"Probably the chief source of weakness in our attempt to formulate a science of education is that we do not perceive education is the outcome of philosophy. We deal with the issue and ignore the source. Hence our efforts lack continuity and definite aim. We are content to pick up a suggestion here, a practical hint there, without even troubling ourselves to consider what is that scheme of life of which such hints and suggestions are the output."
Charlotte Mason, Parents and Children, Volume 2, page 118 (italics mine)
Last time, I shared this quote and how considering what education philosophy to follow is the important starting point when we make the choice to homeschool, leading into curriculum choices. But after we decide that yes, I need to figure out where I stand on educational philosophy, and yes, I am capable of doing this as parent, where do we go next??
First, let me give the disclaimer that I am in no way an educational philosophy expert. My research and study have been done on my own, for my own benefit, mainly because I am fascinated by the wisdom and gift of explanation that God gave Charlotte Mason, which has led me to read and go down many rabbit trails of thought along the way. So while I want to share with you my journey, this in no way is an attempt to try to sound scholarly or to convince anyone- I am strongly aware of my gaps in grasping such a deep and wide subject, and that there are an incredible amount of books, blogs, podcasts and other resources out there!
If you do an internet search, you will come across some $100 words like, "essentialism," "progressivism," or "perennialism." Did I lose you there?!! Don't run away yet- if you are a research nerd (I am raising my hand, yes..), then by all means, go for it and see where you stand. There are even quizzes you can take to let someone else tell you what philosophy you fit under! But it does not have to be that complicated- we can summarize the question like this: what are your core beliefs about how children learn?
Maybe, especially if you are a parent new to homeschooling, you have no idea what you think about how children learn. Maybe even if you are a veteran homeschooler, this line of thought hasn't been on your radar. I believe, as did Charlotte Mason, that this is the vital beginning to educating your children in a way that does not feel haphazard or as if all you are trying to do each day is just GET THE THINGS DONE so that you can move on to whatever is next. Yes, we absolutely have those days at our home, and have for the last 16 years, but they are not the norm for us, and part of that is that I really work to keep the "why" of our methods in front of me every day.
This is where I find myself cozying up to Charlotte Mason and alllll the things she talks about concerning how children learn, contained in her 20 principles. I am going to summarize here, and encourage you to read the resources at the end of this post as you have time, but here is a super simplified summary for the purposes of this discussion:
Children are born people and need to be educated with a view to the whole person, not just the mind. So parents should consider the spirit, the body, the mind all in some way in their choices.
The atmosphere that a child is educated in makes up a large part (1/3) of that education; it is what he or she will absorb as they are taught.
Good habits, or good character decisions, (not just making the bed or taking a plate to the dishwasher but the parts of a person's character that make them do these things consistently), are another 1/3 of educating a child.
A child's education should be "living"- not just facts or figures but ideas and concepts behind those facts and figures.
The parent's job is to provide a "plate" of choices that will stimulate ideas- not to be an expert in every subject or topic.
The student's job is to take from that plate what he requires, what his appetite needs; so a true education is a self-education.
Next time I will discuss how these concepts in her philosophy might look in a normal day in a normal family- but is there such a thing?!!! Certainly not in the Kemp household!!
Resources for further study:
I am a wife and homeschooling mom who absolutely loves her job! I love to read good books, enjoy art, and sit on my porch with family, friends and any passersby to talk about them and what a good, good Father we all have!