Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chapter by Chapter - Educating the Wholehearted Child Ch. 4

Teaching Models. . .Learning at Home, Naturally

This chapter focuses on giving your child(ren) a designer education via the literature approach - picking and choosing the best resources and methods that fit your own families needs.

"The Home-Centered Learning method, which is rooted deeply in the Living Books and Life Experiences method credited to Charlotte Mason, will liberate learning in your home and free you to become the teacher God designed you to be and the parent your children need." pg. 57

This is a leap that is hard for many families to take. When I started hsing, my approach was somewhat haphazard, thus I quickly opted to try the traditional textbook approach mainly because *I* needed the security of having it all laid out for me. That only lasted maybe 2 months before I came to the conclusion that I was quite capable of pulling together the best resources for my children and our family and that I didn't have to stick to the "standard" school of thought when it came to education. Homeschooling gives us all a wonderful freedom to get to know our children, their interests, their needs - and we'd be remiss to take a particular path just because it was comfortable for *us*!

The chapter continues by delving into the numerous approaches to homeschooling by summarizing the method and it's strengths - though the CM method receives the loudest accolade hands-down!

I immensely appreciate the contribution and ideas that CM delivers to education - the value of the child as a person, the respect for the parent, etc. And while I feel I'm continually moving in the right direction, it is still difficult to fully recondition my own mind-set to that which is so unfamiliar in our times and so contrary to the "norms" of today's society. If you're a product of ps, you know what I mean.

I think it was John Taylor Gatto's book "Dumbing Us Down" that talked about what the schools really teach us and what the unspoken agenda reveals. A must read. Didn't you learn to be subordinate in school? To talk only when spoken to? To not disrupt the schedule or lesson with your own ideas or train of thought? To do the same thing everyone else was doing? To follow the leader? Hmmm....something to think about.

Contrary to such. . .

"For this reason we owe it to every child to put him in communication with great minds that he may get at great thoughts; with the minds, that is, of those who have left us great works; and the only vital method of education appears to be that children should read worthy books, many worthy books." Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education, 1925

". . In the nature of things then the unspoken demand of children is for a wide and very varied curriculum. . .Children no more come into the world without provisions for dealing with knowledge than without provision for dealing with food. They bring with them not only that intellectual appetite, the desire of knowledge, but also an enormous, and unlimited power of attention to which the power of retention (memory) seems to be attached, as one digestive process succeeds another, until the final assimilation." Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education, 1925

CM was way ahead of her time (and ours). IMHO, the world doesn't give kids that much credit anymore and certainly in some educational settings children are not viewed as born persons, but as vessels to be filled and drilled with facts and bits of information that can be later recited as a means of validation to their intellect and being. Are we intelligent if no one affirms our knowledge? Are we worthy if no one notices or appreciates what we have to offer? Isn't validation from others like oxygen to our very being at times? It's kind of sad how society works on that level in many ways, but I can't help but ponder the peculiar questions that come to mind.

Moving on. . .

"Charlotte Mason encourage what she called "masterly inactivity" as a teaching methodology. She believed that adults do not really teach children anything, and may even hamper their natural desire to learn by making them dependent upon textbooks and teachers to tell them what to think." pg. 63

Ouch! Now there's a line to share with dh when he questions whether or not your doing enough. LOL!

"It is not merely that the child is to be [someday] the possessor of a marked and distinctive individuality, and that therefore he is to be honored for his possibilities in that direction; but it is that he already is [now] the possessor of such an individuality, and that he is worthy of honor for that which he has and is at the present time." H. Clay Trumbull, Hints on Child Training, 1890

Does this bring to mind the ole' familiar question - "What are you going to be when you grow up?" hee, hee - kind of funny isn't it? Doesn't that question unwittingly imply that as a full person - you are "yet to be"? That your contribution, your value, is not yet truly recognized?

Okay now this statement got my goat a bit. . .

"Home education should not be relegated to a 'temporary' location in your home. The not-so-subtle message to your children is that what they are studying must not be that important if it must be done quickly between meals on the kitchen counter or dining room table. However, when an entire room or area is 'permanently' dedicated to home education, it speaks volumes to your children that their learning is so important you want to give them a special place for it" pg. 73

Now, now - they are stepping my toes here. We make due with what we have, as I know many families do. In fact, we value home education so much that it has taken over our entire home, not just a nook or cranny. Sit at the kitchen table and I'll give you a spontaneous visual lesson on the whiteboard, walk through the hall and you see the world (map that is), journey to my room you'll find my "teacher's lounge", visit the bathroom. . well you get the idea. Not too subtle a message for the kids - I hope! Anywho, that bit of sarcasm aside, I just thought this statement needlessly heaped guilt where none need be heaped!! Education is not a "place" -even in the home.

Well, enough of my rambling. I hope these highlights are enough to convince you what a great resource this is! If you read only through the quotes and scripture in the sidebar sections, you'd still find immense value and richness that will open your eyes to "educating the wholehearted child".

I could go on, but then you wouldn't have to read it yourself! :-)


Trisha said...

I agree, Tina, that not everyone is blessed to have a school room. We don't, and I've had to guard my heart so that I don't covet when I see all of the lovely, lovely pictures floating around the internet of others' school rooms. I don't even have the wall space for lots of educational posters. I'm thankful that God isn't limited by my limited space. :)

Shonya said...

Oh wow, too much to comment on!! But I agree wholeheartedly with the Gatto reference and how we are trained to (not) think for ourselves--makes me think of some other books I've been reading recently!

"What are you going to be when you grow up"--ahhh, I don't find your reflections funny, but sad. I'd never thought about it before, but that does rather sum up our culture's view of who is valuable. (Those who are "contributing members of society"--certainly not the young, old, or 'special needs').

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