“Education is a life, a discipline, an atmosphere.”
~ Charlotte Mason~
In this phrase, Charlotte refers to education as life. Not just our daily habits or routines, not just our home atmosphere, but how we are presenting life and all the amazing, interesting things around us. She says: “all the thought we offer to our children shall be living thought; no mere dry summaries of facts will do” (Vol. 2, p. 277).
Charlotte used methods that presented each subject’s material as living ideas, and this is where the reading, writing, and arithmetic come in, along with all the other school subjects. I LOVE this method. When I first learned of it and started reading about it, I knew this is what I needed for my family. It is such an amazing thing to hear my children telling me that they don’t want to stop the grammar exercises, or watch them re-enacting stories we’ve read, or see the details of their drawn narrations. I know that they are making connections in meaningful, important ways that they will remember forever.
Living books are so much fun. I have personally learned so many things by reading the children’s books with them. I have lists and lists and lists of books I want…I have a strong desire to spread the feast of many living books and ideas before my children and allow them to savor and delight in the wonderful words and ways of thinking. I want my children to experience emotion, to challenge them, and help them stretch to be the very best they can. Living books can help me do those things.
I love our artist and composer studies. My second daughter has a real interest and ear for classical music. We love hearing the wonderful music and seeing the beautiful artwork to enrich our souls and minds. I love Nature Study…to see the beauty in all the things the Lord has created – and to have my children marvel over the miracles we find in nature.
I love studying history, alongside the scriptures. There are amazing treasures we are finding among the scripture stories as we study them in context of the cultures they were written in. It makes me happy and content to find a child at the table drawing a picture of the history lesson we heard that day – after the lessons are over for the day.
I appreciated the thoughts Sonya Shafer of Simply Charlotte Mason expressed here:
“Think about it. If we give our children only the atmosphere in our homes, they
will learn only what we already know, and our focus may turn to events and activities
at the expense of teaching our children how to think and read for instruction
However, if we give them only the discipline of habits, they will have good
character but will be lacking in mental development.
And if we give them only academics, we might very well raise smart delinquents
or, at the very least, burden our children with intellectual exhaustion. All three
components of Charlotte’s three-pronged approach are vital in the education of our
Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life – What an amazing journey this philosophy has lead us on!
To read more about Charlotte Mason and her methods visit: http://simplycharlottemason.com/