The question is not, — how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education — but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him? ~Charlotte Mason
Pondering this quote brings up some excellent questions for education in general, and particuarly for homeschooling families:
- What exactly is the end goal of education?
- Where do you want your child to be in the end?
- Are the methods you are using achieving that?
- Are we allowing our children to grow to their full capacity?
- Or, are we holding them back with our methods?
Its important to stop on a regular basis and reconsider our approach to homeschooling.
Through the years, there have been some very influential people who have taken the time to reconsider the very foundations of education and to offer helpful tips that can guide us along the way. One of those women is Charlotte Mason.
About Charlotte Mason
Charlotte Mason was a British educator who lived during the mid 1800's and devoted her life to improving the quality of education for children. She was an only child, born in Bangor, and educated at home by her parents.
When she was only 16 she lost her mother, and her father died the following year. Left alone, she enrolled in the Home and Colonial Society where she trained to become a teacher and actually earned the First Class Certificate.
For more than 10 years she taught school and it was during this season that she began to develop her vision for a "liberal education for all." Her definition of "liberal" was a generous and broad education that was available for every single child, not only those of the upper class.
“…my object is to show that the chief function of the child–his business in the world during the first six or seven years of his life–is to find out all he can, about whatever comes under his notice, by means of his five senses…” ~Charlotte Mason
Charlotte Mason Approach
Over the years, Charlotte Mason developed an entire education approach. Her method was based on a three-part model of education. She believed Education was an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.
Charlotte defined “Atmosphere,” as the surroundings in which the child grows up. According to her one-third of the child's education was drawn from his learning environment.
She defined “Discipline,” as the practice of good habits. Charlotte said another third of a child's education was comprised of the useful habits that they formed at an early age.
Lastly, Charlotte defined "life" in terms of academics. Charlotte believed it was important to provide children with living thoughts and ideas rather than isolated facts. You may have heard of the term "living books." In contrast to dry, boring textbooks, living books are books that are full of living color and details, that engage the reader, and draw him into the story.
The heart of the Charlotte Mason approach is making learning a part of every day life and encouraging children to discover things for themselves in a way that is fun and meaningful!
History Revealed and the Charlotte Mason Approach
Like Charlotte Mason's approach, the History Revealed World History Curriculum is designed to make learning purposeful, engaging, and enjoyable. Due to these shared goals, combining the Charlotte Mason approach to education with our History Revealed curriculum works quite well!
We asked our friend Catherine Levison to create an explanation for us of how the two could work together. She kindly created a weekly schedule to demonstrate how two can intertwine.
The schedule shows how directly the Charlotte Mason, short lesson approach is incorporated in the History Revealed structure. CM moms ought to love History Revealed!!"
According to Catherine Levison, "Both the Charlotte Mason method and Diana Waring’s approach incorporate chronological order, original eye witness accounts, art, field trips, plays and costume making, student illustrations, time lines, map work and the always important “spring-boarding” to literary books. Both approaches use hands-on learning, avoid boredom and bring history alive. Charlotte Mason parents will immediately recognize compatibility in many elements with which they are already familiar.