I would like to know what Cm exactly meant when she stated that a child should make their own associations….that we as parents should not tell them what to think or how to think? Now I will preface this with I have not read her Original Series books.
I find this inappropriate given that the Bible tells in multiple places to have discussions and to teach our children about the Word, ideas, etc so they get understanding. Furthermore, the Bible says that a child left to himself brings his mother to shame. If we leave our children to themselves in thoughts, they will not necessarily think the right way or make the right choices.
I would appreciate Sonya or those with extensive knowledge of CM Original Series to answer my questions.
I would not say I have an extensive knowledge of the CM Original Series, but I feel like I understand this CM statement (philosophy) enough to answer your question.
Miss Mason is encouraging mothers (teachers) that children are very capable of making their own associations and connections with regard to the events being presented to them in story form. We should not tell them how brave of a person General Washington was…let the child hear a living book about the noble man and let the child make a connection and decide for himself that the man is, indeed, a brave man.
It was also important to Miss Mason that children be fed a generous diet of noble ideas and thoughts. A child drawing his own conclusions about knowledge and ideas that are already, by the discretion of the mother, deemed as noble is hardly anything to fret about.
It takes some time reading and really digging into who she was to undestand that she knew her Bible well and fervently defended a mother’s place as an authority in her child’s life.
I do not think Miss Mason would tell you to leave a child to himself. No, she would tell you to take pains to make sure the child had something to think about, someone to love and something to do each and every day. She would tell you to make sure these ideas, thoughts, activities and objecs of affection were noble, Biblical and pure. Then, she would tell you to let the Holy Spirit go to work in the child’s life and heart. Let the child make connections and draw conclusions while the mother gently guides and lays a feast of nobility before the children with whom God has entrusted her.
3littlegirls – I just wanted to say that you did a great job explaining CM’s method regarding connections. Richele
I really appreciated your response 3littlegirls. It was very clear and had good support. It brought to mind principles I had not remembered. I am still trying to piece CM all together to get a good understadnign of what CM is and how to apply it to my homeschooling. I have read much about CM from other authors, but not her own writing which I think I really should do.
In the CM method then, are we allowed to have discussions and guide their thinking?
@3littlegirls-I loved how you explained that. I can think that, but can’t expain it on paper….:)
I’m assuming discussion is okay, we discuss practically everything, to a degree, but to ‘tell’ them that Gen. Washington was a brave man leaves out the ‘thinking’ they should be doing on their own. Correct me if I’m wrong, ladies or elaborate, please…I’m fairly new to this as well.
I’ll add a couple more thoughts to this pleasant discussion.
I think Charlotte was also speaking against a trend in her day to beat the child over the head with goody-goody stories that preached at them, rather than presenting good and noble ideas and letting the child mull them over. Discussion questions are encouraged, yes, but Charlotte also spoke against a tendency to create a child who simply adopts the opinions of those around him without careful consideration and thought of his own.
While she definitely upheld the authority of Scripture, she wanted to make sure the child was forming his own relationship with our Savior and His Word, not just riding on the coat-tails of his parents. We most certainly should guide his thinking, his attitudes, and his actions; but we should not use methods that produce a weak-minded person who doesn’t know how to think for himself. This challenge reminds me of the many places that Paul scolded the churches for being tossed about by every wind of doctrine and swallowing false teachings because they were not willing to put forth the effort (or maybe not used to putting forth the effort) of carefully considering and evaluation what they heard in light of the Scriptures.
Thanks, ladies. This is something that has been near and dear to my heart lately. I am a very verbal person and it’s hard for me not to shout (through tears, mind you), “CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW WONDERFUL HE IS? HOW BRAVE THOSE MEN AND WOMEN WERE!” lol
I think Miss Mason would welcome discussions…discussion builds relationships after all. I like to keep in mind that what we strive for (and what Miss Mason encouraged) is a philosophy of education. Not a list of dos and don’ts or a formulated method of learning. I think it is wise to always cover our lessons in prayer, keep in mind a general philosophy that guides our methods and let the Lord guide them however He sees fit.
Sonya, you make a good point about how this philosophy will help encourage our children to make a decisions regarding Christ that are their own. That is so important and something I personally ponder occasionally…
You took the words right out of my mouth…literally!
I am a very wordy person. My kids have actually had to tell me (in their most respectful way possible) that they just want a yes/no answer, lol. They know that I can go on and on…but I know that for the most part it is not what they need. I am really working on this because I know that I want strong (yet sensitive to the Spirit) young men (3 boys here). I don’t want to get in the way of their relationship with the Lord or their academic education. I don’t want to be the bridge, either, because I will not always be here. I do want to know that they are capable of figuring things out for themselves with the ‘good and noble ideas’ that we are trying to present.
It’s exciting to hear them ‘come to their own conclusion’ about something because then I know that they have acquired that for themselves and it is for keeps (hopefully:). If I tell them, then they are just parroting what I have said and it may not hit home like I would like it to. I hope that makes sense…I’m wordy, but it doesn’t come out the way it should.
An example: My oldest was doing an experiment…I read on to what was suppose to happen or would be observed, basically I told him what was going to happen, etc. He said, “Mom, now we can’t figure it out for ourselves or come back to see what is going to happen.” Ooops…too much talking on my part.
