Should I Discuss The Charlotte Mason Education Manifesto?
An old friend rang me in emergency mode, she had decided to pull her son out of school and she wanted to discuss how I homeschooled. How was I going to explain to her school mindset the richness of homeschooling in two hours?
When she arrived I shared with her the Charlotte Mason method. I must confess our conversation was a random collection of Charlotte Mason’s ideas. I’m sure she left my home overwhelmed and confused.
Today when I look back on that day I think I could have explained it so much better if I had just discussed the basic ideas found in The Charlotte Mason Education Manifesto. I would have disciplined myself to share the basics:
- You can give a balanced education
- Children have an appetite to learn and we can destroy that appetite using too many oral lessons and textbooks.
- Living Books and things should be our resources
- The free use of books in all subjects makes education a delight
- This method is simple, economical, and disciplined.
Charlotte Mason’s manifesto is a practical summary of her ideas and its implementation.
Charlotte Mason Education Manifesto
“Studies serve for Delight, for Ornament, and for Ability.”
Every child has a right of entry to several fields of knowledge.
Every normal child has an appetite for such knowledge.
This appetite or desire for knowledge is a sufficient stimulus for all school work, if the knowledge be fitly given.
There are four means of destroying the desire for knowledge:––
(a) Too many oral lessons, which offer knowledge in a diluted form, and do not leave the child free to deal with it.
(b) Lectures, for which the teacher collects, arranges, and illustrates matter from various sources; these often offer knowledge in too condensed and ready prepared a form.
(c) Text-books compressed and recompressed from the big book of the big man.
(d) The use of emulation and ambition as incentives to learning in place of the adequate desire for, and delight in, knowledge.
Children can be most fitly educated on Things and Books.
i. Natural obstacles for physical contention, climbing, swimming, walking, etc.
ii. Material to work in––wood, leather, clay, etc.
iii. Natural objects in situ––birds, plants, streams, stones, etc,
iv. Objects of art.
v. Scientific apparatus, etc.
The value of this education by Things is receiving wide recognition, but intellectual education to be derived from Books is still for the most part to seek.
Every scholar of six years old and upwards should study with ‘delight’ his own, living, books on every subject in a pretty wide curriculum. children between six and eight must for the most part have their books read to them.
This plan has been tried with happy results for the last twelve years in many home schoolrooms, and some other schools.
By means of the free use of books the mechanical difficulties of education––reading, spelling, composition, etc.––disappear, and studies prove themselves to be ‘for delight, for ornament, and for ability.’
There is reason to believe that these principles are workable in all schools, Elementary and Secondary; that they tend in the working to simplification, economy, and discipline.
This above is a direct quote from The Original Home Schooling Series Volume 3p.214. I’ve bolded some of the text.
And when my friend was ready for more I’d also discuss Charlotte Mason’s twenty principles of education.