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Anyone read the Consider This critique on Charlotte Mason Inst blog?


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Fascinating.

 

I have compared CM to classical, many times, even for reasons other than those put forth by Karen Glass in Consider This.

 

I will need to re-read this article and dig into all the sources to be sure, but the author's assertions ring true for me; I think I have been entirely wrong to force that comparison.

 

My problem is not that I misunderstood CM (I was drawn to her for many of the same reasons as the author) but that I didn't really understand classical ed as well as I thought I did. I'm glad my implementation has been on CM's side and not classical; all my best hs'ing results come from her principles. I've always known that.

 

Wonderful food for thought. Thank you so much for sharing!

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I agree with most of it*, but I still think the relationship stands because when we are talking about "classical," we are usually actually talking about neo-classical, and means and ends of a neo-classical education and a CM style education are more similar to one another than any other educational ideologies.

 

*Especially about how CM as plain as day, but people (including Glass ) come along and write as if her work needs extensive translation.

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I agree with most of it*, but I still think the relationship stands because when we are talking about "classical," we are usually actually talking about neo-classical, and means and ends of a neo-classical education and a CM style education are more similar ....

I haven't had a chance to read the article yet, but I did want to share that it is a generalization to assume that most people discuss classical education in terms of neoclassical education. :)

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I haven't had a chance to read the article yet, but I did want to share that it is a generalization to assume that most people discuss classical education in terms of neoclassical education. :)

In this board that is exactly what we are talking about most of the time, 8, unless specifically said otherwise because SAYERS, on whose work twtm methodology is based, is top dog around the place. It would be weird to generalize otherwise on __twtm__ forum.

 

:)

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In this board that is exactly what we are talking about most of the time, 8, unless specifically said otherwise because SAYERS, on whose work twtm methodology is based, is top dog around the place. It would be weird to generalize otherwise on __twtm__ forum.

 

:)

I don't know. We have some really interesting discussions about this topic on the forums. ;)

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I don't know. We have some really interesting discussions about this topic on the forums. ;)

 

Yes, it's always specifically relegated to distict threads, yes?

 

Meanwhile, twtm paradigm is assumed in general conversation.

 

And, in any case, as it relates to the OP of this thread, I maintain my assertion that the comparison can reasonably  stand, misgivings about Glass' work notwithstanding.

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I've read this article before, as well as another on the website about the Glass book, by a classicist.

 

I have tended to agree, and I would even do so if we talked about "neoclassical" education.  The difficulty is IMO that classical and neoclassical are really not all that well defined, or sometimes even thought out.  Both can mean something like "traditional" related to classical studies, or some combination of elements.  Sayer's essay is just not enough to carry a whole philosophy of education.  Very often it seems like a method without a clear set of principles, or several different ideas put together without really looking to fit them together.

 

I think in the end, the best way to describe classical education is often "in the western tradition" and it's at that level one can also place Charlotte Mason. 

 

I enjoyed the Glass book simply because it seems to be one of the few attempts to treat CM analytically, but I thought that her goal was wrongheaded to start and ultimately failed.  And she relegated the Christian basis of Mason's work to the back-burner which never made any sense to me since Mason always explicitly saw it as the basis for her thinking. 

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Maybe it's not surprising since I'm apparently an adherent of a "Platonized church," but this really clarified my issues with Charlotte Mason. 

 

I'm not so sure, I thought that part of the article was fairly dodgy - I don't know what the religious background of the author is, but I would say CM was also an adherent of a "platonized church."  She was I believe very influenced by the Oxford Movement.

 

For whatever reason is seems like a lot of CM people in the US are not very close to her religious perspective and I think they tend to misunderstand it.

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Holy cow that was long. You were not kidding! I didn't make it all the way through the comments, even though they were so good. Someday when I've had eight hours of sleep. One part that really jumped out at me was his assertion that you had to do CM all or nothing -- never heard anyone say that before! I wonder what he thinks is going to happen to my kids since I do textbooks AND narration from living books? ðŸ˜

The part on synthetic knowledge was intereting too, that's the part of Glass I liked the least.

I agree about the "all or nothing". That claim has never made sense to me.

 

It was an interesting critique, and the comments were especially interesting.

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Maybe it's not surprising since I'm apparently an adherent of a "Platonized church," but this really clarified my issues with Charlotte Mason. 

 

:laugh:  Can I say that I love this forum for the fact that posts consisting of that sentence exist?

 

I haven't finished reading everything in that link (!!!). But I understand why Perrin was pushing back on the charges that CE/CCE was too Platonist, too pagan, too elitist, too....only designed to educate boys(?).

 

I grew up on the "homeschooling to save your dirty soul" method, so I do appreciate CM for balancing it with the "children are persons" idea. I think some CM people see CCE as continuing the "dirty soul" idea, and among some of the more extreme Reformed CCE'ers I think they have a point.

