May 6, 2007

Child Raising

"Be sure that your children each day have:
  • Something or someone to love
  • Something [worthwhile] to do
  • Something to think about"
That's a quote from a book I'm reading called A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola. She expands on each of these.

Something or someone to love
can be a family member, a friend or even a pet. "There are opportunities for love in every home. there also many ways to provide services (labors of love) to others if you look for them."

Something to do: "Amusing oneself with idle pastimes all day is not really doing anything. A little amusement is fine, but boredom will be transformed into real interest when your children are given meaningful tasks of recreation or of service."

Something to think about: "Thinking is quite impossible without something to think about. It is enjoying other people's ideas and thoughts and jokes . . . noticing beauty in music and pictures. . . enjoying country sights and sounds, birds and flowers. [. . .] ideas to grow on are present in books--real "living" books. And it is we as parents who are responsible for giving our children a taste of the finest, so that they will acquire a taste for the best our civilization has to offer. The power of finding joy and refreshment in reading is an incredible resource!"

Charlotte Mason was an English turn of the century (19th turning to 20th century that is) educator whose ideas are very influential in parts of the homeschooling community. (Click her name in the preceding sentence to read more about her on Wikipedia.) I appreciate her view of the liberal arts as central to quality education. I also like that she advocated "living books:"
Probably the best known of Charlotte's methods is her use of living books instead of dry, factual textbooks. Living books are usually written by one person who has a passion for the subject and writes in conversational or narrative style. The size of the book does not matter nearly as much as whether it is "alive" and engaging. Textbooks are allowed if they meet that criterion. "Twaddle" refers to books or information that is dumbed down and insults the child's intelligence. Living books should be used with as many subjects as possible. source
A good next step if the Wikipedia article sparks your interest is Simply Charlotte Mason.

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