Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Charlotte Mason reading has begun!

I decided to get started on the CM reading yesterday, starting with Home Education by Charlotte Mason herself and "More Charlotte Mason Education" by Catherine Levison. I thought I'd share here comments, observations and comparisons.

I've only made it through the many prefaces of Home Education. Some of what I took note of:

*"the child is a person with all the possibilities and powers included in personality"
-this isn't really any different from Montessori; the idea of respecting the child as his/her own person, with his/her own personality, interests, abilities, etc.

*"that Education is the Science of Relations... as showing that the object of education is to put a child in touch with as much as may be of the life of Nature and of thought"
-this sounds very much like Maria Montessori's Cosmic Education; having children be connected with the world, thinkers, etc. To see the interconnectedness.

*"Add to this one or two keys to self-knowledge, and the educated youth goes forth with some idea of self-management, with some pursuits, and many vital interests."

Then there is the list of principles (there are only 18, whereas Ambleside Online lists 20 hm). Some in particular that I liked or noted:

*"4. These principles are limited by the respect due to the personality of children, which must not be encroached upon, whether by fear or love, suggestion or influence, or undue play upon any one natural desire."
-I really like this and think it fits so superbly well with Montessori, Choice Theory, etc. Since principle 3 had to do with authority and obedience, I think it's safe to say she is saying it is not our place to impose our *selves* onto children and who they are as individual people. It is also not our place to use fear to control children, threats, withdrawal or promise of love, etc., as part of our authority.

*The three "educational instruments":
  1. atmosphere of environment
  2. discipline of habit
  3. presentation of living ideas
Principle 6 is all about Atmosphere of Environment where she states:
By saying, EDUCATION IS AN ATMOSPHERE, it is not meant that a child should be isolated in what may be called a 'child environment,' especially adapted and prepared; but that we take into account the educational value of his natural home atmosphere, both as regards persons and things, and should let him live freely among his proper conditions. It stultifies a child to bring down the world to the 'child's' level.

I think it's safe to say she didn't like the Montessori Method much. ;) lol. Btw, "stultifies" has as definitions "cripples", "renders useless". I think the Montessori Method has proved that making the environment more child-friendly does not in any way cripple a child! Of course, there is a huge difference between this volume and the Montessori approach in that this volume assumes a child will be at home, in a loving atmosphere with a mother at home. The Montessori method started out in a large room for children whose mothers were working and they could not stay at home. One's home shouldn't be completely aimed at a child, with the intention of "isolating" him to a child-sized environment, but I do think providing certain child-friendly things can definitely help!

This principle actually has me thinking of something. Many Montessori homeschoolers try to have a separate room set up for "school time" and that's where they go for their school hours. This may be more in line with what Charlotte Mason is referring to in terms of isolating a child to a child environment. People often ask on lists, "How have you set up your Montessori classroom/environment?", to which I respond something along the lines of, "My whole house is our Montessori environment." There's no need to isolate a child to a specific area of the home. It definitely creates a different atmosphere and feeling to the education! (Of course, some people find it really helps their homeschooling to do that; so be it! :) )

That's all I can write for now. I'm not even half done writing about my notes. I'm going to have to pick and choose or I could end up spending more time blogging about my reading than in reading. ;)

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