 

I'm pretty "purely" CE (if you count LCC as being less "neo" and more "classical"), and we're a family of Platonists (Christian neo-Platonists, I suppose, if you want to get technical). I haven't investigated CM much because it's pretty obvious that the CM-method (as I see on AO and also other CM-inspired curriculum) would never fly with oldest. I got twtichy when I read some of the comments which suggested that CM was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Maybe in a general sense we evaluate her thoughts on education and children and compare them to classic theological anthropology and see that she is making some true theological statements. But I got the feeling that the author of the article thinks that CM is the divinely-inspired method of Christian education, and that the medieval education system was completely wrong for even trying to combine the old pagan education with Christianity.  :confused1:

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I can see how she would appeal more to that type of Protestant though. Though I remember her being explicitly Christian, I don't remember any talk of a litugical year or the saints or other "high church" type things. It seemed to be solely about a personal relationship, Bible reading, and morality. It's been quite a while though. Could you tell me more about the CM and the Oxford movement?

 

So - the thing to start with I guess is that the Church of England, and Anglicanism, is a liturgical church.  And at the time CM lived, we are talking prior to the liturgical reforms found in many groups during the 20th century, so CofE meant the Book of Common Prayer.

 

There were variations in practice, so some groups would have much more emphasis on things like saints or the Eucharist (though it was common in a lot of catholic/apostolic groups then for far fewer people to take communion on a weekly basis) but they were all constrained by the liturgy of the prayer book.   From the POV of Mason, I think the thing to remember is that she would not very likely have been wanting to tell people how they should practice the details of religious instruction since her students could come from a variety of backgrounds and would have their own religious instructors - her interest was in how the soul needed to be treated in terms of education more generally.

 

To understand CM and her religious perspective, really you have to start by assuming the theology of the BCP.  She is a very classical Anglican in that everything she says about theology comes out of that kind of perspective.

 

Which is simply not in line with the kinds of things American Evangelicals believe.  To some extent I'd say that saints  and such are the window dressing there - more important is the view of the person as fundamentally good, the idea that Christ's work was for all, no real truck with some Calvinist ideas like total depravity or the way they think about the elect and the reprobate.  I find in discussions of CM these things often pass unnoticed though they are to me obvious.  What more often gets mentioned is her view on how nature and revelation fit together, especially with regard to things like evolution - somehow there is an idea that she really didn't know her own mind among many of the evangelicals, and would think differently today.  She reads Scripture in a way that is really alien to fundamentalism, and that seems like a really incredible claim to me, made by people who don't actually realize her model for reading is quite different from theirs.

 

The Oxford movement was a sort of reinvigoration of Anglicanism with some practices and ways of thinking which had been pushed by the wayside.  Many of the people who were important were fairly high church, but that is really about practice, they also became very interested in looking at theology with a longer perspective that went back to the early Church Fathers.  Early on after it became divided from Rome, there was a fair bit of back and forth on some theological points as to take them from a more Protestant or Catholic perspective within the English Church.  There ended up being a sort of compromise, and non-religious events also played a part.  But the Englightenment and other historical trends made for a period where the CofE was not in the greatest of spiritual health.  (As we see historically in the Church fairly often, things get a little in need of shaking up.)  In the end this happened in a few ways, one being the charismatic movement, but what ended up being more rich for Anglicanism itself was the Oxford movement.

 

Newman and Pusey were probably the most important members of the movement, which became very prominent for a time up into the 20th century.  It seems to have had a fair bit of influence for example on C.S. Lewis, who in practice was very middle of the road but theologically tended toward the Anglo-Catholic.

 

I've not seen in CM a lot of outright discussion of the Oxford movement, but her views of the person, her view especially of art and how it relates to the soul, her interest in social justice, all seem to be very much along the lines of what one sees from the Tractarian writers.  THis is my own observation though, as someone who is really an Oxford movement Anglican.

 

There is a book called Charlotte Mason: Hidden Heritage and Educational Influence that seems to link her more specifically to the Oxford Movement and Tractarians, but I've never been able to get hold of it.

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I agree about the "all or nothing". That claim has never made sense to me.

 

It was an interesting critique, and the comments were especially interesting.

 

It might make a difference to think of it in terms of principles rather than particular practices.

 

If you accept the principle that children are persons, you can't then go on and teach them as if they are computers.  If you think that the mind teaches itself and the teacher is a facilitator (and one who should attempt not to come between the child and the material), you aren't going to go in for some kinds of teaching practices.  If you think that humans have an inborn yearning and desire for beauthy and truth, or that God has already saved all, you are not going to mistrust material creation as a way to relate to God, and you will understand why space for trust is important in education.

 

Text books vs other books is an idea that comes out of the principles, but may be more or less practical in some circumstances, or not always follow the usual pattern, or which will be different depending on age and the purpose of the book.  Practice may vary based on a lot of things, but to a large extent the principles form a kind of coherent whole, a view of person/God/nature that is the core of CMs thinking.

 

There are some other educational philosophies that is true of, but lots where it isn't too. 

