Friday, February 15, 2013

Reading Journal: A Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason

Book Description:
Towards a Philosophy of Education is Charlotte Mason's final book in her Homeschooling Series, written after years of seeing her approach in action. This volume gives the best overview of her philosophy, and includes the final version of her 20 Principles. This book is particularly directed to parents of older children, about ages 12 and up, but is a valuable overview for parents of younger children as well. Part I develops and discusses her 20 principles; Part II discusses the practical application of her theories.
My thoughts:
I am very drawn to Charlotte Mason's educational methods and have read quite a few books that have discussed the how and why. I read the first two books in her series, Home Education and Parents and Children many years ago and only got around to picking up A Philosophy of Education.

I am going to admit right off that I felt waaay over my head while reading this book. It was a tough read. I have seen many recommendations to start this book first, but for me I think I needed to refresh what I had read in her earlier works and then read Vol. 3 - School Education to help give me a better basis for this book. That being said there were some parts I really enjoyed and learned from.

Chapter 10 deals with the curriculum which she says:
Of the three sorts of knowledge proper to a child, the knowledge of God, of man, and of the universe,––the knowledge of God ranks first in importance, is indispensable, and most happy-making. p.158
She then talks about the knowledge of man which includes history, literature, citizenship, composition, languages, and art. Thirdly she lists the knowledge of the universe which includes science, geography, mathematics, and physical development. She then talks about how the a liberal education looks in elementary and secondary education. I was drawn to this since these are reasons that really resonate with me and why I am drawn to a Charlotte Mason education.

When I was done reading I headed over to Ordo Amoris and read her thoughts that Cindy Rollins has posted on The Philosophy of Education, which are way deeper and make much more sense than my poor mind has made out of this book. This is a book that will go back on my re-read list and hopefully I can come away with a deeper understanding.

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