We all know that our children (and their education) are greatly affected by our attitudes and the climate of our homes. Children soak up their atmosphere, and our attitudes shape them. (That is a scary thought for me. Sometimes my attitude stinks.) After all, God knew how he was putting families together, and He choose the right parents for each child.
“It is not an environment that these want, a set of artificial relations carefully constructed, but an atmosphere which nobody has been at pains to constitute” (96).
Remember, Charlotte was developing her ideas at the same time as Maria Montessori, who believed that a child needed a prepared environment in order to learn. Charlotte disagreed. Instead, she felt that no artificial items should be introduced into a child’s environment. Instead, children should face life as it it, without padded corners or false beauty.
“But due relations must be maintained; the parents are in authority, the children in obedience; and again, the strong may not lay their burdens on the weak; nor must we expect from children that effort of decision, the most fatiguing in our lives, of which the young should generally be relieved” (97).
In spite of Charlotte’s mandate to let children experience real life, she cautions us to not force children to make decisions often. This would free the children from deciding what to do for at least a portion of the day.
“We foresee happy days for children when all teachers know that no other exciting motive whatever is necessary to produce good work in each individual of however big a class than that love of knowledge which is natural to every child” (98).