Unschooling and Charlotte Mason

Dear Reader,

I am not an unschooler and, in fact, I have some fundamental theological objections to the philosophy behind unschooling (see here), but I have often thought that if I couldn’t take a Charlotte Mason approach to schooling and had to pick another, that unschooling might not be a bad choice. I ran across an article entitled How to be a Good Unschooler recently which made me think again that there is a lot to like in this philosophy.

The biggest plus I see in this approach is that it, like Charlotte Mason’s, treats the child as a person. Both also acknowledge that education is not something the teacher does to the student; the burden for it rests largely upon the student himself. Both of these ideas are, I think, exemplified in this quote:

” . . . [the children] will build strengths upon strengths and excel in their own ways whether that is academic, artistic, athletic, interpersonal, or whichever direction that particular child develops.”

One more point of contact: both unschooling and Charlotte Mason seek to bring the child into contact with real world things, not materials that are dumbed down or reduced for them:

Bring the world to your children and your children to the world.”

I could go on with the quotes I like from this article, but really you should read it for yourself.

I would be remiss, however, if I did not acknowledge that there are some important differences. Unschooling does not consider the child’s sinful nature and the need for discipline. Nor does it acknowledge, as Charlotte Mason does, that the ultimate source of wisdom and therefore of all education is God the Holy Spirit. These are, of course, not minor considerations and they are the main reasons I could never be a true unschooler. Nonetheless, I think there is a lot of common ground in the two approaches and much that we can learn from this article and from unschoolers in general.


One response to this post.

  1. […] what I think — Charlotte Mason’s approach does not assume children are all good (as unschooling, for instance, does). If she had thought so, she would not have spent so much time discussing […]


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