This is an interesting thread:)
Wonderful!!! I am so glad I asked this question. It is really helping me. I concur with what my3boys said in that 3little girls says it well.
Sonya thankyou for your insight. I too have been concerned with this exact thing and my children have done that, but now I am very very slowly seeing them think for themselves. I think I have been detrimental to the idea that they parrot what I have taught them.
Sooooo, another question: how does a mother in homeschooling practically do this – . I know it comes through narrating and such. But I would appreciate many tangible – practical- clearly explained step by step examples of this from others who are willing to share their experience as well as Sonya. Bad and good examples are welcome. I really want to get a handle on this specific principle.
Just wanted to drop in here with a link to an SCM essay on CM and unit studies
“In the typical unit study, the student depends on the teacher to show him how ideas are connected and related to each other. Charlotte wanted the student to form those relations himself, which she believed is a key to “owning” the idea.”
“Charlotte made a distinction between what she considered natural connections and forced, arbitrary connections.”
This has been on my mind lately as I debated whether or not to order a project pack from Homeschool in the Woods for the Industrial Revolution – WWI. It is not in the chronological order of our studies (far from it, as we have been on the ancient world all year), but my kids are interested in it because of all the neat projects and because it is a history lesson that takes place during the time of their great-grandparents, who they were fortunate enough to get to know. History of a time when someone they actually knew was alive, as my daughter pointed out to me.
I remembered what Charlotte said about letting them make their own connections – and placed the order. The connections may not be obvious, but we will see what is revealed! Looking forward to see what they make of it.
So how does a mother help her child to own their ideas? Be practical. And yes, I am asking the same question over and over, but I really need practical examples.
Well, I personally hesitate to do a specific example. You may not like my answer to this, but IMO the ONLY way to have the necessary discernment of where each individual child is at that moment, the ONLY way to know exactly what to say to a child in the moment to spur them on to their own thinking and not to say too much and tamp down their nascent ability to think through, is to petition God for the Holy Spirit to tell me what to do. ESPECIALLY in religious matters. Each child is going to need different levels of parental involvment at different times in his life, perhaps even at different times on the same DAY, and each child is his own self and different from another.
The only real rule of thumb I can think of is to urge parents to pause a lot. A lot! And think. And watch that little one’s eyes, and pray that the Spirit will reveal to you what is going on inside, and whether that child needs another gentle comment or whether they’ve had enough for the time being. About the only thing I can say at this point (several years down the road) is that I really, really wish I’d shut up more and listened more and bitten my tongue more.
I guess the image that is coming to mind right now for me is teaching someone how to drive. OK, I know that might sound odd, but try me here. At first, I “set the stage” and this part is sooo critical and so undervalued. We choose a nice safe car to drive, and we choose our place (a local parking lot, NOT the interstate!) and I set the scene–no radio. This part is to me, where the “leading and guiding” part is most apparent. Just as it is in our everyday teaching. I don’t believe in beating every point I want to teach to death with my own words. Not that I don’t DO that sometimes, but I do know better. Where my influence is strongest is in the table-setting. I control the atmosphere, I control the ideas that are presented and how they are presented, because of the choices we make in the background each day those ideas don’t have too much competition from “noise” from outside.
THEN comes the part where I sit beside my child in the passenger seat. They are beginning to take off. I do give a few instructions, especially if it becomes apparent he’s forgotten where the brake pedal is 🙂 But if I nag him and tell him every little tiny thing “OK, now it’s time to turn on the turn signal. Now you should slow down to exactly 15mph. Now you turn off the turn signal. Now you . . . . . ” If I do this, he won’t learn very efficiently. I’m still there, still obviously present, but I need to begin to try to understand what my child knows and understands, and what he needs a reminder of, and I need to SHUT UP and let him think. He can do it. It’s all in there, I know it is, I saw it as it was going in. I’ve watched him, and I’ve prayed and pled, and I’ve heard the still small voice, and so I know it’s there.
Now for the hardest part–moving myself to the backseat and sitting on my hands and zipping my lip. I’m still nearby to correct any truly obvious errors, but at this point I need to trust my child, trust what the previous stage-setting has accomplished, because I know that it is nearly time to get out of the car entirely, and watch him drive off while smiling and waving. (OK, so maybe THAT”LL be the hardest part!) What I really want now is not a son who is dependent upon ME to drive safely, but one who has thought things through for himself, seen the model driving (!!) I hope my own has been for him, gained experience slowly through different situations, and learned how to be safe on his own. Now, he can’t do that if I won’t stop talking and trying to take the wheel from him while he’s learning! I want children who want to know the Lord because they know I know Him, I want children who know what is right by tuning in to the Lord on their own, not because I’ve been hovering and “interpreting” and trying to get myself in between Him and them. If I want them to learn to hear that still small voice, I’d better keep my louder one quiet often enough that they can. It may be one of the hardest tasks in parenting, and I suspect that’s why Charlotte takes us to task here and reminds us what we’re about. The dangers ARE great–we can smother them on the one hand, or leave them too much on their own on the other. The difference? Only God knows, and that’s the only place to get the information you really need in each situation.
Wow! That was terrific.
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