I've been thinking specifically about personal initiative, virtue and good habits, authority, and atmosphere... There is so much to think on and I'm soaking it in and hoping it will make me a better parent and teacher!
In that vein, I thought I'd share some favorite quotes from Charlotte Mason that I've added to my commonplace book over the past few weeks. These words remind me to live out this educational philosophy more intentionally and to ensure that my plans reflect my ideals.
It is our business to know of what parts and passions a child is made up, to discern the dangers that present themselves, and still more the possibilities of free-going in delightful paths. However disappointing, even forbidding, the failings of a child, we may be quite sure that in every case the opposite tendency is there and we must bring the wit to give it play. (Volume 6, page 47)
...it is worth while for the mother to lay herself out to secure that her child never does a lesson into which he does not put his heart. And that is no difficult undertaking; the thing is, to be on the watch from the beginning against the formation of the contrary habit of inattention ... it is not the things we do, but the things we fail to do, which fatigue us ... And this is almost the only cause of failure in the work in the case of the healthy schoolboy or schoolgirl: wandering wits hinder a lesson from being fully taken in at the right moment; that lesson becomes a bugbear, continually wanted henceforth and never there; and the sense of loss tries the young scholar more than would the attentive reception of a dozen such lessons. (Volume 1, pages 146-7)
To excite this "appetency towards something"--towards things lovely, honest, and of good report, is the earliest and most important ministry of the educator. How shall these indefinite ideas which manifest themselves in appetency be imparted? They are not to be given of set purpose, nor taken at set times. They are held in that thought-environment which surrounds the child as an atmosphere, which he breathes as his breath of life; and this atmosphere in which the child inspires his unconscious ideas of right living emanates from his parents. Every look of gentleness and tone of reverence, every word of kindness and act of help, passes into the thought-environment, the very atmosphere which the child breathes; he does not think of these things, may never think of them, but all his life long they excite that "vague appetency towards something" out of which most of his actions spring. Oh, wonderful and dreadful presence of the little child in the midst!
That he should take direction and inspiration from all the casual life about him, should make our poor words and ways the starting-point from which, and in the direction of which, he develops--this is a thought to make the best of us hold our breath. There is no way of escape for parents; they must needs be as "inspirers" to their children, because about them hangs, as its atmosphere about a planet the thought-environment of the child, from which he derives those enduring ideas which express themselves as a life-long 'appetency' towards things sordid or things lovely, things earthly or divine." (from "Parents as Inspirers," The Parents Review)
And as a bonus, a peek into my Charlotte Mason study notebook:
This is a separate notebook from my commonplace where I keep notes as I read, write bits of quotes I want to consider, and pose questions to myself. When I'm finished reading, I try to answer these questions in writing as a kind of narration exercise.
Do you keep notes when you study also? If so, are they separate from your commonplace book, or do you combine the two?
What quotes are inspiring you as you consider next year's course of study?