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I am so thankful for such an interesting thread.  I have wavered between Christian Classical Education and Charlotte Mason for three years.  In practice, a lot of her suggestions work for us, and reading her work has made me a better mother for sure, but I always feel defensive when I read her work.  By that I mean, I am on guard.  I feel like I am panning for gold.  I have to stop and filter through every three sentences sometimes!  Bluegoat probably nailed down why--something I haven't verbalized well when trying to express this in our CM book study group, but there are assumptions that ring false to me, and the whole philosophy is based on that.

 

I have wondered how much of her writing is so difficult for us to interpret fully because she was writing to her contemporaries, who also understood some references she made.  For example, she writes in more than one place that she is only writing about what needs to be reformed, but that some subjects were being handled well, therefore she would not be addressing them. WOW! Let's unpack that!  What was being done well?  Latin instruction? Math at older grades?  (I apologize for not being able to give the reference to book and page on this, but I know I was struck by it when we studied it.)  So now, CM curricula tend to under-develop these areas because they are not emphasized in her writing.  I am not an expert; I am just wondering.  Thoughts?

 

I attended a conference where Nancy Kelley (Kelly?) spoke a few years ago, and it was affirmed there that CM claimed it needed to be all or nothing with her methods--that a partial practice would not yield the same results.  I don't think Chris Perrin made that assertion alone:)

 

I continue to use CM for art appreciation, music appreciation, hymn study, poet study, using maps  to introduce a person we are studying, and narration.  I see all that bearing fruit.  I cannot get on board with her approach to teaching reading, and therefore cannot follow AO or similar reading schedules.  I start Latin in 2nd grade with Memoria Press, because I think it must have been one of the things being "done right."  If you look at her list of attainments for a 12 year-old, reading Latin is listed, so the systematic instruction must have been going on for years.  Thoughts on this?

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I am so thankful for such an interesting thread. I have wavered between Christian Classical Education and Charlotte Mason for three years. In practice, a lot of her suggestions work for us, and reading her work has made me a better mother for sure, but I always feel defensive when I read her work. By that I mean, I am on guard. I feel like I am panning for gold. I have to stop and filter through every three sentences sometimes! Bluegoat probably nailed down why--something I haven't verbalized well when trying to express this in our CM book study group, but there are assumptions that ring false to me, and the whole philosophy is based on that.

 

I have wondered how much of her writing is so difficult for us to interpret fully because she was writing to her contemporaries, who also understood some references she made. For example, she writes in more than one place that she is only writing about what needs to be reformed, but that some subjects were being handled well, therefore she would not be addressing them. WOW! Let's unpack that! What was being done well? Latin instruction? Math at older grades? (I apologize for not being able to give the reference to book and page on this, but I know I was struck by it when we studied it.) So now, CM curricula tend to under-develop these areas because they are not emphasized in her writing. I am not an expert; I am just wondering. Thoughts?

 

I attended a conference where Nancy Kelley (Kelly?) spoke a few years ago, and it was affirmed there that CM claimed it needed to be all or nothing with her methods--that a partial practice would not yield the same results. I don't think Chris Perrin made that assertion alone:)

 

I continue to use CM for art appreciation, music appreciation, hymn study, poet study, using maps to introduce a person we are studying, and narration. I see all that bearing fruit. I cannot get on board with her approach to teaching reading, and therefore cannot follow AO or similar reading schedules. I start Latin in 2nd grade with Memoria Press, because I think it must have been one of the things being "done right." If you look at her list of attainments for a 12 year-old, reading Latin is listed, so the systematic instruction must have been going on for years. Thoughts on this?

All of this rings true for me as well. I was immediately drawn to CM when we first started homeschooling three years ago but have gradually moved to the Classical (Circe, LCC) camp. While I still see the beauty in a CM education regarding artist study, Shakespeare, nature study, handicrafts, etc. the core principles have not proven true in all cases for our family. Narration is almost impossible for my aspie son, and prefect attention after one reading has not proven true as well. We have also had to use a thorough phonics approach to reading; CM's reading methods didn't work for us. I love the respect for the child as a person in CM's writings but at the end of the day we have had to adjust to what works for us.

 

I agree with Art's assessment of Consider This, it seems to me that what some are doing is a hybrid of CM and classical and therefore cannot be called "true CM" at that point. Despite the warnings of "all or nothing" we have taken what we can use from her principles and combined them with LCC. We cannot call ourselves true CM and I'm ok with that.

 

I suppose one could teach a classical curriculum using CM's principles fully; but still, as Art has said, CM didn't organize her curriculum around the seven liberal arts so there is a clear departure there.

 

I've really enjoyed the long read on the CMI site and the discussion here. Hope to hear more thoughts!

