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A Delectable Education Charlotte Mason Podcast

Through twice monthly conversations, three moms who have studied the Charlotte Mason method of education and put her ideas into practice in their homes join together to share with one another for the benefit of listeners by giving explanations of Mason's principles and examples of those principles put into practice out of their own teaching experience. These short discussions aim at providing information, support, and encouragement for others by unfolding the myriad aspects.
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A Delectable Education Charlotte Mason Podcast
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Now displaying: October, 2015
Oct 30, 2015


One thing leads to another, it is said, but the powerful interrelation of knowledge and experience Mason identified is the process we must recognize and capitalize on in teaching. She called it the "science of relations" and this episode is an animated discussion that not only defines what Mason meant, but is packed with descriptions of how these three women have observed the process at work in their children's lives. This truly is the exciting aspect of teaching, observed in themselves and their children.

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(11) But we, believing that the normal child has powers of mind which fit him to deal with all knowledge proper to him, give him a full and generous curriculum; taking care only that all knowledge offered him is vital, that is, that facts are not presented without their informing ideas. Out of this conception comes our principle that,--(12) “Education is the Science of Relations”: that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts; so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything. “Those first-born affinities that fit our new existence to existing things.” (Preface to the Home Education Series)

"The mind can know nothing but what it can produce in the form of an answer to a question put by the mind itself." (Parents and Children, pg. 218)

"A small English boy of nine living in Japan, remarked, 'Isn't it fun, Mother, learning all these things? Everything seems to fit into something else.' The boy had not found out the whole secret; everything fitted into something within himself." (Towards a Philosophy of Education, pgs. 156-57)

“Much of what we have learned and experienced in childhood, and later, we cannot reproduce, and yet it has formed the groundwork of after knowledge; later notions and opinions have grown out of what we once learned and knew. That is our sunk capital, of which we enjoy the interest though we are unable to realise.” (Home Education, pg. 154)

“At the same time, the child's capacity for knowledge is very limited; his mind is, in this respect at least, but a little phial with a narrow neck; and, therefore, it behooves the parent or teacher to pour in only of the best.” (Home Education, pg. 175)

“You will see at a glance, with this Captain Idea of establishing relationships as a guide, the unwisdom of choosing or rejecting this or that subject, as being more or less useful or necessary in view of a child's future. We decide, for example, that Tommy, who is eight, need not waste his time over the Latin Grammar. We intend him for commercial or scientific pursuits,––what good will it be to him? But we do not know how much we are shutting out from Tommy's range of thought besides the Latin Grammar. He has to translate, for example,––'Pueri formosos equos vident.' He is a ruminant animal, and has been told something about that strong Roman people whose speech is now brought before him. How their boys catch hold of him! How he gloats over their horses! The Latin Grammar is not mere words to Tommy, or rather Tommy knows, as we have forgotten, that the epithet 'mere' is the very last to apply to words. Of course it is only now and then that a notion catches the small boy, but when it does catch, it works wonders, and does more for his education than years of grind. Let us try, however imperfectly, to make education a science of relationships––in other words, try in one subject or another to let the children work upon living ideas. In this field small efforts are honoured with great rewards, and we perceive that the education we are giving exceeds all that we intended or imagined.” (School Education, pgs. 162-63)

"Children can be most fitly educated on things and books." (School Education, pg. 214)



 

If you would like to study along with us, here are some passages from The Home Education Series and other Parent's Review articles that would be helpful for this episode's topic. You may also read the series online here, or get the free Kindle version from Fisher Academy.

School Education, chapters VII, XVII, and XVIII

Towards a Philosophy, Introduction and chapter I



 

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, Jean Lee Latham

America Moves Forward, Gerald Johnson

Rip van Winkle, Washington Irving

Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin, Marguerite Henry

The Romance of Chemistry, Keith Irwin

Madame How and Lady Why, Charles Kingsley

The Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv

(Contains affiliate links)

Oct 23, 2015


If education is not information, what is it? How do we as teachers feed the whole person's natural desire to know? Emily, Nicole, and Liz discuss the tools to implement in education, the motto Mason took for her teachers: "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life," defining, discussing, and providing real life instances of these instruments put into practice.



