When we understand what motivated their educational efforts, we will see that there is a sharp difference between the historical, classical approach to education and our modern one. (p. 18)Therefore, we should seek not only their method (how) but also their purpose (why). So next one must ask, what was the purpose for classical education?
Both Plato and Aristotle, who give us the oldest writings on education that we have, linked knowledge to action or behavior. It was their desire to teach children not only to know what was right, but to love what was good, true and beautiful so that their conduct would reflect their wise understanding. (p. 18)
Charlotte Mason was familiar with the thinking of both Aristotle and Plato, and reiterates their idea as part of her own philosophy. (p. 19)
The classical educators did not make such a distinction. All areas of education were brought into service for this single goal - to teach children to think and act rightly. (p.19)
What the educators of history have to tell us is that education is about developing a vision of goodness and virtue, and then - most importantly - bringing that knowledge to bear on actual conduct. Right thinking is an important step toward that end, but knowledge alone without conscience or virtue was never an object. (p. 20)The development of intellect was meant to serve in formation of character.
We learn to know in order that we many know how to act rightly, not merely to take tests...The classical education of history, as well as Charlotte Mason, consistently link intellectual and moral development. (p.21)
[Charlotte] "brings a distinctly Christian understanding to what it means to make virtue or character the aim of education." (p.22)On the other hand, one could argue that right thinking does not always lead to right action. However, Glass states, "it was the guiding motivation for the classical educators." After reading Chapter Three of Consider This, I'm chewing on the assertion that classical educators sought virtue as their guiding motivation. That they did not separate character training from academics. and that they brought all areas of education into service. Therefore, I am under the assumption that if I view my children as born persons then my desire to educate should not be separated from their moral development.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9 KJV)
With the exception of the book choices for history for the lower years, Charlotte Mason's history books are textbooks, but of another kind. In the end, it seems that the emphasis is on what the book offers over what category we place it. If we are preparing the readings and providing the student with a book that promotes interest and allows for narration, then we are meeting more of CM's educational principles than perhaps with other book choices.We need not be afraid of textbooks, but rather diligent in our search for just the right textbook.
It's lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky, up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made, or only just happened - Jim he allowed they was make but I allowed they happened; I judged it would have took too long to make so many. Jim said the moon could a laid them; well, that looked kind of reasonable, so I didn't say nothing against it, because I've seen a frog lay most as many, so of course it could be done. We used to watch the stars that fell, too, and see them streak down. Jim allowed they'd got spoiled and was hove out of the nest. (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Ch 19)
But the worst of imagining things is that the time comes when you have to stop and that hurts. (Anne of Greene Gables by L.M. Montgomery, Ch 4)
Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I'll tell you what I'd do. I'd go out into a great big field all alone or into the deep, deep woods, and I'd look up into the sky - up - up - up - into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness and then I'd just feel a prayer. (Anne of Greene Gables by L.M. Montgomery, Ch 7)
No educational philosophy can be consistent or valid unless it is underpinned by a just and comprehensive view of man. (p. 12)I immediately thought of Charlotte Mason's Principles One and Two:
If you believe that a child is born "bad," and no education will change his nature, you might very well leave him alone to reap the consequences as they come, and the sooner he is out of the way the better.. If a child is born "good," that good nature may be riled upon, and no special effort to inculcate good principles or character is particularly necessary....
In other words, if you assume that character (whether good or bad) is "born" into children, then formation of character and virtue will not play a vital role in your educational program. (p. 15-16)Charlotte believed quite the contrary. She felt that both good and bad were possible. Therefore, she taught to nurture the good and to help the child see and hopefully correct their bad character. I believe, as did Charlotte, that children are complete and whole persons at birth. Their souls are formed at the time of conception and their minds are brought to fruition in the womb. This means that all possibilities are present and possible from day one. Glass sums up by stating,
...educators throughout history have made wisdom and virtue a primary goal for education, and Charlotte Mason shared their vision. (p. 16)As a mother, I know best each of my child's strengths and weaknesses. Because I love and value them as born persons, I am their best teacher. Now, this does not mean that I am the fountain head of all knowledge. It simply means that it is my job to find the best possible resources to strengthen their good possibilities, build character, and nourish each of my children's minds. My view of man definitely affects the way I choose to educate. I want stories with good morals and virtuous characters to lay down a model before my children. I am of the mind that if we surround ourselves with truth, beauty, and goodness, then we will become true, beautiful, and good.
'All right, then, I'll go to hell' - and tore it up.
It was awful thoughts, and awful words, but they was said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming. I shoved the whole thing out of my head and said I would take up wickedness again, which was in my line, begin brung up to it, and that other warn't. And for a starter, I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again; and if I could think up anything worse, I would do that too; because as long as I was in, and in for good, I might as well go the whole hog. (Chapter 31 - Huck Finn)Here we see Huck thinking it was in his line and that he was "brung up" or born wicked so he may as well play the part. There are other additional references to this type of thinking throughout the story.
Standing on this pulpit on February 15, 1546, Luther closed his final sermon with the words, "....I am too weak, so we want to leave it at that." Three days later, he passed away. For centuries pilgrims have traveled to stand before this pulpit, a monument of Protestantism in St. Andrew's Church in Eisleben.
During recent repair work a chalk inscription came to light, revealing the date of the pulpit's construction: 1518. It can now be identified as one of the first pulpits installed during the time when Luther elevated the role of sermons in church services...Being a lover of history, standing near these iconic items about and around 500 years old was so fascinating and almost surreal. We read about these historic events that seem so far away, but the realization of it is the effect that they have on us in the here and now.