Of all of the homeschool philosophies, the Charlotte Mason's ideas resonate with me the most. It wasn't always that way. when I first heard about Charlotte, I got the impression that her philosophy was all about running around in nature. Now I am all for running around in nature, but I knew there was more to education than that. Later I read Catherine Levison's books' A Charlotte Mason Education and More Charlotte Mason Education and I thought, "O.K., sure, great." Some of the ideas I bought into and others I didn't. Then I read Karen Andreola's A Charlotte Mason Companion and I fell in love. Since then when I read others' interpretations of Charlotte's thoughts, I find myself nodding in aggreement and occasionally shouting, "Amen, sistah!"
But what about Charlotte's own words? I find myself scanning past them as a bunch of meaningless words. And I don't think it is the Victorian language. I consider myself to be intelligent and am a huge fan of Shakespeare and Dickens. Does it make me less of a Charlotte Mason follower to not have any desire to read her Original Series? I have even considered reading the Modern English version on Ambleside.com, but I just can't get into it.
I am now reading Charlotte Mason Study Guide which is available as an e-book on Penny Gardner's website for only $5. Once again I find myself skimming past Charlotte's quotes, but this time as I skimmed a few quotes stood out to me and reminded me why I love this philosophy even though I am not motivated to read Charlotte's works in their entirety. I share them with you now. Feel free to skim past them. I won't think of you as a less of a CM follower, I promise.
"The mind feeds on ideas, and therefore children should have a generous curriculum."
"The getting of knowledge and the getting of delight in knowledge are the ends of a child's education"
"The mind...is nourished upon ideas and absorbs fact only as these are connected with the living ideas upon which they hag."
"All great ideas that have moved the world are in books. Don't get between the book and the child. Don't water it down; let the child deal with the matter."
"You may bring your horse to the water, but you can't make him drink; and you may present ideas of the fittest to the mind of the child; but you do not know in the least which he will take, and which he will reject....Our part is to see that his educational plat is constantly replenished with fit and inspiring ideas, and then we must needs leave it to the child's own appetite to take which he will have, and as much as he requires."
“The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children.”
"Law Ensures Liberty.––The children who are trained to perfect obedience may be trusted with a good deal of liberty: they receive a few directions which they know they must not disobey; and for the rest, they are left to learn how to direct their own actions, even at the cost of some small mishaps; and are not pestered with a perpetual fire of 'Do this' and 'Don't do that!'"
"We cannot give a better training in right reasoning than by letting children work out the arguments in favor of this or that conclusion."
"The mother's task in dealing with her growing daughter is one of extreme delicacy. It is only as her daughter's ally and confidante she can be of use to her now. She will keep herself in the background, declining to take the task of self-direction out of her daughter's hands. She will watch for opportunities to give word or look of encouragement to every growing grace. She will deal with failings with a gentle hand.. On discovering such fault, the mother will not cover her daughter with shame; the distress she feels she will show, but so that the girl perceives her mother is sharing her sorrow, and sorrowing for her sake... It is before her own conscience she must stand or fall now."
“The fatal mistake is in the notion that he must learn 'outlines,' of the whole history...of the world. Let him, on the contrary, linger pleasantly over the history of a single man, a short period, until he thinks the thoughts of that man, is at home in the ways of that period. Though he is reading and thinking of the life time of a single man, he is really getting intimately acquainted with the history of a whole nation for a whole age.”
"Where science does not teach a child to wonder and admire, it has perhaps no educational value."
Science should "reveal something of the beauty and power of the world."
“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?"