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This Year’s Feast
Picture a banquet, a feast, lavishly spread on a long table. Now, keep that picture in your mind, for that is how Charlotte Mason described the abundance of ideas that we should make available to our children in their school work.
“We spread an abundant and delicate feast in the programmes and each small guest assimilates what he can” (Vol. 6, p. 183).
So how are you coming in preparing this year’s feast? Charlotte had some wonderful guidelines for us as we don our chef hats:
“In devising a syllabus for a normal child, of whatever social class, three points must be considered” (Vol. 6, p. 154).
“He requires much knowledge, for the mind needs sufficient food as much as does the body.”
You wouldn’t call a plate of bread and a pitcher of water a feast. No, a feast involves lots of food! So have you planned to present your child with an abundance of knowledge? Remember that in the Charlotte Mason method, knowledge is presented in living ideas, not dry facts. How big is your feast of ideas going to be this year?
“The knowledge should be various, for sameness in mental diet does not create appetite (i.e., curiosity).”
Just as a feast of only two foods would not create much appetite, so focusing on only two or three subjects will not create much mental appetite. Charlotte’s passion was to give all children a broad and generous curriculum. Have you included a wide variety of subjects? How many different dishes will be featured in your feast?
“Knowledge should be communicated in well-chosen language, because his attention responds naturally to what is conveyed in literary form.”
The proof of the pudding is in the tasting. A feast is only as good as its individual dishes. Have you chosen well-written living books to convey this feast of ideas? Are you using the best ingredients and recipes for your feast?
An abundant feast of wide variety and exquisite dishes. That’s our goal.
Are you ready to set the table?
I think this is possibly the most powerful metaphor I find in Charlotte’s writings, for my family anyway. I find myself CONSTANTLY quoting and referring to this idea, that the education we put forth is like a banquet and each child takes from it what he will, and that ideas are nourishing to the mind and spirit like food is nourishing to the body. If I got nothing else from Charlotte but this idea, I would be thankful.
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