“Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.”
~ Charlotte Mason ~
“Education is a discipline – that is, the discipline of the good habits in which the child is trained. Education is a life, nourished upon ideas; and education is an atmosphere – that is, the child breathes the atmosphere emanating from his parents; that of the ideas which rule their own lives.” (vol. 2, p. 247)
Charlotte Mason (1842- 1923) was an educator in England who, through her life’s work, observation, study and practical application, created an innovative teaching style that advocated giving children a large variety of experiences and letting children make their own connections to the world around them. In this way, they are learning – not through dry books and spoon-fed teacher knowledge – but in their own ways with quality literature and living books, nature study, and practical life experiences.
This approach addresses the child as a whole person– not just a puppet to “educate”, a show piece to display perfect behavior, or a thing to be molded into an exact copy of ourselves. Sonya Shafer shares her wisdom and experience of the three-prong approach –
“Now those three words are quite a bit different from the other three words people will commonly give you when talking about education. Most people equate education with the three R’s: reading, writing, and ’rithmetic. But Charlotte had a much broader scope of all that contributes to a child’s education. You see, education is not just What do I need to know to pass the test? Education, according to Webster, involves training by both formal instruction and supervised practice; it includes all that we do to help our children develop mentally, morally, and aesthetically; it entails our persuading our children to feel, believe, or act in a desired way. This all-around picture is what Charlotte had in mind when she said that education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.” (Education Is… a simplycharlottemason.com free ebook)
So this is what I am getting out of this philosophy regarding “my atmosphere”:
The atmosphere of our homes reflect what we really are: how we think, how we act, how we really believe, what we are trying to become (or not!), and so our children are soaking that up like a napkin soaks up grease in a pan.
The atmosphere of our homes involves what we choose to read…what we choose to look at on the computer and the television…what we choose to hang on our walls…what books and toys we surround ourselves and our children with.
The atmosphere of our homes should teach respect: in our voice tones and how we treat each other. It involves respect for our children. It involves respect for our belongings…are we complete slobs, picky perfectionists, or do we teach cleanliness and tidiness in a manner that invites people to be comfortable.
The atmosphere of our homes reflects our feelings…are we stressed or angry, tired, or depressed? Are we happy…calm…content…joyful in our attitudes? My oldest daughter is a napkin soaking up my emotions. It is scary sometimes to realize how much she can take to heart and worry over – even when it was a passing comment or moment.
My home & life decisions are easier when I consider these ideas. School is easier to handle and enjoy. I enjoy having the challenge of evaluating the true worth of my “books and things” – and using Elder Oaks’ good, better, and best method. The more I work at moderating my tone the happier we all are. I love having a tidy house that allows me to do the things I want to do, instead of always being a prisoner of my surroundings (case in point…who wants to cook when all the dishes are dirty??? Uggh) I enjoy the peace that pervades our home when we are careful what we watch and read.
Having these things in place really does help my soul to rejoice!