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I am so thankful for such an interesting thread.  I have wavered between Christian Classical Education and Charlotte Mason for three years.  In practice, a lot of her suggestions work for us, and reading her work has made me a better mother for sure, but I always feel defensive when I read her work.  By that I mean, I am on guard.  I feel like I am panning for gold.  I have to stop and filter through every three sentences sometimes!  Bluegoat probably nailed down why--something I haven't verbalized well when trying to express this in our CM book study group, but there are assumptions that ring false to me, and the whole philosophy is based on that.

 

I have wondered how much of her writing is so difficult for us to interpret fully because she was writing to her contemporaries, who also understood some references she made.  For example, she writes in more than one place that she is only writing about what needs to be reformed, but that some subjects were being handled well, therefore she would not be addressing them. WOW! Let's unpack that!  What was being done well?  Latin instruction? Math at older grades?  (I apologize for not being able to give the reference to book and page on this, but I know I was struck by it when we studied it.)  So now, CM curricula tend to under-develop these areas because they are not emphasized in her writing.  I am not an expert; I am just wondering.  Thoughts?

 

I attended a conference where Nancy Kelley (Kelly?) spoke a few years ago, and it was affirmed there that CM claimed it needed to be all or nothing with her methods--that a partial practice would not yield the same results.  I don't think Chris Perrin made that assertion alone:)

 

I continue to use CM for art appreciation, music appreciation, hymn study, poet study, using maps  to introduce a person we are studying, and narration.  I see all that bearing fruit.  I cannot get on board with her approach to teaching reading, and therefore cannot follow AO or similar reading schedules.  I start Latin in 2nd grade with Memoria Press, because I think it must have been one of the things being "done right."  If you look at her list of attainments for a 12 year-old, reading Latin is listed, so the systematic instruction must have been going on for years.  Thoughts on this?

 

 

As far as being done right - no, I don't think she thought Latin was being taught well at all.  Her criticism was essentially that it was being taught as a sort of logic exercise, rather than as a language that would give access to any important ideas or writing.  The children (boys really) who learned it spent years on grammar and such without ever spending much time reading or really thinking about Latin lit.  She seemed to feel that if that was going to be the outcome it would actually be better to just read in translation.

 

She did however feel that there were new math programs that were very good, and so she didn't try to recreate that work.  So if you want to see what kind of instruction she liked beyond some basic ideas and things like schedules and such, you need to look at the texts she was choosing for her classes and other people she was referring to for math instruction.

 

 

ETA - But, I would never call any method of instruction a principle of her system.  Narration might be the closest but it still rests on other more basic ideas.  Any particular form of instruction is an application, not a principle, and the inclusion of particular subjects as well.

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I am so thankful for such an interesting thread. I have wavered between Christian Classical Education and Charlotte Mason for three years. In practice, a lot of her suggestions work for us, and reading her work has made me a better mother for sure, but I always feel defensive when I read her work. By that I mean, I am on guard. I feel like I am panning for gold. I have to stop and filter through every three sentences sometimes! Bluegoat probably nailed down why--something I haven't verbalized well when trying to express this in our CM book study group, but there are assumptions that ring false to me, and the whole philosophy is based on that.

 

I have wondered how much of her writing is so difficult for us to interpret fully because she was writing to her contemporaries, who also understood some references she made. For example, she writes in more than one place that she is only writing about what needs to be reformed, but that some subjects were being handled well, therefore she would not be addressing them. WOW! Let's unpack that! What was being done well? Latin instruction? Math at older grades? (I apologize for not being able to give the reference to book and page on this, but I know I was struck by it when we studied it.) So now, CM curricula tend to under-develop these areas because they are not emphasized in her writing. I am not an expert; I am just wondering. Thoughts?

 

I attended a conference where Nancy Kelley (Kelly?) spoke a few years ago, and it was affirmed there that CM claimed it needed to be all or nothing with her methods--that a partial practice would not yield the same results. I don't think Chris Perrin made that assertion alone:)

 

I continue to use CM for art appreciation, music appreciation, hymn study, poet study, using maps to introduce a person we are studying, and narration. I see all that bearing fruit. I cannot get on board with her approach to teaching reading, and therefore cannot follow AO or similar reading schedules. I start Latin in 2nd grade with Memoria Press, because I think it must have been one of the things being "done right." If you look at her list of attainments for a 12 year-old, reading Latin is listed, so the systematic instruction must have been going on for years. Thoughts on this?

Excellent thoughts.
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If I had to describe myself as a homeschooler, I would say that I lean most closely toward CM. But, oh my goodness, she was not diety. So when a conversation takes a turn that hints of her words being inspired (not on this board), I get uncomfortable.

 

While I am far from an expert on her actual writings, I am always surprised at how much seems to be misinterpreted. For instance, I always remember the thread here that contained pages from the actual grammar lessons that she herself wrote, and it sounded surprisingly similar to R&S, despite the claims that all grammar must be organically from literature. And the fact that her own geography reader contained, gasp, comprehension questions.

 

I'm not sure exactly where I am going with this.😊 other than to say that I use her methods where they make sense for us. I don't see why it matters to claim to be a purist or not. To me, it starts to hint at a cult at that point rather than an educational philosophy.

