CM Carnival: Knowledge of Man: Citizenship (Morals & Economics)

This is a CM Carnival. What does that mean?

CM, of course, is Charlotte Mason.  A carnival is just an aggregate of blog links on a particular topic, only the links are submitted by their authors (usually)- so it’s a sort of a joint effort.

The theme is ‘Citizenship,’ which Miss Mason filed under “Knowledge of Man.”  Her other categories were knowledge of God and knowledge of the Universe, and these three branches of knowledge were, she said, ‘the three sorts of knowledge proper to a child.’  By this she meant those three branches covered all the areas that might properly fall under the heading of  ‘education.’

Miss Mason used Plutarch as a primary text for Citizenship, which gives us some insight into what she meant by the term.  We also have samples of some of the citizenship questions she asked her students during their end of term exams:

1. (a), “Veni, vidi, vici,” (b), “To cross the Rubicon.” What events in Julius Caesar’s life gave rise to these popular sayings? Describe Caesar’s great victory at Alesia.
2. Show that we are all paid labourers. What do you understand by Integrity? In what various ways should integrity be shown?
3. What duties has a British citizen toward the Empire? What is the value of the common citizenship?

Citizenship/Morals/Government/Economics – 3 questions such as:

Write, a), as far as you can in the words of Alfred, his preface to Cura Pastoralis,–This Book is for Worcester, or, b), Asser’s account of King Alfred at Work.
Discuss four different forms of a), courage, b), loyalty, that you have come across in your term’s reading. What duties towards others does Justice claim from us?
Describe the vision of Philosophy that appeared to Boethius. Ho did he “lay bare his wound,”and by what “few small questions” does She seek a method of treatment?
(a), “Veni, vidi, vici,” (b), “To cross the Rubicon.” What events in Julius Caesar’s life gave rise to these popular sayings? Describe Caesar’s great victory at Alesia.
Show that we are all paid labourers. What do you understand by Integrity? In what various ways should integrity be shown?
What duties has a British citizen toward the Empire? What is the value of the common citizenship?
What have you to say about drifters and dawdlers, small thefts, bargains, borrowed property? Discuss “we are all born equal.”
How and why did Agis set about the reformation of the City of Sparta?
What are the powers and what the limitations of the House of Commons? What qualities should we look for in a Member?
What do you know of the Government of Mansoul? How do Hunger and Thirst behave? Show that they may change in character.
Give an account of the way in which Brutus and Cassius prepared for the battle of the Philippian Fields. How did Lucilius save the life of Brutus?
What is our duty towards foreign countries?

In considering these questions (and others found in her programmes, located on AO’s webpages), It seems to me her understanding of ‘citizenship’ encompassed an understanding of the mechanics and functions for government, and also individual character and responsibility- duties, to use an old fashioned, solid Victorian word.  Duty to self, to others, to the nation (duty to God, too, but that also falls under knowledge of God).   She would have loved John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

What else can we know about what CM meant? We can look at the series:

From Vol. 6 pg 185, 186 
II The Knowledge of Man
c) Morals and Economics: Citizenship

In Form I, children begin to gather conclusions as to the general life of the community from tales, fables and the story of one or another great citizen. In Form II, Citizenship becomes a definite subject rather from the point of view of what may be called the inspiration of citizenship than from that of the knowledge proper to a citizen, though the latter is by no means neglected. We find Plutarch’s Lives exceedingly inspiring. These are read by the teacher (with suitable omissions) and narrated with great spirit by the children. They learn to answer such questions as,––”In what ways did Pericles make Athens beautiful? How did he persuade the people to help him?” And we may hope that the idea is engendered of preserving and increasing the beauty of their own neighbourhood without the staleness which comes of much exhortation. Again, they will answer,––”How did Pericles manage the people in time of war lest they should force him to act against his own judgment?” And from such knowledge as this we may suppose that the children begin to get a sympathetic view of the problems of statesmanship. Then, to come to our own time, they are enabled to answer,––”What do you know of (a) County Councils, (b) District Councils, c) Parish Councils?”––knowledge which should make children perceive that they too are being prepared to become worthy citizens, each with his several duties…In giving children the knowledge of men and affairs which we class under ‘Citizenship’ we have to face the problem of good and evil.

the emphasis above is mine- I am struck by ‘the inspiration of citizenship.’  It occurs to me that this means Miss Rumphius is an early citizenship book under a Charlotte Mason education.

She also says:

Civics takes place as a separate subject, but it is so closely bound up with literature and history on the one hand and with ethics, or, what we call every-day morals, on the other, that the division of subjects is only nominal. -Volume 6, page 274

The Bible, especially the book of Proverbs, would a constant source of useful study in this sort of citizenship.

As for the civics side of things, the mechanics of government:

A useful tool for this would be Hillsdale College’s free online course about the Constitution.

We are also learning from the Notgrass’ book on government this year.  It’s quite thorough.

We also used Christian Liberty’s Story of the Constitution  last year, and I really like how much my children learned from it, and how much more interested  they have become in topics related to government since reading it.

But that’s enough chatter from me- let’s look and see what other CM homeschoolers have to say:

Nancy Kelly at Sage Parnassus, an excellent blog which you should bookmark if you have not yet, shares two posts on the topic:
Letters from Nebby shares  Teaching Citizenship and Decency

But Citizenship is just the topic we are focusing on for this carnival. It is not the only topic Miss Mason placed under the heading of ‘Knowledge of Man.’ The others are:
History . . .   Literature . . . Morals and Economics . . .  Composition . . .   Languages . . . and  Art .

Under languages we have this submission:

Learning Languages the Charlotte Mason Way – Designing a Course of Study for Italian (Part 3)

Mama Squirrel at Dewey’s Treehouse is imminently practical and wise- she always seems to be able to distell things down to what really matters.  She shares   Countdown to School: Middle School Language Arts, Part One

She says it ” is the first of three posts about our plans for grade 7 reading and writing skills, CM style.”
And under arts, we have this entry:
I’m tickled to be able to share some exciting Charlotte Mason related news here for the first time as well- that is, that the AO Advisory has at long last opened up a blog to the public.  You can visit the Advisory blog here.
You may also spot the Advisory occasionally roaming unchecked about the AO Forums, where you can find hundreds of other very knowledgeable, helpful, people homeschooling CM style and helping each other along the way.
Also, for information on upcoming CM Carnivals and their themes, see here.
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