orally or in writing). Their thinking is personal, follows a train of thought, and isn’t
stunted by a page of multiple choice.
Teachers needn’t be trained in giving
lectures. Children educate themselves by
narrating from the well-chosen words of
authors. Too much explaining by a teacher
elicits boredom, as does an over emphasis
on memorization. True education is self-education.
No bells announce the end of hour-long
class periods. Children are free to move
promptly onto the next lesson. When drills
and skills are kept short, children develop
the power of attention. Dawdling is discouraged. Students are encouraged to give
their best effort. Education is a discipline.
This means establishing good and helpful
habits, built one action at a time, one day
at a time.
Education is an atmosphere. With living books children are motivated by a
love of knowledge rather than artificial
stimulants such as prizes (stickers, candy,
money), competition, and grades. They
retain their inborn curiosity. Cramming
for tests is avoided. Examinations require
the child to narrate what was read during
Inspiring the love of knowledge in children depends on the presentation of ideas.
Ideas are what the mind feeds on. Miss Mason served children a wide curriculum of
subjects. She says, “Varied human reading
as well as the appreciation of the humani-ties is not a luxury, a tid-bit, to be given to
children now and then, but their very bread
of life.” Education is a life.
Learning is not limited to sitting immov-
able at a desk. Miss Mason places an em-
phasis on being outdoors to observe nature.
Students keep a Nature Notebook. They
record their “finds” in drawings, adding
poems and mottoes. Here science, compo-
sition, and art join hands.
After-hours homework is withheld. Children apply their minds at the time of morning lessons. Afternoons provide recreation.
For children, this means running, climbing, yelling, all out of doors. Handicrafts,
chores, life skills, practicing an instrument,
and play are their homework.
Karen Andreola, author of A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on
The Gentle Art of Learning™, home educated
her children K- 12. Karen and her husband
Dean fueled the revival of the Charlotte Mason movement dating back to 1988 when they
republished Miss Mason’s 6 volume Original
Homeschooling Series. They are remembered
for their product reviews in the CBD catalog, and their keynote addresses at conferences. Karen’s other books are: Pocketful of
Pinecones, Lessons at Blackberry Inn, Story
Starters, and a revision of Beautiful Girlhood. She and Dean live in Pennsylvania
among Amish neighbors. Karen enjoys knitting for her grandchildren. Visit her beautiful
Inspiring the love
depends on the