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If I had to describe myself as a homeschooler, I would say that I lean most closely toward CM. But, oh my goodness, she was not diety. So when a conversation takes a turn that hints of her words being inspired (not on this board), I get uncomfortable.

 

While I am far from an expert on her actual writings, I am always surprised at how much seems to be misinterpreted. For instance, I always remember the thread here that contained pages from the actual grammar lessons that she herself wrote, and it sounded surprisingly similar to R&S, despite the claims that all grammar must be organically from literature. And the fact that her own geography reader contained, gasp, comprehension questions.

 

I'm not sure exactly where I am going with this.😊 other than to say that I use her methods where they make sense for us. I don't see why it matters to claim to be a purist or not. To me, it starts to hint at a cult at that point rather than an educational philosophy.

 

Yes, some of that sort of thing can be odd.  I think her reading approach looks pretty middle of the road - a lot like many mixed phonics/whole language approaches while trying to root that in real reading, which a lot of neoclassical resources do.  I'm always surprised that people think of it as so far out.

 

I don't think I've ever had the impression though that with a student who was having problems with a particular method, the PNEU schools would not try to just find a different method that worked.  Where you might run into problems is if someone wanted to introduce a method that was felt to undermine education in a more basic way, even if it seemed effective in the short term.  Something like Classical Conversations, it's always seemed to me, would be rather directly opposed to her way of thinking about the purpose and meaning of being educated, no matter how much the student managed to memorize.

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Thanks for posting. I enjoyed it, and it reminded me why I loved my time doing CM so much. 

 

Seriously, she had me at 'children are born persons'. 

 

Interestingly, I never believed that CM was 'classical' in approach. Is this is a new thing ? (My CM readings were from - idk - a decade ago ?)

 

 

And now I am off to check out Charlotte Mason, which I have to this point completely ignored.

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OP here. When I read Consider This a year or two ago, I greatly enjoyed it and learned more about Charlotte Mason than I had in any earlier readings. However, I was not convinced by the book that a CM ed was classical. The connections just felt too forced and tenuous. I actually was less convinced than before.

 
This article sort of filled in the blanks for me. The author is a true purist, and sometimes it takes a purist to point out the inconsistencies. 
 
When it comes to educating my own however, I am not a purist. I never feel comfortable describing myself as a "classical educator" nor a "Charlotte Mason educator." I always say "classical/CM." Even though I tend to agree with Middlekauff on the premise of Consider This, I come down more on the "side" of Glass and Perrin in practice. I don't need to be ashamed that I'm not pure CM. I am fine with calling it a hybrid. The way I see it, we are standing on the shoulders of giants.
 
I read Beauty in the Word by Caldecott right after reading this article. I was startled to see that he placed CM in the camp of early progressive educators for many of the same beliefs that Middlekauff emphasized. 
 
I feel like this article, and the comments, and BitW, helped clarify labels a bit for me, and ironically, helped me let go of those labels just a little bit more.
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OP here. When I read Consider This a year or two ago, I greatly enjoyed it and learned more about Charlotte Mason than I had in any earlier readings. However, I was not convinced by the book that a CM ed was classical. The connections just felt too forced and tenuous. I actually was less convinced than before.

 
This article sort of filled in the blanks for me. The author is a true purist, and sometimes it takes a purist to point out the inconsistencies. 
 
When it comes to educating my own however, I am not a purist. I never feel comfortable describing myself as a "classical educator" nor a "Charlotte Mason educator." I always say "classical/CM." Even though I tend to agree with Middlekauff on the premise of Consider This, I come down more on the "side" of Glass and Perrin in practice. I don't need to be ashamed that I'm not pure CM. I am fine with calling it a hybrid. The way I see it, we are standing on the shoulders of giants.
 
I read Beauty in the Word by Caldecott right after reading this article. I was startled to see that he placed CM in the camp of early progressive educators for many of the same beliefs that Middlekauff emphasized. 
 
I feel like this article, and the comments, and BitW, helped clarify labels a bit for me, and ironically, helped me let go of those labels just a little bit more.

 

 

Regarding the first bolded: I came here to this thread to thank you for sharing the article. I was able to learn more about what a CM education looks and feels like more than my, admittedly, not-so-organized research in CM. 

 

Re: the second bolded: this book looks like something I'd love to read. Do you feel that non-Catholics would get something out of it?

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Re: the second bolded: this book looks like something I'd love to read. Do you feel that non-Catholics would get something out of it?

 

I am non-Catholic, and it was recommended by a non-Catholic, Cindy Rollins, in Mere Motherhood. I would say one third of the book is from a strong Catholic perspective, one third is pretty high philosophy, too high for my poor brain much of the time, and the remaining third is quite lovely and accessible for anyone interested in education. I enjoyed the first chapter which is an overview of education. Cindy R. recommends the chapter on the art of Grammar in the Trivium, where the author emphasizes memory over rote memorization. 

