BY: SIMONE SMITH
The importance of education has been spoken about time and time again; we all know that knowledge is power; we realize that without an education, life is a bit harder. What many of us do not realize is that our primary source of education is and was our parents and many of the actions and behaviors that are displayed in our lives are because of what we have learned from home.
Charlotte Mason (1842 -1923) was a pioneer in the field of education. Her focus was on parents who homeschooled their children, and she built her educational foundation on a concept of living books and real life experiences. She realized that the majority of what a child learns is visceral, meaning that our learning experiences relate to deep inward feelings rather than to the intellect. This allowed her to come up with her three-pronged approach to education: atmosphere, discipline, and life.
By atmosphere, Charlotte spoke of the environment that we grew up in. There are many ideas that rule our lives as we are growing up; these ideas revolve around race relations, religion, social class, etc. These ideas rule our lives, and the majorities of us carry these ideas into our adulthood and then pass them on to our children. The atmosphere can be either positive or negative; individuals who come from an atmosphere that was positive tend to have a better outlook on life and fair well in society. For those who have had to deal with a negative atmosphere growing up, do have a harder time, but with consistent effort, change is possible. YES! It is possible to move on from the circumstances that were presented to you when you were younger.
By discipline, Charlotte looked at the importance of training children by teaching the good habits; when I say teaching, I mean both verbally and in action. The old saying “Do what I say, not what I do,” is very damaging and can have a consequential effect on a child’s visceral learning. Remember, visceral means the deep inward feelings that a child is feeling. Can you imagine, or do you remember the confusion you felt when you heard these words? “So, mom yells at me about being more organized, but our house is a mess.” This is why it is important that as a parent, your words mirror your actions.
By life, Charlotte emphasized the importance of offering children living thought and not dry summaries of facts. This goes back to the behavior aspect of learning. It is important that we provide our children with real life scenarios; one way is helping them realize that there are consequences to all actions. This can be done in numerous ways; if there are disagreements in the home, a good idea is to hold council, or a meeting to discuss what has happened and to find a solution to the problem. Our children will face disagreements in their own lives, and if they are not given the tools in which to deal with these disagreements, they may fall back on habits that are archaic and useless. It is important that parents are aware of who they are and the deficits that they have in their character. The idea that, “More things are caught than taught,” helps us understand how impactful our behavior can be.
We must be careful how we live; we must stay conscious about how our attitudes and ideas will affect our children for the rest of their lives. Establish an atmosphere in your home that encourages freedom under authority and obedience; select books for your children that reinforce your priorities.
“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character.”