Monday, April 6, 2009

Charlotte Mason - Childrearing & God's Divine Plan

I am doing a weekly study of the Charlotte Mason Home Schooling Series in order to keep me reading through Charlotte Mason's works and so that I can truly implement her powerful philosophies of education in my home school. If you are following along or wish to share about how you are implementing one of the Charlotte Mason principles covered during this week, just leave me a comment or link to your blog entry with Mr. Linky (at the bottom).

Here is this week's summary:

Charlotte Mason Original Homeschooling Series - Volume 1

Home Education - Training and educating children under nine

Part 1 - Some Preliminary Considerations

Charlotte points out that as time went on, women would all the more work, even if not necessitated by finances, just to feel the honor of doing something "useful". But she reminds us that instructing our children in the home is the most important job in society - it determines what kind of man or woman they will become.

Love is the first way we educate our children.

Studying about the rearing and education of our children is of utmost importance so that we can be effective in our profession.

The training and education of children follows certain laws. If we follow those laws we will raise mature children. If we don't follow those laws, then serious physical and mental shortcomings are inevitible. In order to get good results, we need to learn about the laws which govern our children's development.

How childrearing usually goes: Parents have lofty ideals. Yet they are excited to see the child's developing personality, but as the child becomes more independent, they leave the child alone.

In the Divine plan the family is the unit of the nation, not the individual, but the family.

Charlotte goes on to talk about old-school schooling where pain was inflicted for every offense, children were to be tough, children were to do the bidding of their elders. Then, she talks about the "new" style of education where adults give way to children and the world is made for children. In Charlotte's view both these styles of education were wrong.

The child is being educated by everything he does - eating, drinking, playing, reading, working, etc. - but he is unaware of it.

Charlotte Mason is trying to establish and explain the natural law of education and her own method of education, but she warns us that good methods turn into mere systems all too easily. Educational systems work.  A system teaches you to follow certain rules until the habit of doing certain things is full established. Yet there are limitations of systems. Rather, the whole of a child's existence should be used to educate the child.

Three Biblical Commandments

The Bible give us three commandments when it comes to our interactions with children. Do not OFFEND the child. Do not DESPISE the child. Do not HINDER the child. These commandments may be negatives, but if it becomes settled within us what me MAY NOT DO, it is much easier to see what me MUST DO. So, therefore studying and cementing God's commands about children, is vitally important.


OFFEND - to a stumbling block into front of someone, to trip someone up

Here are some ways we put up stumbling blocks in our children's lives:

Charlotte talks about how children are born innocent and law abiding. She tells us that it is by making light of little tresspasses (by letting little bad habits go on) that children become resistant.

Our example to our children is very important as well: "if his mother does what she chooses, of course he will do what he chooses, if he can; and henceforward the child's life becomes an endless struggle to get his own way."

She says if the child feels the parent is law-compelled, then he will be meek. Most of the time, reasoning with a child simply does not work and undermines parental dignity.

Charlotte points out that sacrificing our children's health through unwholesome food or other unwholesome habit (lack of exercise, too much TV, too many video games come to mind), is putting a stumbling block in our child's education as well. These things make our children dumb in a way that they will not be able to fully overcome later in life.

Another way to put a stumbling block in your child's life, is for a child to feel unloved. Make sure to take time each child now. Don't wait till they grow older, it may be too late.


"However much we may delight in them, we grown-up people have far too low an opinion of children."

Watch out who spends time with your children. If they have caregivers with negative attributes - even if they seem unrelated to the care they give your children, know that your child is likely to pick up on those attributes.

"To laugh at ugly tempers and let them pass because the child is small, is to sow the wind." Not dealing with each issue at the first offense is a way of despising our children.


Hindering is keeping children from coming to Him. Don't teach them that the things of God are more for adults or parents. Teach them God's way from their youth.

Other Considerations

Our brain needs exercise, rest, and nutrition to work properly.

Our brain needs "the daily habit of appropriate moral and mental work." Just as important as work is rest. We should alternate the work and the rest of our brain. We should pay careful attention to when we plan activities. For instance, in the afternoon after lunch, might be a better time for outdoor time. Also, once a child has done math and they are getting distracted, you could switch to a subject like history, which engages imagination (a different part of the brain).

Having dinner together and including the children in the conversation is a great way for parents to train children in manners and morals, and to encourage bonding of the family.

Charlotte goes on quite a while about the importance of air to the blood of the child. We can relate. Isn't a good dose of country air, no matter the weather, invigorating?

She mentions that sunshine is important too. We now know that Vitamin D produced in our bodies when we've had real sunlight, plus the anti-depressant effects of the light itself, is vital for our health.

Charlotte mentions that we should be allowed to sweat well and that a daily bath with some scrubbing opens up pores and gets more impurities out. Has anyone else heard of this being an issue in current day literature? Chrlotte encourages parents to dress their children in breathable clothing like cotton and wool for this reason.

Charlotte goes on to talk about religious people. She notes how often those that don't have religion, have better morals. She says this is because they are following God's natural laws and whether we recognize our Lawgiver or not, following His laws produces good results. She points out that those that study and recieve scripture observe the MOST IMPORTANT law of all. But we should have good habit and receive Christ's sacrifice both.

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