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The blog post the OP refers to was really in full swing late last spring and early summer (if my memory serves) and I read every bit of it-- it was fascinating! The thing Christopher Perrin and others kept missing was that Art was arguing something very specific... he was arguing (and I think thoroughly and persuasively) that Karen Glass is in error in her book, 'Consider This' when she argues that Charlotte Mason's ideas and principles flow directly from classical roots. That was the premise of her book and Art directly refutes it in his article.

 

What others went on to argue was that Art was somehow missing the point... he didn't understand Classical Ed and therefore couldn't see the ways it overlaps with CM. But he wasn't arguing about overlap, he was arguing about roots. I agreed with his core argument and I had read Glass' book.

 

Now, you can tell from some of his posts that he doesn't really care to discover overlap either, and that he believes trying to merge these two big educational philosophies only serves to water them both down. Charlotte Mason herself and other purists believe that her approaches and methods should be applied fully, that you don't "sprinkle on" a bit of narration here, some picture study there, some nature walks, and wind up with a Charlotte Mason education.

 

My take is that the overlap is interesting. If there is truth in both approaches, then without a doubt you can find that overlap and apply it well. I think it would make an excellent book and I wish Karen Glass had approached it that way.

 

In using these methods, we are all trying to resurrect something that's been hidden for a long time. The question is always, 'how can we give an education that we didn't ourselves receive, and how can we even understand and use these methods that were dormant for so long?' We are in the early stages of rediscovering it all and I think that's fun and exciting, though extremely challenging. Homeschoolers are really in the trenches trying to figure all this out and make it work in the real world, with our very real children. 

 

So it's okay that there are 'purists' and 'camps' and 'experts' and 'critics'. That's all just a part of the recovery process. My job is to read, read, read, and glean what I can using my own mind, my own convictions, and my own needs for my daughter's education. 

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I really wish someone would write a book about what CM's core teachings actually were, in an analytical and integrated kind of way.  Because yes, it really isn't just about using narration at times or adding some art and nature study.  The Glass book is really the closest to that I've seen but that isn't really what it is trying to do, so it isn't really fully fleshed.

 

It always reminds me of the idea that Waldorf is about delaying reading, bees wax crayons, and seasonal projects.  No, there are reasons those things are done that are not just about aesthetics or being worried about toxins or wanting to respect natural systems.

 

 

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I really wish someone would write a book about what CM's core teachings actually were, in an analytical and integrated kind of way.  Because yes, it really isn't just about using narration at times or adding some art and nature study.  The Glass book is really the closest to that I've seen but that isn't really what it is trying to do, so it isn't really fully fleshed.

 

It always reminds me of the idea that Waldorf is about delaying reading, bees wax crayons, and seasonal projects.  No, there are reasons those things are done that are not just about aesthetics or being worried about toxins or wanting to respect natural systems.

 

I've read some of CM's Original Series, and you can't do better than the source... but if you don't have time for all that, I recommend Simply Charlotte Mason-- there's good basic starting info with lots of quotes from CM. I also like A Mind in the Light as a good way to blend CM and classical. She just put up a great document covering narration:

 

http://www.amindinthelight.com/bookstore

 

I like that she draws right from the source-- CM herself and PNEU articles.

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I've read some of CM's Original Series, and you can't do better than the source... but if you don't have time for all that, I recommend Simply Charlotte Mason-- there's good basic starting info with lots of quotes from CM. I also like A Mind in the Light as a good way to blend CM and classical. She just put up a great document covering narration:

 

http://www.amindinthelight.com/bookstore

 

I like that she draws right from the source-- CM herself and PNEU articles.

 

I don't think reading CM is quite the same as an analyis of her thinking.  Certainly many people seem to read her and yet don't really see what she is getting at. 

 

I don't really think I've ever seen anything very in depth at SCM, though I have enjoyed her posts and such, and I saw he speak at a conference a few years ago and also enjoyed that.  But there isn't anything systematic.  And her religious views are different enough that I don't really think she is on quite the same page as Mason.

 

Essentially I find most of the overviews are explaining things mostly in terms of her methods and a fairly surface approach to her principles, without trying to really draw out how it all fits together.  The better or more in depth sources tend not to be systematic but almost narrative - this is how a class would work.  Which makes sense to some extent but I think it leaves something missing, and many people seem to misunderstand the reasons for doing things a particular way.

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I'm sorry but I continue to not understand why people want to educate LIKE CM EDUCATED*, but do not just read her books. They are written in English.

 

*Or, rather, how she advised others to educate...

Edited by OKBud
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I'm sorry but I continue to not understand why people want to educate LIKE CM EDUCATED*, but do not just read her books. They are written in English.

 

*Or, rather, how she advised others to educate...

 

I think people increasingly find that the Victorian prose style is alien, and takes quite a lot of effort to follow the argument.  Writing styles now has become so terse and utilitarian in many cases, and in her writing you really need to follow the argument through a fair bit of writing and pull the parts together yourself. 

