Charlotte Mason Principles – Authority and Docility

authority and docility charlotte mason

Charlotte Mason Principles

Authority and Docility

“The principles of Authority on the one hand and Docility on the other are natural, necessary and fundamental.”

This principle is all about children having a teachable heart and the teacher being aware of their authority and not abusing it.

In this principle she talks about the necessity of order in education.

Not only the outward signs of order but also the inward qualities of self government. She does not see this as being a harsh discipline but rather something that brings delight as it allows accomplishment. High ideals to aim for! She encourages natural consequences for the ‘natural laws of conduct.’ She says this can be done by the teacher showing that they also are guided by rules of order and obedience. She challenges us to be self governed and not doing as we please.(I can feel her stinging glance at me for my efforts today!) She says, rightly so, that we are their role models. She wants children to be taught the business of learning, and to begin to set personal goals.

“We may not pose before children, nor pride ourselves on dutiful getting up of knowledge in order to deliver it as emanating from ourselves. There are those who have a right to lecture, those who have devoted a life-time to some one subject about which they have perhaps written their book. Lectures from such persons are, no doubt, as full of insight, imagination and power as are their written works; but we cannot have a score of such lecturers in every school, each to elucidate his own subject, nor, if we could, would it be good for the children. The personality of the teacher would influence them to distraction from the delight in knowledge which is itself a sufficient and compelling force to secure perfect attention, and seemly discipline.”

authority and docility charlotte mason

She implores the teacher to not be the “know it all” of a child’s education but to be more of a facilitator leading the children to great ideas and living books. She wants children to have unprocessed mind food that has not been predigested by the teacher’s interpretation.

Charlotte believed strongly that education was the key to an improved life with great moral standing.

“The maimed existence in which a man goes on from day to day without either nourishing or using his intellect, is causing anxiety to those interested in education, who know that after religion it is our chief concern, is, indeed, the necessary handmaid of religion.”

I found this chapter challenging as I ponder my influence as a teacher but I asked myself:

  • Am I not influencing my children by the type of education I am giving them?
  • Are not the books and spare time all choices that I make?
  • Does God not require that we are the primary influence?

I believe we do have a God given authority when it comes to our children’s upbringing. I need to take it seriously!

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.

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  1. joyfulmum  April 23, 2010

    Yes, it's a very challenging and different way to approaching our children's education isn't it!

  2. Butterfly  April 21, 2010

    I'm fascinated by the way children become who they are, influenced by their family and society, their own will and the Lord. I'm glad to 'hold' my children a little more closely and naturally than society dictates for this young age.

    The last paragraph really sums up what our choices are all about. Interesting things to think about. I can't really articulate what I'm thinking but it's about humility, accountability, love, influence and opportunity.

    Is there a 'thinking deeply' emoticon?


    P.S. I really like the style you've chosen for your updated blog and websites.

  3. Renelle  April 21, 2010

    I find I have to restrain myself sometimes by not giving my children every thought or idea of my own when reading a book, or the answers during maths. The fault all lies with me the impatient mother. I'm finding it is a very conscious act to not overdo it, but to find that just right level of guidence vs giving. I answered yes to all your questions. I love this quote…" education is not the filling of a bucket but the lighting of a fire" WB Yeats


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