When you've been around Charlotte Mason education long enough, you start to find the phrase "Charlotte Mason education" awkward and redundant; there is simply education, the principles and practice and goal of true education, whatever name you put on it. Education is a discipline, an atmosphere, a life.
In Christianity, you start to hear the idea that there is no "Christian life": it's just "life." That can be an unsettling one. Some may protest that it's splitting hairs, playing with words; but it begins to make sense. Christ came not that we might have Christian life, but that we might have life.
One of the most interesting blog posts I read this weekend is "Beyond Minimalism," at Simplicity Relished. Daisy, the blogger there, makes some of those same points. Nobody wants to be a minimalist just so that they can be more of a minimalist, right? Cleaned-out closets are not an end in themselves. In attempting to separate the tool of minimalism from the goal of meaningful living, she says,
"Minimalism doesn’t hold life-giving purpose. It can lead us in a good direction– but somewhere along the way we have to find the actual source of purpose. We need to identify what it is that matters more than the items we clear out of our lives. More than stuff, more than busy-ness, more than useless information, more than meaningless social engagements. And then we have to go live those things."Daisy also has a gorgeously-photographed post about using a variety of fair-trade jewelry on a simple dress. (She says she's building "an accessory arsenal.") Other minimalist writers urge us to curtail accessories, don't have more than one pair of earrings, one scarf, and so on. Is one approach more valid than another? Daisy's sleeveless wool dress might be simple, but it's not cheap; does that make it a more or less minimalist choice than the somewhat-similar navy cotton dress I found recently at the thrift store?
The simplest response is that we're individuals, and we take truths and express them in our own ways. The DHM at The Common Room posted today about Charlotte Mason education (or just "education"), reminding us to "mix it with brains." There are important foundations, key principles, examples and guidelines; but no precise recipe.
We just have to go live it.