|Not this kind of flip-flop! I'm talking about a reversal of a stand or position.|
I know I've read these quotes many times before. You probably have, too. But after listening to yet another discussion on the difference between Mason's philosophy and other popular education models at the CLUSA conference, these quotes struck me anew. Look closely!
"Children will readily hang the mere facts upon the idea as upon a peg capable of sustaining all that it is needful to retain." Mason, Vol. 2, p. 277
or THIS one -
"It (the mind) is nourished upon ideas and absorbs facts only as these are connected with the living ideas upon which they hang." Mason, Vol. 6, p. 20
Did you catch that? Mason starts even the youngest child with ideas. She isn't working on getting the facts or rules into the child. This is a flip-flop from what we normally see, hear and do in education. I know that I've been conditioned to think the opposite way; that the pegs are the facts that we make sure the children have in place so that they have context for the ideas when we think they are old enough to understand them.
While an orderly and carefully planned curriculum is a must in a relational education, it isn't about absorbing facts or mastery of rules in every subject, even at the youngest age. It is about living thoughts and ideas, presented in literary form, even at the youngest age. I'd say that's quite the flip-flop.