Sunday, August 26, 2012

When Children Love to Learn: Final Thoughts

I agree with you, Angela, that those first few chapters on the philosophies underlying a Charlotte Mason education were the most useful part of the book for me at this stage.  There were some key points in the subject-specific sections that are helping me to plan and execute this year, but I the discussion of the four pillars of education and the child as a person have encouraged me be more mindful in our homeschooling and to be aware of the reasons that we're doing what we're doing.  I'm trying to remember to not just check boxes off, but rather to approach my teaching thoughtfully, with Charlotte Mason's principles in mind, as I make academic decisions and as I deal with the children on a daily basis.

The last couple chapters of this book are geared toward a school environment and less relevant for our purposes.  But one of my favorite take-aways from this book was the section in An Applied Philosophy that warned against "systems of education":
"How can these principles be consistently applied as envisioned by Charlotte Mason in the classroom each day?  The daily work of teaching and learning is built upon these foundational principles that are expressed through a curriculum ... As educators, we are tempted to stray from these foundational principles by looking for solutions that would constitute a solid education.  And we most often look to the curriculum for this answer.  Thus the curriculum or program, rather than the principles, takes on a governing role, defining the relationships that encompass the classroom ... The right curriculum does not constitute a proper education.  Charlotte Mason explicitly stated this in her books as she referred to learning as a relationship.  This learning takes on manifold relationships--with self, others, God, authority, and the world.  I think it is important to reiterate here that the curriculum is the means to the end--knowledge.  It is not the end in itself.  Many educators bring students into relationships with great works.  Yet if the relationships as previously stated are not part of the learning process, the curriculum becomes the end.  Charlotte Mason saw education not merely as information and the manipulation of facts and opinions, but rather the development of the whole person." (211)
The curriculum is second to the principles.  The curriculum helps us to accomplish our goals, to grow the relationships, but it is not the goal in itself; the goal is the true and whole education of the child. 

I'm hoping to post a bit soon about our first-grade plans; we're already more than half way through our first term here, thanks to our early start!

1 comment:

  1. Celeste,

    This is a favorite section of mine, also. It's why I am always directing people back to the philosophy when the going gets rough - that's where the solutions are found.

    From joy to joy,