 

I think even 50 years ago many people would easily read something like CM or Chesterton and it would seem quite natural, but that is no longer the case, it is becoming a skill to read those authors.

 

Many people I suspect find there are large parts of her writing that aren't applicable to their situation directly but still require reading in order to hold the whole thing together. And it isn't always easy to find what it is that is applicable - it isn't indexed in the way a modern book would be.

 

Apart from that,  the context of what she is saying is something her readers probably understood implicitly in many cases, but isn't obvious to modern readers.  So when she talks about math instruction, what was she coming from?  What were the expectations in classrooms more generally, what did an Anglican with her education take for granted as a theological basis?

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I think people increasingly find that the Victorian prose style is alien, and takes quite a lot of effort to follow the argument.  Writing styles now has become so terse and utilitarian in many cases, and in her writing you really need to follow the argument through a fair bit of writing and pull the parts together yourself. 

 

I think even 50 years ago many people would easily read something like CM or Chesterton and it would seem quite natural, but that is no longer the case, it is becoming a skill to read those authors.

 

Many people I suspect find there are large parts of her writing that aren't applicable to their situation directly but still require reading in order to hold the whole thing together. And it isn't always easy to find what it is that is applicable - it isn't indexed in the way a modern book would be.

 

Apart from that,  the context of what she is saying is something her readers probably understood implicitly in many cases, but isn't obvious to modern readers.  So when she talks about math instruction, what was she coming from?  What were the expectations in classrooms more generally, what did an Anglican with her education take for granted as a theological basis?

 

Well, I know. BUT.

But....

 

If you "can't" read CM, teach some other way ykwim?

 

No, that's not right.

 

Let me try again: If you want to educate using methods by people who have interpreted CM for themselves and their audience DO THAT. It's valid. It's legit. You don't have to dress it up. The homeschool po-lice won't come-a knockin' at midnight.

 

But don't say "CM said XYZ so that's what we do." Naw...."SCM or HUFI or AO or Perrin or Glass said..."

 

:::flame proof suit::: it don't hurt :gnorsi:

 

And 98% of people, even when they DO understand, thoroughly and truly, CM...and love every last word of it (even the contradictions :coolgleamA: ) will still end up doing their own thing, probably with CM principles in mind. Just...I dunno. KNOW that that is what you are doing!

 

The bolded is I think interesting. But only to people that have read at least the 6 volume series already and just love to geek out on Education and/or CM. IOW I'd say there ar two things missing in most CM conversations...people who've READ CM, as I've said, and people who have some kind of basis for understanding CM as she was, as you've said.

Edited by OKBud
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Well, I know. BUT.

But....

 

If you "can't" read CM, teach some other way ykwim?

 

No, that's not right.

 

Let me try again: If you want to educate using methods by people who have interpreted CM for themselves and their audience DO THAT. It's valid. It's legit. You don't have to dress it up. The homeschool po-lice won't come-a knockin' at midnight.

 

But don't say "CM said XYZ so that's what we do." Naw...."SCM or HUFI or AO or Perrin or Glass said..."

 

:::flame proof suit::: it don't hurt :gnorsi:

 

And 98% of people, even when they DO understand, thoroughly and truly, CM...and love every last word of it (even the contradictions :coolgleamA: ) will still end up doing their own thing, probably with CM principles in mind. Just...I dunno. KNOW that that is what you are doing!

 

The bolded is I think interesting. But only to people that have read at least the 6 volume series already and just love to geek out on Education and/or CM. IOW I'd say there ar two things missing in most CM conversations...people who've READ CM, as I've said, and people who have some kind of basis for understanding CM as she was, as you've said.

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Well, I know. BUT.

But....

 

If you "can't" read CM, teach some other way ykwim?

 

No, that's not right.

 

Let me try again: If you want to educate using methods by people who have interpreted CM for themselves and their audience DO THAT. It's valid. It's legit. You don't have to dress it up. The homeschool po-lice won't come-a knockin' at midnight.

 

But don't say "CM said XYZ so that's what we do." Naw...."SCM or HUFI or AO or Perrin or Glass said..."

 

:::flame proof suit::: it don't hurt :gnorsi:

 

And 98% of people, even when they DO understand, thoroughly and truly, CM...and love every last word of it (even the contradictions :coolgleamA: ) will still end up doing their own thing, probably with CM principles in mind. Just...I dunno. KNOW that that is what you are doing!

 

The bolded is I think interesting. But only to people that have read at least the 6 volume series already and just love to geek out on Education and/or CM. IOW I'd say there ar two things missing in most CM conversations...people who've READ CM, as I've said, and people who have some kind of basis for understanding CM as she was, as you've said.

 

I don't know that it is either or though - either you just read her books, or you read some interpreter.  Just like any book, reading other articles, guides, collecting information, and so on, can serve as a way to access the original books and increase understanding.

 

You could just read The Divine Comedy and get something out of it.  You would likely get a lot more out of it, as a modern, non-expert reader, if you also read some notes or commentary or scholarly sources.  People sometimes need something like a key to access a text, to get started.