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4. These principles are limited by the respect due to the personality of children, which must not be encroached upon whether by the direct use of fear or love, suggestion or influence, or by undue play upon any one natural desire. 5. Therefore, we are limited to three educational instruments--the atmosphere of environment, the discipline of habit, and the presentation of living ideas. The P.N.E.U. Motto is: "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life." (Preface to the Home Education Series)

"The child breathes the atmosphere emanating from his parents; that of the ideas which rule their own lives." (Parents and Children, pg. 247)

"Parents and teachers should know how to make sensible use of a child's circumstances (atmosphere) to forward his sound education." (School Education, pg. 182)
"Attention is hardly even an operation of the mind, but is simply the act by which the whole mental force is applied to the subject in hand...For whatever the natural gifts of the child, it is only in so far as the habit of attention is cultivated in him that he is able to make use of them." (Home Education, pgs. 145-146)

"A single idea may be a possession so precious in itself, so fruitful, that the parent cannot fitly allow the child's selection of ideas to be a matter of chance; his lessons should furnish him with such ideas as shall make for his further education." (Home Education, pg. 174)

"In the early days of a child's life it makes little apparent difference whether we educate with a notion of filling a receptacle, inscribing a tablet, moulding plastic matter, or nourishing a life, but as a child grows we shall perceive that only those ideas which have fed his life, are taken into his being; all the rest is cast away or is, like sawdust in the system, an impediment and an injury." (Towards a Philosophy of Education, pgs. 108-109)

"A time-table, written out fairly, so that the child knows what he has to do and how long each lesson is to last." (Home Education, pg. 142)

"A Child gets through their morning lessons without any sign of weariness." (Home Education, pg. 142)

"It is only as we recognise our limitations that our work becomes effective: when we see definitely what we are to do, what we can do, and what we cannot do, we set to work with confidence and courage; we have an end in view, and we make our way intelligently towards that end, and a way to an end is method. It rests with parents not only to give their children birth into the life of intelligence and moral power, but to sustain the higher life which they have borne." (Parents and Children, pg. 33)



 

If you would like to study along with us, here are some passages from The Home Education Series and other Parent's Review articles that would be helpful for this episode's topic. You may also read the series online here, or get the free Kindle version from Fisher Academy.

Home Education, Part V: Lessons as Instruments of Education

Parents and Children, chapters IV, VII, and XXII

School Education, chapter XIV

Towards a Philosophy of Education, chapter VI

Oct 16, 2015


Charlotte Mason has a unique view of the student and the way in which he learns. This episode focuses on the role of the teacher and how his responsibilities and approach to teaching likewise take on a different perspective in her method. Nicole, Emily and Liz begin with a comparison of traditional teaching qualifications versus Mason's requirements for teachers, concluding with the life-changing help every teacher has at her disposal.

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"We may not despise them, or hinder them ('suffer the little children'), or offend them by our brutish clumsiness of action and want of serious thought; while the one positive precept afforded to us is 'feed' (which should be rendered 'pasture') 'my lambs,' place them in the midst of abundant food." (Towards a Philosophy of Education, pg. 81)

"[Y]ou may bring a horse to the water, but you cannot make him drink. What I complain of is that we do not bring our horse to the water. We give him miserable little text-books, mere compendiums of facts, which he is to learn off and say and produce at an examination; or we give him various knowledge in the form of warm diluents, prepared by his teacher with perhaps some grains of living thought to the gallon. And all the time we have books, books teeming with ideas fresh from the minds of thinkers upon every subject to which we can wish to introduce children." (School Education, pg. 171)

"[T]he great recognition, that God the Holy Spirit is Himself, personally, the Imparter of knowledge, the Instructor of youth, the Inspirer of genius, is a conception so far lost to us that we should think it distinctly irreverent to conceive of the divine teaching as co-operating with ours in a child's arithmetic lesson, for example. But the Florentine mind of the Middle Ages went further than this: it believed, not only that the seven Liberal Arts were fully under the direct outpouring of the Holy Ghost, but that every fruitful idea, every original conception, whether in Euclid, or grammar, or music, was a direct inspiration from the Holy Spirit, without any thought at all as to whether the person so inspired named himself by the name of God, or recognised whence his inspiration came." (Parents and Children, pg. 270-71)

