Children Are Individuals
Children are born persons, is the first of Charlotte Mason’s principles that I am pondering as I begin this blogging series. My goal is to see how these ideas line up with modern day educational trends and how they compare with my ideas of the Bible.
I will endeavour to find relevant scriptures and see what they say about the ideas that Charlotte expresses. Please feel free to add extra verses if they come to mind.
Children are born persons — what an obvious statement!
In today’s society this principle is not always understood. Respect for life and even the unborn infant is often thought of as more of a possession than a complete human person. Genetic testing, abortion, even evolution all see the mass of cells that is a person as more of a scientific entity devoid of spirit but as Charlotte puts forth “children are born persons.” This Charlotte Mason principle lines up beautifully with what the Bible says:
Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying:
“ Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
Psalm 139: 1-5
For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Reading this chapter I was reminded that we need to respect the child and realise that they are unique people who need nourishment in their minds as much as adults. We are not to insult them with watered down ideas but rather give them food for their minds that delight and challenge them. We are also to be diligent with the food that we present to them. I think that today we might translate today as each child is an individual and should be taught as such. It’s not cookie cutter education. One size does not fit all.
Charlotte reminds us that the mind of a child is “astonishingly alert” and this mind is the instrument of his education. She challenges us to feed the mind with the food it needs—ideas!
“Our business is to give children the great ideas of life, of religion, history, science; but it is the ideas we must give, clothed upon with facts as they occur, and must leave the child to deal with as he chooses.”
The food of ideas is a core to Charlotte Mason principles and this is a high call for us as homeschool parents as we examine the ideas we are presenting to our children. Charlotte was writing this book to share her ideas and I am now able to take those ideas captive into my mind and mull them over.
The Greatest Idea
“Our business is to give children the great ideas of life, of religion, history, science; but it is the ideas we must give, clothed upon with facts as they occur, and must leave the child to deal with as he chooses.” Volume 6 p.40
I have been pondering this thought overnight and asking myself what are the great ideas of life? Are they just ideas that are well known and accepted by others? Are they ideas that the culture accepts? Is there a way to know what those ideas are? And how can I present them all to my children? What if I don’t know all the ideas?
In my heart I know that the greatest idea of life that I can give my children is eternal life through Jesus Christ. This is the most important idea and I am always mindful of this goal as I present more of the great ideas of life. I do not feel that this is the only idea that should feed their mind but it is certainly the one that I want to make sure they know. God’s great gift of free will means that they will choose how they use that idea but my role as a parent is to show them God’s ideas from a Biblical world view.
Charlotte Mason warns us about presenting ideas that are inane and twaddle.
I believe that we also need to be warned about ideas that oppose God—ideas that erode faith. So should we stick to ideas only from the Bible. Should we make sure everything that is presented before our children, only represents the idea of God from a Biblical perspective? This is a point that we need to think through! My answer is no! We should not limit ourselves to only Christian material but (a BIG BUT) when we choose to present material to our children that is not specifically Christian we should show them what God thinks about that idea.
Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive.” 1 Corinthians 10:23
My closing scripture is Philippians 4:8;
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Professional Development Resource for Homeschool Teachers
Inspired by Charlotte Mason is for you the home educator. You as the teacher need professional development and this ebook will help you teach. It’s not about resources; it’s the reasons behind teaching the Charlotte Mason way.
Inspired by Charlotte Mason will familiarise you with Charlotte Mason the educator and her core beliefs so you can understand how to implement her ideas and make them suit your homeschool.