Thursday, April 08, 2010

A Month with Charlotte Mason, #9

In our moral as in our intellectual education, we work too entirely upon narrow utilitarian lines: we want the impulse of profounder conceptions.--Charlotte Mason, preface to Ourselves
Rather than talk about how you do every school subject CM style...because you can get a lot of that information on places like the Ambleside Online FAQ page...I am going to pull some quotes from Home Education, and I’d like you to note the most-repeated words and themes, so that you can see how Charlotte Mason's ideas are really interchangeable from subject to subject. Remember that these are from descriptions of lessons for children under nine (the focus of Home Education), so there isn’t a lot here about Latin or other typical subjects for older ones. School Education (Volume 3) and Philosophy of Education (Volume 6) have more about teaching older students.
“Children’s lessons should provide material for their mental growth, should exercise the several powers of their minds, should furnish them with fruitful ideas, and should afford them knowledge, really valuable for its own sake, accurate, and interesting, of the kind that the child may recall as a man with profit and pleasure.”

From page 221, on learning to read: "He has considerable power to attack new words with familiar combinations; what is more, he has achieved; he has courage to attack all ‘learning,’ and has a sense that delightful results are quite within reach. Moreover, he learns to read in a way that affords him some moral training. There is no stumbling, no hesitation from the first, but bright attention and perfect achievement."

From page 254, on arithmetic: "The chief value of arithmetic, like that of the higher mathematics, lies in the training it affords to the reasoning powers, and in the habits of insight, readiness, accuracy, intellectual truthfulness it engenders. There is no one subject in which good teaching effects more, as there is none in which slovenly teaching has more mischievous results….The child perceives what rules he must apply to get the required information. He is interested; the work goes on briskly: the sum is done in no time, and is probably right, because the attention of the child is concentrated on his work…. Carefully graduated teaching and daily mental effort on the child’s part at this early stage may be the means of developing real mathematical power, and will certainly promote the habits of concentration and effort of mind."

From page 267, a quote from Edward Holden's The Sciences: " awaken the imagination; to convey useful knowledge; to open the doors towards wisdom. Its special aim is to stimulate observation and to excite a living and lasting interest in the world that lies about us."

From page 249, on Bible lessons: "But let the imaginations of children be stored with the pictures, their minds nourished upon the words…and they will come to look out upon a wide horizon within which persons and events take shape in their due place and in due proportion."

From page 272, on geography: "The peculiar value of geography lies in its fitness to nourish the mind with ideas, and to furnish the imagination with pictures….[Its educational value] is the developing of power, the furnishing of the mind….the child’s geography lesson should furnish just the sort of information which grown-up people care to possess."

From page 279: [History too] is a subject which should be to the child an inexhaustible storehouse of ideas, should enrich the chambers of his House Beautiful with a thousand tableaux…
A wide horizon, full of persons and events taking open, to awaken, to furnish, to stimulate, to excite, to nourish.

Again I'll post that definition of leisure:

Having the freedom (time, space, opportunity) to discover what makes you fully human.

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