For the few years that I have been studying Charlotte Mason’s methods, I have focused mainly on the techniques in Volume One Home Education. It is a worthy cause to read her material written in the latter part of her life, as you see so much wisdom from the tried and true testing of her philosophy upon real people.
What should I start with? Habits? History? Should I have at least 5 math lessons a week? What about Handicrafts? Miss Mason makes it clear on what we as parents and teachers must focus in regards to our children.
From a letter to the Hon. Mrs. Henrietta Franklin typed by Elsie Kitching:
“1922. What a time you had among the Alpine flowers! I know something of the joy of it, for many years ago before you were born or thought of, I spent some early spring weeks at the Kaltbad (Rigi) with some friends. After forty years I see and smell and luxuriate but I did not see the Soldanella…..Science has done nothing to confirm the “rut” theory in all these years, and Brother Body seems to me much the inferior partner. I think all that I have written is still true but I would emphasize habit and so on less. Child mind – no, because a child has as much mind as the rest of us.”
The mind of a child is the mind of a person. My favorite part of this quote is the statement that she would focus on all those “things” less and more on the children themselves. I’m sure that included the relationships, thoughts, ideas of our little people, shepherding them as they grow into big people. This offers me much grace as I look back on the days in which I said, “What DID we do today??” What we did was grow as a family, meeting each child’s needs as they presented themselves. You can’t always quantify learning, and learning should not be measured by what was checked off a list.
Thanks to the c-mason yahoo group for finding that great quote!