Sunday, January 2, 2011

What I like about Charlotte Mason education

I've been wanting to write a post on what I like about Charlotte Mason education for a while and why it could work well with Jewish education.  So here is a synopsis. 
a) Educating towards excellence by introducing the child only to the materials of highest quality and expecting excellence in their work.
b)Developing appreciation of nature through nature study and lots of outdoor time.
c)Developing  appreciation of beauty and attention to detail.
d)Short lessons suitable for young child's attention span.
e)Using living books, no twaddle.
f)Teaching with an eye on the big picture,  trying to introduce big ideas not just facts.
g)Very books based.
h)Handiwork that is aimed at developing particular skills and making something which is obviously useful and ideally beautiful.
i)Appreciation of history, again with the eye on the big picture.
CM education provides a rich framework, and while she herself had particular materials and books in mind, it's very adaptable to one's needs i.e. you can really plug in what you feel is appropriate, high quality, meaningful, etc.  So while most CM information online is provided with a very christian slant, the above points are infact very consistent with Jewish thought.  This inherent flexibility also makes it suitable for different types of kids, not just the very academic types. So just to go through the list in more detail. Obviously, we should strive for excellence to the best of our abilities and educate our children to do the same.  We should appreciate the beauty and grandeur of the world that G-d created.   Suitable art is not so difficult to find in the internet age even though one would have to make one's own collection and one could really use picture study techniques with any picture, painting or photograph one considers worthy.  We are encouraged by our sages to teach our children in the manner suitable to them.  Again, one has to be selective but one could find suitable living books that meet Jewish religious standards.  Both written and oral tradition of learning is very much part of traditional Jewish education.  And appreciating and learning from history is a Torah value and one can learn general history as it relates to Jewish history.   Narration and copywork could both be done in a Jewish context, with Jewish content, as well as the acceptable secular one. Handiwork can be organized around holidays, family events and such.  And of course, Jewish education is very much about thinking and ideas and the big picture, not just acquiring facts.  So this is why CM education appeals to me and why I try to incorporate some of these ideas in learning with my kids.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting! I'm going to read this at leisure in the morning... meanwhile, I just put together my own thoughts last night about Charlotte Mason vs other systems of education I've encountered. (on the occasion of her birthday!)