“Let this be the mother's key to the whole of the education of each boy and each girl; not of her children; the Divine Spirit does not work with nouns of multitude, but with each single child. Because He is infinite, the whole world is not too great a school for this indefatigable Teacher, and because He is infinite, He is able to give the whole of his infinite attention for the whole time to each one of his multitudinous pupils. We do not sufficiently rejoice in the wealth that the infinite nature of our God brings to each of us.” (Parents and Children, pg. 273)

"[W]e perceive that the great work of education is to inspire children with vitalising ideas as to every relation of life, every department of knowledge, every subject of thought; and to give deliberate care to the formation of those habits of the good life which are the outcome of vitalising ideas. In this great work we seek and assuredly find the cooperation of the Divine Spirit, whom we recognise, in a sense rather new to modern thought, as the supreme Educator of mankind in things that have been called secular, fully as much as in those that have been called sacred." (Towards a Philosophy of Education, pg. 173)



 

If you would like to study along with us, here are some passages from The Home Education Series and other Parent's Review articles that would be helpful for this episode's topic. You may also read the series online here, or get the free Kindle version from Fisher Academy.

Parents and Children (Volume 2), Chapter 25

School Education (Volume 3), Chapters 1-3

Towards a Philosophy of Education (Volume 6), Chapters 5 and 10, section 2



 

Mornings in Florence, John Ruskin

(Contains affiliate links)



 

The Descent of the Holy Spirit Fresco here and here

Oct 12, 2015


Charlotte Mason's first principle of education is that "Children are born persons." This sounds simple, but Emily, Nicole, and Liz examine the complexity of this view and why it is unique in existing educational models and practices. They each share personal and practical examples of the difference such a concept makes for a child being educated in Mason's method.

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"In a word, we are very tenacious of the dignity and individuality of our children. We recognise steady, regular growth with no transition stage...put the first thing foremost, do not take too much upon ourselves, but leave time and scope for the workings of Nature and of a higher Power than Nature herself." (Parents and Children, pg. 232)

"The question is not,--how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education--but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?" (School Education, pgs. 170-71)


 

If you would like to study along with us, here are some passages from The Home Education Series and other Parent's Review articles that would be helpful for this episode's topic. You may also read the series online here, or get the free Kindle version from Fisher Academy.

Home Education (Volume 1), Part I, Chapters 1-7

School Education (Volume 3), Chapters 4 and 8

Towards a Philosophy of Education (Volume 6), Chapters 2 and 5

Oct 9, 2015


Emily Kiser of Living Books Library describes the purpose for this podcast series. Each of the three members of this discussion group introduces herself and explains how she became a homeschooling mother. Since the goal of this series is to explore the ideas of Charlotte Mason, each mother also shares how she became interested in Mason's educational method. Finally, a discussion of why schooling with a philosophical outlook is crucial ensues.


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"But knowledge is delectable." (Towards a Philosophy of Education, pg. 89)

"We spread an abundant and delicate feast...all sit down to the same feast and each one gets according to his needs and powers." (Towards a Philosophy of Education, pg. 183)

"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." (School Education, pg. 214)

"The reader will say with truth,--'I knew all this before and have always acted more or less on these principles' and I can only point to the unusual results we obtain through adhering not 'more or less' but strictly to the principles and practices I have indicated." (Towards a Philosophy of Education, pg. 19)

 

If you would like to study along with us, here are some passages from The Home Education Series and other Parent's Review articles that would be helpful for this episode's topic. You may also read the series online here, or get the free Kindle version from Fisher Academy.

The Preface to the Home Education Series, found at the beginning of each volume

An Educational Manifesto, (PR Article)

 

For the Children's Sake, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

(Contains affiliate links)

 

www.sabbath-mood-homeschool.com Nicole Williams' blog where you can find ideas for teaching living science as well as information on how to schedule your Charlotte Mason lessons

www.livingbookslibrary.com The blog and website for Living Books Library--lots of living book recommendations, hints on developing a reading culture in your home as well as audio versions of Charlotte Mason's Home Education Series and living books for sale

Picture Study Portfolios A complete resource for Picture Study written by Emily Kiser--instructions on how to teach picture study, an artist biography, eight full-page laminated art prints, and notes on each painting

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