 

The other aspect of that is, for me, CMs books aren't actually the only source that we have for her thinking and methods.  Some of the commentators out there have worked at her schools, some met her, and so on.  There was a lady at my church who was educated entirely in CM schools.  Those people can also provide a lot of insight into things that are said in her books, sometimes things she changed her mind about, and so on.  Looking at things like the PNEU articles can often be quite enlightening.

 

Practically speaking, most homeschoolers are not going to be able to become scholars about the basic method they use in a short time, whether they are using CM, classical methods, Montessori, or even mainstream teaching methods.  It can take years of study to get to the heart of those things.  (I'm not sure I know any Waldorf parents, including a few whose kids go to Waldorf schools, that actually have read much of Steiner.)  A lot of people interested in CM seem to start out with commentators and then later move on to her own books.

 

I always feel that "classical" homeschooling is really more all over the place with this than CM is - at least people following interpreters of CM seem to have a sense of where their ideas are coming from.  Classical homeschoolers are all over the place, often without much sense of what the classical tradition is or means, even to their own homeschool.  That's mainly because it isn't such a discrete thing, it is hard to define for people and includes many different approaches and viewpoints, but it leads to people identifying some very minor things as important to "classical" education.  ETA - in fact the problems I had with the Glass book were as much about how she defined classical education as her treatment of CM.

Edited by Bluegoat
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I don't know that it is either or though - either you just read her books, or you read some interpreter. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obviously no one stops reading after reading her books.

 

Obviously it's not a prerequisite to read the original before reading an interpretation.

 

But if you are going to interpret CM for yourself (and then talk about it), you had better read what the woman wrote. One can not interpret what one has not seen.

 

"I've never read CM, but she..." <<----- Nope.

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I'm sorry but I continue to not understand why people want to educate LIKE CM EDUCATED*, but do not just read her books. They are written in English.

 

*Or, rather, how she advised others to educate...

Can you share some examples of this? I'm just curious. The examples that come to my mind are grammar and writing.

 

Have you spent time comparing her Original Series with the PNEU articles and other sources? 

 

I know others have critiqued her inconsistencies. I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

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Can you share some examples of this? I'm just curious. The examples that come to my mind are grammar and writing.

 

Have you spent time comparing her Original Series with the PNEU articles and other sources? 

 

I know others have critiqued her inconsistencies. I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

 

I'm sorry, I don't understand what you are asking.

 

I said that people who want to know how CM advised people to educate should read the advice she gave.

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I had a hard time with some of CM's writings, not because of the language, but because of the allusions to Victorian thought and current issues.   I'm sure they were understandable to readers of her time and social class, but to me, some of them were puzzling and required considerable research.  And I had already read a fair amount about that era, and even studied it a bit in college.  

 

Beyond that, there's a bigger issue.  In books on education, there's a lot that isn't made explicit, because it's taken for granted.  No educational reformers actually start completely from scratch; they all carry over a great deal from the normative practices of their time, whether consciously or unconsciously.  And many of these unspoken parts are at the very core of their method.  This is even true of Montessori, whose reforms were much more fundamental and well-documented than CM's.

 

Many times, we don't notice this situation until we try applying the method in practice, and realize that there are large gaps in our understanding of "what to do."   Other times, we forge ahead, unconsciously filling in any gaps with our own default assumptions -- only realizing much later, if ever, that what we're doing doesn't resemble the original in some fundamental way.  (I think the latter would describe all of today's standard approaches to "classical homeschooling," for example.)

 

So it seems to me that we do need interpreters -- or, more precisely, an interpretive tradition -- for the fullest understanding of what these authors really meant, and how we can apply it today.   From what I've seen, the PNEU and related organizations would figure prominently there.  And I'd go so far as to say that we'd understand CM better from talking to some of their leading figures, and reading a limited selection of her writings, than from reading her entire series without the context that they can provide.

 

(NB, I'm not presenting either option as an ideal!  If someone intends to write a book, or train others, they would do well to be thoroughly familiar with both.)

Edited by ElizaG
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I'm sorry, I don't understand what you are asking.

 

I said that people who want to know how CM advised people to educate should read the advice she gave.

 

You implied that how she advised people to educate was different than how she actually educated. Just curious if that's what you meant and if so, what examples of this have you found?

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You implied that how she advised people to educate was different than how she actually educated. Just curious if that's what you meant and if so, what examples of this have you found?

 

Her direct instruction of children was almost exclusively done at the school she worked at, right? Davyson or Davison or something like that iirc.

 

She developed her own ideas about teaching little ones, being unhappy with the SOP at that school, which presumably was not markedly different than other schools in that time and place.

 

The majority of  her time as a teacher was spent as a teacher of teachers. I assume she spent plenty of time around LO's at that point, as well, but in a different role than direct instructor.

 

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, please.

 

And for sure, she was never a homeschooling mother.

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