Education is the science of relations, connections, affinities

We dabbled in various types of homeschooling for a few years, but there were things that were always part of what I did, and they were there because of reading For the Children’s Sake- these were the things that I recall particularly resonated with me:
Poetry (Winnie the Pooh, reciting for grandparents, fourth grade poetry book given to me for Christmas when I in the hospital)
Hymns: acapella tradition, sang hymns at homes and on long car trips.
Classical music- we didn’t listen to the radio, but my dad had a number of records (yes, I am so analog), all of them classic. We also had a handful of folk songs in our family repetoire.

Well written books/literature was a constant.
Nature study: My grandmother majored in Botany in the 1920s, when not that many women went to college.  She always showed us the plants and wildflowers on our walks and told us their names.

Education is the science of relations.

Those things appealed to me because they were things I had grown up with- they were, in fact, most the best parts of a childhood that actually wasn’t very good, a childhood that, in fact, resulted in two of the three of us emerging into adulthood already loaded by the burden of PTSD from the abuse we endured. And yet those things were there, glimmering beacons of peace and safety in an otherwise extremely painful childhood.

Assuming you are interested in homeschooling and Charlotte Mason, since you are reading this post- why?  Consider that a moment and see if you can trace the causes.

All those things I mentioned, the poetry, the books, the nature study, they resonated with me because I had a relationship, a connection, what Mason calls an ‘affinity’ for those things- an affinity is a natural connection, a relationship, a sympathetic interest. My interest in homeschooling to begin with was because of a relationship- the relationship I had with my daughter. Then there was the relationship I had with my friend who loaned me For the Children’s Sake, and the relationships I built online with other Charlotte Mason homeschoolers,

I am guessing that for most of you, your interest in homeschooling and CM has something to do with some connections and relationships as well, probably both people and subjects. I had a relationship, with poetry and folk songs because somebody took the time to introduce them to me- that’s not usually the sort of thing children discover on their own. In my case, and probably yours, these things happened in a somewhat haphazard way. A lot of worthwhile things happen that way, and that’s fine. But a Charlotte Mason education is also about having a planned, organized way to help children discover a wide range of topics, activities, subjects, ideas, and skills that they can form a connection, a relationship with, in away that isn’t limited only by what we, their parents, already know and like.

You never know what is that will be just the thing a child needs or will connect to, and how he will form those connections.  A child cannot be interested in or pursue relationships with topics and ideas he has never heard of.  That’s why there are adults in his life to help him learn about those things.  That’s why a CM education is both disciplined and organized and never, ever based on the limitations of what interests you.  But it’s also why a CM education incorporates plenty of free time, so the spontaneous connections can also happen.

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One Comment

  1. Amy
    Posted December 23, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    That’s such a good point about different aspects being appealing to different people. I tend to go on and on about the parts that were appealing to me and not take into account that other people may be drawn to other things. I’ll remember that when I’m talking to other homeschooling moms or just trying to reassure worried relatives or neighbors.

    What drew me in was the books. I wasn’t very challenged in school, especially before high school, so I had a lot of free time to read. I read junky stuff, like Nancy Drew and Babysitters Club, but I could sit in class for weeks without learning anything new because I’d already learned the facts they threw out at me from novels. When I learned that there was a way to teach children with well-written literature, I knew it would be an effective, engaging way to learn and would leave fewer “holes” than carefully contrived programs relying on a few textbooks each year.

    All of the other stuff (poetry, nature studies, music, etc.) is icing on the cake for me. I didn’t have much exposure to any of it during childhood, other than reading about other people learning about them in books. I knew from reading many, many Victorian novels that these subjects were all much more appreciated in previous generations. It’s been lovely for me to dig in and enjoy all of those things with my children. I hope that I’m giving them a treasure they’ll want to share with their children.

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