Have you met Charlotte Mason? She was a remarkable British woman who was far ahead of our time when it comes to educating our children. She was born in 1842 in England, but was orphaned at the age of 16 when both of her parents passed away. It was at this time that she came to truly love children while living with different families to help them out in their homes so as to have a place to live. So at 18, she decided to join a teacher’s training college. After a year of training, due to financial need, and her wonderful connection with children, she was offered an official teaching position there.
Miss Mason was given a God-given gift when teaching her pupils. Her belief was this…“Children are born persons.” She treated ALL persons, no matter what age, race or class they were, with kindness, politeness and respect. Charlotte frequently said, “Always remember that peoplematter more than things. Don’t say anything that will leave a sting.”
Her greatest desire was to teach the “whole child,” and not to just pour information in to them as though they were robots who were to spew back out what had been poured in to them. Her quote has become one that is well known amongst many homeschooling families now-a-days, and that is, “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, and a Life”
By “Atmosphere,” she meant the surroundings in which the child grows up. Is your home an organized, peaceful place for your children to enjoy and be content in? Where they have freedom to go outside and enjoy the fresh air? Or is your home cluttered, chaotic, and lacking peace so that your children are less than thrilled to come home? If this is the case, what can you do to change it?
As to “Discipline,” Charlotte meant the discipline of good habits, and especially habits of character. Good habits are not acquired simply by making good resolves, though the thought must precede the action. She believed that parents should make this a high priority while their children are young, one habit at a time, and to continue to work on as they grow older.
Lastly, “Life,” is the third area she speaks of, applies to academics with living thoughts and ideas, not just dry facts.
As a final thought…“We hold that all education is divine, that every good gift of knowledge and insight comes from above, that the Lord the Holy Spirit is the supreme of mankind, and the culmination of all education…is that personal knowledge of, and intimacy with God in which our being finds its fullest perfection.” (Charlotte Mason)
Kelly Benedict is a 24 year homeschooling veteran and mother of 9. She and her husband are awaiting the birth of their 14th grand-baby, all under the age of 10. She and her family, only 4 of whom are still in the nest, live in a tiny country town in Iowa. She writes lesson plans for TOS, and specializes in Charlotte Mason’s theories and philosophies after a year of college through True North, and using CM’s methods over the years.