|THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE PHILOSOPHY
(These are the overall beliefs of the Association in regards to the philosophy
of Charlotte Mason)
A. The 20 Principles of Education (summarized and paraphrased)
|- taken from the pamphlet entitled A Short Synopsis of
the Educational Philosophy Advanced by the Founder of the
Parents National Education Union
- Children are born persons.
- As persons they should not be labeled good or bad, but
have possibilities for both.
- Authority and obedience are fundamental principles having
their source in the authority of our Creator.
- This authority must never be abused to manipulate children
by guilt, influence, fear, or undue play upon any one natural
- Instead, the three educational instruments to teach
children are atmosphere of environment, the discipline of
habit, and the presentation of living ideas.
- "Education is an atmosphere," not a "child-environment," but
freedom to live real life under natural home conditions.
- "Education is a discipline" of habits of mind
and body that open the doors to learning and maturity.
- "Education is a life" that feeds upon spiritual,
intellectual, moral and physical sustenance.
- A child's mind is not a passive receptacle, but a ravenous
organism that feeds upon ideas.
- The "receptacle" view puts the stress of
education entirely on the influence, persuasion, and preparation
of the teacher.
- Instead, the belief that children have active powers
of mind to deal with vital knowledge given to them, allows
the teacher to serve a full curriculum of facts along with
their informing ideas, all the while trusting her Creator
rather than herself as the "showman of the universe."
- In serving a full curriculum, the teacher allows children
to have natural relations with many things, since "Education
is the Science of Relations." It is not the teacher's
business to teach all about anything, but to spread a feast
of physical exercises, mathematics, crafts, science, art,
living books, etc.
- This education does not distinguish between class,
race, wealth, or status, but requires that all children receive
much knowledge, a variety of courses, and information communicated
in well-chosen language.
- As knowledge is not assimilated until it is reproduced,
children must "tell back" orally or in writing
after a single reading or hearing.
- The single reading is vital to reinforce the child's
natural power of attention, and proves the educability of
children regardless of heredity, environment, or previous
- There are two guides to self-discipline in children: "The
way of the will" and "the way of the reason."
- "The way of the will" includes teaching children:
- a. to distinguish between desires (I want) and wise
choices (I will).
- b. to divert their thoughts from selfish desires.
- c. to divert those thoughts by thinking or doing some
other quite different, interesting thing.
- d. to then return, after this rest, to wise work of the
will with new vigor.
- e. to learn from failure as well as success.
- "The way of the reason" includes teaching
- a. that there are absolute truths of logic and reason
as demonstrated in mathematical truth.
- b. that men should not lean too confidently on their
own understanding and should recognize their fallibility.
- The chief responsibility which rests on us as persons
is to accept or reject ideas, and discern truth and falsehood.
Therefore education should provide principles of conduct
and knowledge to avert "loose thinking and heedless
- There is no separation between the intellectual or
spiritual life of children, but the divine Spirit is involved
in all the interests, duties, and joys of life.
B. The Cornerstone of the Philosophy
- Children are born Persons
- a. Made in the image of God and due the respect thereof
- b. Bearers of a sinful nature and due the discipline thereof
- c. Potential recipients of His redemption and due the love
- d. The crown of God's creation and due the expectations thereof
- The Principles Of Authority Over Children Are Natural,
Necessary And Fundamental:
- a. Natural since children need boundaries and standards in
order to learn and grow and adults are under authority as
- b. Necessary due to the sinful nature of mankind and the
need for discipline
- c. Fundamental because all earthly authority is under the
rule of God and invested by Him
- The Respect Due To Children Prevents The Encroachment
Of Authority Upon Their Personhood By:
- a. Manipulation by guilt, fear, or love of an individual
- b. Deliberate control of thinking by strong suggestion or
- c. Undue play upon any one natural desire
- Therefore, We Confirm Four Basic Pillars Upon Which
We Base Our Philosophy:
I. Education Is An Atmosphere
Not a "child's environment", but rather the formation
of proper conditions that takes into account the educational
value of his natural home atmosphere, acknowledges his due
respect as an imagebearer of God, and then expects him to think,
learn, and act in accordance with that truth.
II. Education Is An Discipline
The key to supplanting the weakness of will and forming character
in children is the discipline of habits formed definitely and
thoughtfully, both of mind and body. To a great degree education
is the formation of habits, all the while trusting Divine grace.
III. Education Is A Life
The mind of a child is not a sack to be stuffed full of information,
but an organism that feasts on ideas from all of life; thus
the child should have a full curriculum to fill his appetite
for knowledge, keeping in mind what subjects, intervals, and
recesses are necessary at his age to produce maximum growth.
IV. Education Is The Science Of Relations
The child has natural relations as a created being with a
number of things, thoughts, and people; therefore, we must
give him opportunity to build these relations to nature, handicrafts,
science, art and many living books.