Hi! I'm new to these boards, as I am a homeschool graduate fascinated by education, educational theory, and educational "experimentation". I have been very impressed by Montessori and with reading her works. I find her a primarily a scientist. Rudolf Steiner was, I believe, a philospher. And Charlotte Mason was a teacher. Correct me if I am wrong, but she comes off to me as a "governess-type" teacher. Montessori tended to isolate natural activities, ie, buttoning, and create a whole exercise out of it requiring special equipment, etc. She isolates the different senses, and neurologically, she makes a lot of sense to me. Many of her methods and ideas I find fascinating, but I do not believe that one has to be in a Montessori classroom to learn the same activities. One can be in a natural Waldorf-type classroom, and still work with practical life skills. But, I believe the understanding that comes from Montessori helps us identify the benefits of each activity and it pedagogical functions. I believe an educator should be well-read on educational philosophy, like Pestalozzi, Froebel, Montessori, Mason etc.
I also believe that we need not follow a particular method 100%. What Mason and all those others did was formulate and develop educational methods and philosphies. They were the thinkers of their age. We today can continue that work of thought, to develop and think and to work out, to be thinkers and creators of "philosophies" in our own day and time.
I came to these boards to learn more about Charlotte Mason, simply because I am not particularly enlightened by her writings. Reading her volumes, I fail to catch her concepts I find her, I apologize to her hard-core followers, garrulous and "off-topic". She is not a scientist by a long-short. But, I support classical-type education for the "Elementary years".
May I make a point that I have observed - Charlotte Mason appears to have worked primarily with elementary-aged children and Montessori with K-aged children. Generally, I believe that children learn by their senses at K-ages, and their intellect must be cultivated at Elementary-ages. I believe Charlotte Mason's many techniques such as copywork can be most strategically applied at the elementary ages. So, I have come to have the opinion that one can educate a toddler using motor-visual-audio-tactile, etc. It seems a better way to connect with them as a person.
I personally would not make the comparison as if Montessori was a "humanist" and Charlotte Mason a "Christian". Montessori struck me in one of her comments. She said that an educator needs the love of Christ's disciple and the self-sacrifice of a scientist. That really resounded in my being.
Whatever methods each promoted seems to me to be whatever worked best to their own experience. It really depends on the child, and applying to each child through "experimentation" what works best for them.
BTW, has anyone heard and read Mary Carpenter? I am interested in education from her point of view too. I am looking forward to more insightful discussions and learning on these forums.