Yesterday, I posted the 20 Principles of Charlotte Mason in her original words. Today I'm posting the modern translation of those principles
1. Children are people. They have their own personalities and thoughts. They are deserving of respect and love.
2. While "Foolishness is tied up with the heart" (Proverbs 3:15) of children due to sinful nature, they are not born good or bad entirely. They make choices to do good or do bad.
3. We have the principles of authority on one hand; obedience on the other hand. Both are natural and necessary. Submission to authority is necessary for all groups and individuals and families. But....
4. This authority does not give adults the right to mistreat or abuse the child. We should respect their individual personalities and not encroach upon it by the direct use of love, fear, suggestion or influence in order to make them learn.
5. The Charlotte Mason motto is : "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life". This means that the only means by which the teacher should educate children is the child's natural environment, the training of good habits and exposure to living ideas and concepts.
6. "Education is an atmosphere" doesn't mean that we should create an environment which is artificial and especially made for a child, but that we should use the opportunities in the environment in which he already lives to educate him. Children naturally learn from their surroundings and real life.
7. "Education is a discipline" means that we very thoughtfully and definitely form physical, mental and moral habits into the children. Psychologists actually have learned that actual structure of the brain adapts to changes in habits.
8. "Education is a life" means that education should apply to the mind, body and spirit (a holistic approach). Just as the body needs a variety of foods; the mind needs a variety of ideas and the spirit needs a variety of spiritual food.
9. The child's mind is not an empty bucket to be filled. It is a living organism which needs to be nourished and grow. Just as the body naturally knows how to take in food and digest it; the mind knows how to take in knowledge and digest it. There is no special training needed for this purpose.
10. The philosophy that the child's mind is an empty bucket to be filled (an empty slate to be written on) places too much responsibility upon the teacher to find the bits and pieces with which to fill it. The teachers spends more time lesson-planning than providing the child with opportunities to learn. And so the child learns very little.
11. We, believing that the child's mind is perfectly capable of learning what he should learn from the world around him, give him a full, rich and generous curriculum which exposes him to many living ideas and concepts.
12. "Education is the science of relations" means that the child has natural connections to a vast number of things and ideas; and so we train him in physical exercises, nature , life skills, science and art, and many living books, because we know that our business is not to teach him everything about any subject, but to help him to validate his natural affinities and new ideas and concepts which may apply to his progress.
13. In developing a course of study, 3 things must be considered:
- A child requires much knowledge just as the body needs sufficient food
- There should be a variety of knowledge because boredom does not create curiosity
- Knowledge should be taught with high-quality literary language as the attention of a child responds better to this type of language
15. A single reading is insisted upon because children naturally have great powers of attention and focus. To read the same story repeatedly makes their minds lazy and weakens their ability to focus fully the first time knowing they'll have "more chances" later. Teachers summarizing and asking comprehension questions also gives the child a "second chance" to focus on the material rather than focus well the first time.
A child educated in this manner, regardless of IQ, background, or social status, learns more than the child who is educated in another manner.
16. Children have two moral guides: "The way of the will" and "The way of reason"
17. "The way of the will": Children must learn (a) the difference between "I want" and "I will" and (b) the effective way to turn our thoughts from wrong desires which we do not want to do (c) that the best way to turn our thoughts from wrong desires is to turn our thoughts to something completely different, interesting or entertaining to occupy our minds (d) afterwards their mind will be refreshed and more able to do the will of good.
18. "The way of reason" : We teach children "do not lean upon your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5) Reasoning is good when it comes to such logical demonstrations such as mathematical truths. But being overly-confident on our own imperfect ability to reason an idea can lead to us justifying an action, behavior or idea even though it is not a good one.
19. As children mature, they need to be taught that they are personally responsible for the acceptance or rejection of ideas. To help them, we give them principles of conduct and knowledge suited to them. These principles should serve as a protection from loose conduct and heedless actions.
20. We allow no separation between the intellectual education and the spiritual education of our children. They do not have a secular life which is separated by a spiritual life but understand that their Creator is always watching them and reading their hearts and helping them.