Nutritionists tell us that the best way to feed our children for physical growth is to regularly provide good portions of a variety of healthful foods several times a day.
Charlotte Mason believed that the same principles hold true for feeding your child knowledge.
“He needs knowledge as much as he needs bread and milk; his appetite for knowledge is as healthy as his appetite for his dinner; and an abundant regular supply at short intervals of various knowledge is a constitutional necessity for the growing youth as well as for the curious child” (Vol. 6, p. 302).
If you want to dish up knowledge in a way that will help keep your child healthy and growing in mind and spirit, that passage holds three keys.
Give your child a variety of knowledge.
Your child deserves to sit down to a feast filled with the knowledge of God, of his fellow man, and of the world around him. Within each of those broad categories is an abundance of educational meals for the curious child: Bible, history, science, math, literature, foreign language, art, music, and more. Make sure you are spreading that wide feast.
When you use Charlotte Mason’s methods, you can be sure that your child is getting a personal knowledge of all that is around him, not just the dry sawdust of bare information. He will be forming relations with that various knowledge, not just recognizing certain words in order to pass the test. Personal knowledge is the kind that will feed his soul.
Provide it at short intervals.
Small, constant touches add up—both in food and in knowledge. The stomach can hold only so much at a time, and that fact is true for your child’s mind also. Serve a variety of knowledge in short lessons, giving time to chew thoroughly and digest all the nutritious ideas that will be contained in them. Be careful not to stuff so much in at one time that your child loses his appetite.
Be faithful to give an abundant regular supply.
Do not skimp when it comes to serving various knowledge. Make sure you have an abundant supply and that you are consistent in serving up a generous feast regularly, not just once in a while.
Now, serving from an abundant supply is different from force feeding. A liberal spread will allow your child to take from the feast as much as he needs in those short intervals. He will be able to consume what he is ready for in order to keep growing in all the wonderful aspects of knowledge.
Feed your child a steady, healthful, generous diet at short intervals of a variety of knowledge and watch him grow!