Things I Highlighted in CM, Volume 1

Dear Reader,

So I have been reading through Charlotte Mason’s six book series on home education. I am currently in book three, but I wanted to spend some time going through the earlier books. I highlighted as I went through so these will mainly be observations from looking back at what struck me at the time.

I am pretty pleased with myself that I am understanding most of what I read. I had read bits of Charlotte Mason previously, mostly what I ran across on others’ websites. The I read through two books about her philosophy but not by her–For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay and A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola. I enjoyed both these books and would recommend starting with one of them if you have not had exposure to Miss Mason’s philosophy.

But back to my topic. Here is some of what struck my in volume 1, Home Education. (I am working, incidentally, from the print copy put out by Wilder Publications in 2000. You can find it free online, but I find when I am really reading something I need it to be a hard copy.)

“. . . we do not often get as a gift that which we have the means of getting by our own efforts.”

(Home Education, p.12)

This is from the preface and the point, I think, is that we must use our reason in educating our children. I think it is probably a good general principle though. God calls us to diligence (with prayer). We are not simply to sit on our bottoms relying upon Him when He has given us the power to act. It is also a good principle to use with our children– don’t do for them what they can do for themselves.

” . . . and that a glass of water, also, taken the last thing at night, and the first thing in the morning, is useful in promoting those regular habits on which much of the comfort of life depends.”

(p. 29)

Okay, this one is mostly funny to me. But it does show how practical Miss Mason was. She moves easily from statements about how God deals with us to practical tips for keeping your kids regular.

“Never be within doors when you can rightly be without.” (p.39)

I wish we followed this one more. I remember reading in the fall a recommendation (I think it was Charlotte Mason’s) to spend 2-3 hours outside each day. And there are some days we can do that, but even in the best weather it is tough to do it every day.

We once saw a reconstruction of the log cabin Abraham Lincoln lived in when he was a boy. It was tiny. And there were a fair number of people who lived in it. But the guide said that unless the weather was truly horrible, they just never spent time indoors. We also saw the reconstruction of Thoreau’s cabin at Watson Pond. He had spaces outside that he called his “dining room” and the like. The problem for probably all of is today is that our houses are too big and nice. When there is plenty to do indoors, when it is comfortable there, there is little incentive to go outside. If we lived in the Lincoln’s cabin, my kids would go outside on their own because there would be nowhere else to be. But as it is, I have to kick them out and then I feel like the bad guy and they are always asking to come in or thinking of reasons to come in.  We do better when we have specific reasons to be outside, like park days and nature walks.

My next highlighted quote may take  a bit more time so I think I am going to end there for now and you can look forward to part 2.


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