Principles guide how students see ideas

A Charlotte Mason Moment:

“Therefore, children should be taught, as they become mature enough to understand such teaching, that the chief responsibility which rests on them as persons is the acceptance or rejection of ideas. To help them in this choice we give them principles of conduct, and a wide range of the knowledge fitted to them. These principles should save children from some of the loose thinking and heedless action which cause most of us to live at a lower level than we need.”

(Home Education by Charlotte M. Vol. 6; Preface to the ‘Home Education’ Series)

Strengthen narration by self-questioning what was just read!

A Charlotte Mason Moment:

“Long ago, I was in the habit of hearing this axiom quoted by a philosophical old friend: – ‘The mind can know nothing save what it can produce in the form of an answer to a question put to the mind by itself.’

I have failed to trace the saying to its source, but a conviction of its importance has been growing upon me during the last forty years. It tacitly prohibits questions from without; (this does not, of course, affect the Socratic use of questioning for purposes of moral conviction); and it is necessary to intellectual certainty, to the act of knowing. For example, to secure a conversation of an incident, we ‘go over it in our minds’; that is, the mind puts itself through the process of self-questioning which I have indicated. This is what happens in the narrating of a passage read: each new consecutive incident or statement arrives because the mind asks itself, – “What next?”

For this reason it is important that only one reading should be allowed; efforts to memorize weaken the power of attention, the proper activity of the mind; if it is desirable to ask questions in order to emphasize certain points, these should be asked after and not before, or during, the act of narration.”

(Home Education by Charlotte M. Vol. 6 pp. 16-17)

Reflection, the ruminating power which is so strongly developed in children

A Charlotte Mason Moment: 

“Reflection, the ruminating power which is so strongly developed in children and is somehow lost with much besides of the precious cargo they bring with them into the world. There is nothing sadder than the way we allow intellectual impressions to pass over the surface of our minds, without any effort to retain or assimilate.”

(Home Education by Charlotte M. Vol. 3, p. 120)

Brain-work: The cure for hysteria and other “nervous maladies”

A Charlotte Mason Moment:

“Here comes in for consideration the question of ‘overpressure’, a possibility – too serious to be passed over without investigation – which parents naturally dread more for their girls than their boys. In the first place, work, regular disciplinary exercise, is so entirely wholesome for the brain, that girls, even more than boys, should be the better for definite work with a given object. It cannot be too strongly put, that, as a matter of health, growing girls cannot afford to be idle, mentally; it is just as pernicious that they should dawdle through their lessons as that they should lounge through the day. There is no more effectual check to the tendency to hysteria and other nervous maladies common to growing girls than the habit of steady brain-work.”

(Home Education by Charlotte M. Mason Vol. 5, pp. 180, 181)

Editor’s note: The habit of steady brain-work is just as effectual for busy little boys who would otherwise spend their school time giving their parents many “nervous maladies.” Want an example of this? See the link below:

No Spinning?