Monday, May 14, 2018

From the archives: Charlotte Mason yet to come

First posted April 2010, part of the Month with CM series. (Edited somewhat.)

Where does CM advice become the most nitty and gritty? If we want to have the "whole package" as Charlotte Mason described it, but still need to work within our own context and circumstances, what stays and what goes?  How long will Kipling and Kingsley continue to be meaningful? Where does old CM meet new CM, and your CM meet my CM, and become timeless CM, CM without boundaries?

Is it in the general comments, the principles and philosophy, given in her six volumes...which transition into the later parts of those volumes, describing specific work and practices of the PNEU schools? Or the technical details of the Form III Programme #90 for 1921? Is it only in CM's own books, or in the more diverse viewpoints given in the Parent's Review articles? Is it in Eve Anderson's teaching tool DVD's, or in PNEU teacher Mrs. Norton's taped interview with Susan Schaeffer Macaulay? Is it in the array of books by various parents and educators that have attempted to bring CM principles into the 20th and now the 21st centuries?

Is it more meaningful for me to track down Selfe's Work of the Prophets (used in 1921), in hopes that I can either use it as is or learn from it as a comparison...or to read suggestions from thoughtful CMers who have found new books that meet the same needs? How much should I worry if the nature notebook or Book of the Centuries doesn't get off the ground? Why do we recommend a leisurely education, and then realize that, according to the Form III schedule, our twelve-year-old is supposed to be narrating Dumas in French and starting German as well?

Did Charlotte Mason herself succumb to a few late-Victorian educational fads, or was she simply selecting the best of the new ideas that had come in at that time? Is that what we should be doing--pulling the best from our own educational time? Is there anything now worth pulling from?

What do you imagine a CM education might look like for your own great-grandchildren?

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