Posted by : Karen Saturday, June 25, 2011
I really never thought that I would become a Charlotte Mason fan. In the beginning, when I took baby steps along this journey, I read some of her writing and just could not get my head around her principles.
Now that I am a toddler, I find myself drawn to her more and more. There is something infinitely wise in the words she wrote; in the philosophies she developed about children and their education - and yet, as an educator, I had never heard of her until I started researching homeschooling.
I'm thrilled to report that thanks to L.N. Laurio's hard work, we can now read Charlotte Mason's work paraphrased into modern English online for free! You can even print out her work too, if you like. I have yet to decide which I prefer more - original Mason, or modern Mason - but at least there is now a choice!
Having also subscribed to the Simply Charlotte Mason newsletter, I am finding that I am now being 'educated' myself. In recent issues, the CM (Charlotte Mason) motto of "I am, I can, I will, I ought" has been explored. Within this seemingly simple motto, I am finding real tools that I can wield as I seek to shape my children's character.
I'll leave you with this:
The four phrases of Charlotte Mason's motto for students provide a healthy tension, if you will. We must keep all four parts in mind in order to maintain a balance. Our children are individuals with unique personalities and strengths and tendencies. But respecting their natural bent does not mutually exclude their forming good habits. Some children may struggle more than others with forming the habit of orderliness—or obedience or attention—but we should not allow their personalities to dictate our expectations.
Charlotte explained that habit can be stronger than natural tendencies. "Strong as nature is, habit is not only as strong, but tenfold as strong" (Vol. 1, p. 105).
She went on to give illustrations of habits that can be instilled in children, contrary to natural tendencies—habits like cleanliness and courtesy. "Such habits as these, good, bad, or indifferent, are they natural to the children? No, but they are what their mothers have brought them up to; and as a matter of fact, there is nothing which a mother cannot bring her child up to" (Vol. 1, p. 105).
This is not about shaping our children in order to make us mothers look good. Not at all. The shaping that we do with habits and ideas should be motivated from and designed to make that child the best person he or she can become for the glory of God. For their good.
(Excerpt taken from SCM newsletter, For Their Own Good: I Am, I Can, I Ought, I Will, part 3)