I am continuing with the online book study on Charlotte Mason’s Home Education. This is the second post in the blog series, which is a study guide to pair with Home Education. If your interested in joining in the book study, join the holistic homeschooling group on face book and jump right in.
I am using study guide questions that give me pause and inspire me to think further. I obtain them from the appendix section of Home Education. I will use the study guide question for the heading, answer them, and then add in my own thoughts.
Distinguish between ‘offending’ and ‘despising’ children.
“We offend them, when we do by them that which we ought not to have done; we despise them, when we leave undone those things which, for their sakes, when we ought to have done.”
To paraphrase what Ms. Mason stated, we offend our children when we do something that we shouldn’t have done to them. We despise them when we neglect to care for their needs. On page 17, Ms. Mason defines despise as “to have a low opinion of, to undervalue.”
Trace the steps by which a mother’s ‘no’ comes to be disregarded
- Child puts hand into sugar bowl and the mother calls him “naughty.”
- The child looks to the mother to see if she really means this, he searches her face for an answer.
- The mother finds this funny, she cannot hold back her laughter and she allows the child to have a sugar cube.
- The mother has now shown the child that her word does not stand.
Why must parents themselves be law compelled?
”Let the child perceive that his parents are law compelled as well as he, that they simply cannot allow him to do the things which have been forbidden, and he submits with the sweet meekness which belongs to his age.” -Charlotte Mason
Children need to observe that parents have rules that they have to submit to. Laws apply to everyone, this is fair and just. When children are aware that parents are subject to laws and they observe their parents adhering to them, it is this good example that sets a path for the children to follow in.
Show that parents may offend children by disregarding the laws of health.
“She may cast a stumbling block in the way of his physical life by giving him any unwholesome food, letting him sleep and live in ill-ventilated rooms, by disregarding any or every other simple laws of health, ignorance of which is hardly to be excused in the face of the pains taken by scientific men to bring this necessary knowledge within the reach of every one.”-Charlotte Mason
Think of the times that Charlotte Mason was living and recall that children most likely had lantern lighted rooms, heated by coal and wood fires. Ventilation could’ve been inadequate, which is why Ms. Mason pointed this out. To apply this to modern times, are we routinely replacing the air filter on our furnace and is the heating ducts properly cleaned on a regularly basis?
Unwholesome foods is easy to apply today. The average American diet is riddled with unhealthy eating habits. Are we ensuring that our children are offered a balanced diet, to comply with providing them wholesome foods? If not, by Ms. Mason’s standards we may be offending our children by disregarding the laws of health.
By disregarding the laws of intellectual life.
”The way the child’s intellectual life may be wrecked at its outset by a round of dreary, dawdling lessons in which definite progress is the last thing made or expected, and which, so far from educating in any true sense, stultify his wits in a way he never gets over.” -Charlotte Mason
This goes back to using a system to educate a child. Typically a system includes dawdling lessons that are dreary where progress is not the goal but achieving a specific standard is its purpose. The individuality of the child is molded into conformity. In this way parents may offend the intellectual life of their child.
Of The Moral Life
Ms. Mason brings attention to how few mothers create an atmosphere of an affectionate home. The lack of nurturing affection to any one child demonstrates to that child how to love, if the mother does not practice it herself then how does this mother’s child demonstrate loving affection towards others? When a mother is cold or indifferent towards their child, then the mother-child bond is weakened.
Explain how children may be despised in the choice of a nurse.
A mother needs to be selective of her nursemaid. If she is not careful, she may choose an ignorant nursemaid. She may instruct him, “If you’ll be a good boy, I won’t tell.” A child may know better but it is easier for a child to mimic a bad behavior then a good one. Should a nursemaid demonstrate bad behaviors then expect the child to soon follow behind. Modern day mother’s can apply this concept when they are interviewing for babysitters or a nanny.
In what ways may parents hinder their children’s access to God?
“ The most fatal way of despising the child falls under the third educational law of the Gospels; it is to overlook and make light of his natural relationship with almighty God.” -Charlotte Mason
Ms. Mason refers to a story that describes how this can happen. Presenting a tale of a little boy in the nursery, who was told that he was “wicked” and “God doesn’t love you.” This same child is not told how God does loves him and cherishes children.
other examples of hindering a Child’s access to God:
- Complacent prayers
- Idle discussions of divine things in their presence
- Light use of holy words
Instead we should be telling children how much they are cherished and loved by God.
This concludes part 1 pg. 13-20 in the Charlotte Mason Study Guide, which is part of a blog series. If your just starting and would like to tag along, order your book and join right in by coming to the holistic homeschooling group on Facebook.
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