putting children in contact with living ideas and to trust that they would facilitate their education, leads us  to a few more of her principles.  A motto of Charlotte Mason’s is “education is a life, a discipline, and an atmosphere.”  Education being a life would require a life style of putting a child in contact with beautiful ideas and a variety of them.  Education being a discipline includes the importance of habits and being able to determine between what you want to do and what you ought to do. Lastly, education being an atmosphere, doesn’t mean that we create a room with amazing posters and educational toys, but rather that we use the atmosphere of all things and the opportunities they present to learn from.

The Last point I want to hit on in the intro to her philosophy,   is her referring to  education as a “Science of Relations.”  As adults we know it is natural to make connections in life and things we learn.  We must believe a child is able to do this and leave this to the child as well; it is not a duty of the parent to facilitate these connections.  God is the great educator and all true knowledge is from his  hand.

“We allow no separation to grow up between the intellectual and ‘spiritual’ life of children, but teach them that the Divine Spirit has constant access to their spirits, and is their Continual Helper in all the interests, duties and joys of life.”- Charlotte Mason

Advertisements