Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quote: Towards a Philosophy of Education

Charlotte Mason in Towards A Philosophy Of Education, Chapter 7:
That children like feeble and tedious oral lessons, feeble and tedious story books, does not at all prove that these are wholesome food; they like lollipops but cannot live upon them; yet there is a serious attempt in certain schools to supply the intellectual, moral, and religious needs of children by appropriate 'sweetmeats.'
My own children have only been homeschooled, so I don't have a lot of experience with what the schools are teaching, but I do know that my youngest sister (who is currently in ninth grade) has come home with some shocking books as assigned reading. The theory seems to be that they must provide something entertaining to entice the children to read. I have nothing against being entertained as we read per se, but our primary goal in education must be to educate. Sometimes, we are educating our souls and hearts to learn to be engrossed in that which is not entertaining. Sometimes, we are training our souls to be entertained by that which is wholesome.

Charlotte Mason quotes A. Paterson's Across the Bridges:
The teacher ready to use the powers that his training and experience have given him works too hard while the boy's share in the struggle is too light. It is possible to make education too easy for children and to rob learning of mental discipline which often wearies but in the end produces concentration and the capacity to work alone...He is rarely left to himself with the book in his hands, forced to concentrate all his mind on the dull words before him with no one at hand to explain or make the memory work easier by little tricks of repetition and association...

Later in chapter 7, Charlotte Mason says:
Their implicit contention is, given a well-educated man with cultivated imagination, trained judgment, wide interests, and he is prepared to master the intricacies of any profession; while he knows at the same time how to make use of himself, of the powers with which nature and education have endowed him for his own happiness; the delightful employment of his leisure; for the increased happiness of his neighbours and the well-being of the community; that is, such a man is able, not only to earn his living, but to live. (emphasis the author's)
Again, exactly! It is our intention to educate our children in such a way as to prepare them adequately for success in competitive colleges and even graduate programs, but our goal is to educate them so they are eager and able to seek out their own growth in knowledge, skills and wisdom, regardless of their career.

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