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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: November, 2015
Nov 20, 2015

Homeschooling with Charlotte Mason's method is truly a joy when employing her foundational, and unique, use of narration. This episode unpacks the basics of why children make excellent narrators and learn abundantly through building that skill, as well as some basics of how to begin and make use of "telling."

Nov 13, 2015


If you desire to use living books in your children's education, but are not confident of your ability to discern which books are "living" and which are not, this episode contains the practical information you need. Criteria for determining if a book is living are described carefully, examples read, along with ways to identify and eliminate twaddle from your bookshelves.

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"[T]he boy who has not formed the habit of getting nourishment out of his books in school-days does not, afterwards, see the good of reading. He has not acquired, in an intellectual sense, the art of reading, so he cannot be said to have lost it; and he goes through life an imperfect person, with the best and most delightful of his powers latent or maimed." (The Formation of Character, pg. 291)

"I am speaking now of his lesson-books, which are all too apt to be written in a style of insufferable twaddle, probably because they are written by persons who have never chanced to meet a child." (Home Education, pg. 229)

“This sort of weak literature for the children, both in any story and lesson books, is the result of a reactionary process. Not so long ago the current impression was that the children had little understanding, but prodigious memory for facts; dates, numbers, rules, catechisms of knowledge, much information in small parcels, was supposed to be the fitting material for a child's education. We have changed all that, and put into the children's hands lesson-books with pretty pictures and easy talk, almost as good as story-books; but we do not see that, after all, we are but giving the same little pills of knowledge in the form of a weak and copious diluent. Teachers, and even parents, who are careful enough about their children's diet, are so reckless as to the sort of mental aliment offered to them, that I am exceedingly anxious to secure consideration for this question, of the lessons and literature proper for the little people." (Home Education, pgs. 176-77)

"[H]ungry souls clamouring for meat, and we choke them off, not by shutting up schools and colleges, but by offering matter which no living soul can digest. The complaints made by teachers and children of the monotony of the work in our schools is full of pathos and all credit to those teachers who cheer the weary path by entertaining devices. But mind does not live and grow upon entertainment; it requires its solid meals." (Towards a Philosophy of Education, pg. 90)

“They must grow up upon the best. There must never be a period in their lives when they are allowed to read or listen to twaddle or reading-made-easy. There is never a time when they are unequal to worthy thoughts, well put; inspiring tales, well told.” (Parents and Children, pg. 263)

"A book may be long or short, old or new, easy or hard, written by a great man or a lesser man, and yet be the living book which finds its way to the mind of a young reader. The expert is not the person to choose; the children themselves are the experts in this case. A single page will elicit a verdict; but the unhappy thing is, this verdict is not betrayed; it is acted upon in the opening or closing of the door of the mind." (School Education, pgs. 228-229)

"The 'hundred best books for the schoolroom' may be put down on a list, but not by me. I venture to propose one or two principles in the matter of school-books, and shall leave the far more difficult part, the application of those principles, to the reader. (School Education, pg. 177)

"So much for the right books; the right use of them is another matter. The children must enjoy the book." (School Education, pg. 178)

"As for literature--to introduce children to literature is to install them in a very rich and glorious kingdom, to bring a continual holiday to their doors, to lay before them a feast exquisitely served. But they must learn to know literature by being familiar with it from the very first. A child’s intercourse must always be with good books, the best that we can find." (Towards a Philosophy of Education, pg. 51)



 

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, Chapter VIII

School Education, Chapters XVI and XXI



 

Geronimo, Catherine Welch (our "not living" example)

The Story of Geronimo, Jim Kjelgaard

Pinocchio, Carlo Collodi

Little Britches, Ralph Moody

Plutarch's Lives

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, Jean Lee Latham

Principia, Isaac Newton

Of Other Worlds, C.S. Lewis

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver

(Contains affiliate links)



 


The blog post that Emily wrote explaining her "L-I-V-I-N-G" anagram for determining living books:

L-I-V-I-N-G Books

Nov 6, 2015

 


Living books are the heart of a Mason education. Education is a life, and living books are the food the mind requires for its nourishment. Liz, Emily, and Nicole share excerpts from some living books to demonstrate the power of living ideas. They discuss some reasons why living books are the richer road to engaging a child's imagination, inspire and feed their thirst for knowledge, and why textbooks do not.

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"A corollary of the principle that education is the science of relations, is, that no education seems to be worth the name which has not made children at home in the world of books, and so related them, mind to mind, with thinkers who have dealt with knowledge. We reject epitomes, compilations, and their like, and put into children's hands books which, long or short, are living." (School Education, p. 226)

"In literature, we have definite ends in view, both for our own children and for the world through them. We wish the children to grow up to find joy and refreshment in the taste, the flavour of a book. We do not mean by a book any printed matter in a binding, but a work possessing certain literary qualities able to bring that sensible delight to the reader which belongs to a literary word fitly spoken. It is a sad fact that we are losing our joy in literary form. We are in such haste to be instructed by facts or titillated by theories, that we have no leisure to linger over the mere putting of a thought. But this is our error, for words are mighty both to delight and to inspire. If we were not as blind as bats, we should long ago have discovered a truth very fully indicated in the Bible––that that which is once said with perfect fitness can never be said again, and becomes ever thereafter a living power in the world. But in literature, as in art, we require more than mere form. Great ideas are brooding over the chaos of our thought; and it is he who shall say the thing we are all dumbly thinking, who shall be to us as a teacher sent from God." (Parents and Children, pgs. 262-63)

“Again, we have made a rather strange discovery, that the mind refuses to know anything except what reaches it in more or less literary form. It is not surprising that this should be true of children and persons accustomed to a literary atmosphere but that it should be so of ignorant children of the slums points to a curious fact in the behaviour of mind. Persons can ‘get up’ the driest of pulverised text-books and enough mathematics for some public examination; but these attainments do not appear to touch the region of the mind.” (Towards a Philosophy of Education, pg. 256)

“Once more, we know that there is a storehouse of thought wherein we may find all the great ideas that have moved the world. We are above all things anxious to give the child the key to this storehouse. The education of the day, it is said, does not produce reading people. We are determined that the children shall love books, therefore we do not interpose ourselves between the book and the child. We read him his Tanglewood Tales, and when he is a little older his Plutarch, not trying to break up or water down, but leaving the child’s mind to deal with the matter as it can.” (Parents and Children, pg. 232)



 

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 XV and XVI

Towards a Philosophy of Education, Book I, Chapter VII



 

The Silent Storm, Marion Marsh Brown and Ruth Crone

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Rocks, Rivers, and the Changing Earth, Herman and Nina Schneider

A Tree for Peter, Kate Seredy

The White Stag, Kate Seredy

All About the Planet Earth, Patricia Lauber

(Contains affiliate links)

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