Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Education Is

I am re-reading a book by Sonya Shafer called, Education is an Atmosphere, Discipline and Life.  It is based on Charlotte Mason's approach to homeschooling.  What does this concept mean?  When Charlotte Mason talks about atmosphere, she is referring to the home environment the child lives in. We must be very careful about our home environment.  We must ensure that we are setting a good example for our children because what they learn from us, they will take with them the rest of their lives, whether it be good or bad. Discipline  is training our children in good habits.We should take the utmost care to not allow bad habits to form. Charlotte describes discipline as train tracks the parent lays down in order for the child to travel easily into adulthood. The concept of education being Life is somewhat different than most approaches.  She believed that all information we give to our children should be living, not just dry pages in a book.  Yes, we give them instruction, but they need to see these lessons learned in action.  For example:  I was teaching my boys about solar energy and alternative living, so we made a solar oven out of two cardboard boxes, black construction paper, newspaper, aluminum foil and plastic and we used it to cook!!! Now, solar energy is living and real for them; not just something he read in a book.

These three concepts are so important and we must have a balance. The absence of either one will not produce a well-balanced child. If we only give the child the atmosphere, then the child will only learn what we already know. If we give them discipline only, they will have good character but be lacking in mental development and if we provide the child with academics only, we may raise intelligent delinquents.

Something to think about.  Our job is great, but so rewarding.