Think back to the most recent time you were in one (or all) of these scenarios and let them replay in your mind: You walked into a store and encountered a salesperson. You got a telephone call from a survey group. You interacted with a company about a disappointing purchase.
In each scenario mentioned, you most likely came away feeling one of two things: that you had been treated as a statistic or that you had been treated as a person.
You know the difference. You’ve experienced it.
Charlotte Mason wanted the education of children to be built upon a foundation of viewing your child—treating your child, respecting your child—as a person.
This foundational tenet is one of the reasons I was drawn to the Charlotte Mason Method in the first place and one of the reasons I still love it today!
Educating a Person
Whether you are educating your child as a person can be seen in at least three ways.
He receives a wide variety of subjects and a feast of living ideas.
A child is much more than just a mind. Body, soul, spirit; mind, will, emotions—all of these are included in that person. And we must respect and educate the child as a whole person, not just his mind.
He needs to be encouraged to sing, to dance, to create useful things with his hands, to sit and watch an ant, to look at beautiful art, to enjoy the play of words in poetry, to work at conquering a new habit, to linger with a composer and ponder his music, to empathize with the life’s story of an inventor or statesman or pioneer, to appreciate the beauty and truth of mathematics, to communicate his own thoughts to his fellow man.
Educating a person is about much more than memorizing and regurgitating information.
His ideas are considered important.
If you think about the times when you felt respected as a person, they were probably times when someone listened carefully to your thoughts and considered your feelings.
Listening to your child tell what he knows is an important part of educating him as a person. He needs the opportunity to share what he is learning rather than being required to guess what the teacher is thinking or retrieve only certain bits of data that others deem most worthy of his attention. Guide him, yes. Challenge him, of course. But don’t limit him to thinking only what others say to think.
Educating a person is about much more than adhering to someone else’s mental answer key.
He is allowed to grow at his own pace.
Persons are complicated creations. We have certain things in common, yet each one is unique. That truth needs to permeate your approach to educating your child too.
He needs the freedom and flexibility to grow at his own pace. Different aspects of his learning and his living will progress at different levels; he needs the reassurance that such unevenness is perfectly natural. Expecting every person to know the exact same things and have the exact same levels of proficiency at the exact same ages is what is strange.
Educating a person is about much more than how much he knows at what age.
The Charlotte Mason Method is a whole-person approach that encourages us to nourish each child as an individual, to focus on helping each one grow as a person. That is true education.
Close Out on DVD Seminars
The All-Day Charlotte Mason Seminar 4-disc set and the Books & Things Seminar 4-disc set are being phased out of stock.
These original resources have served their purpose well; but we felt it was time to update and expand on them with new material. We’re excited about the new Learning and Living: Homeschooling the Charlotte Mason Way 12-disc set that will take their place very soon!