Feeling Their Feet and Small Things

Frederick Warren Freer  Mother and Child Reading
A wonderful quote came up in our book discussion on Mason's Volume 3, p. 38 about children "feeling their feet".  I love the picture that it paints in my mind.   I had an example of one of my children "feeling her feet"  just this past week.  While we were  learning about Wordsworth, a short explanation was given about sonnets and their form.  We read some of Wordsworth's sonnets throughout the week.  This then led my 11 year old dd who was staring out the window to state, "I want to write a sonnet"...and off she went.  No assignment, no nagging, all on her own.  When students are taught this way, this living education way, this will happen.  I think those who have been practicing with these methods for many years must have dozens of examples.  I do.  Here is Masons' quote that I enjoy so much.

The children's thought was stimulated, and they felt they had it in them to say much about a doll's ball, Peter the school cat, or whatever other subject struck their fancy. 'They felt their feet,' as the nurses say of children when they begin to walk; and our non-success in education is a good deal due to the fact that we carry children through their school work and do not let them feel their feet.

She goes on to talk about how we prod the children constantly and do not let them stand or fall by their own efforts.  She says we end up "depending upon prodders and encourage a vast system of prodding...and society falls into those who prod and those who are prodded...marks, prizes, exhibitions, are all prods; and a system of prodding is apt to obscure the meaning of must and ought for the boy of girl who gets into the habit of mental and moral lolling up against his prods."

Grades can be prods and so can nagging and reminders.  There is a better way and Mason shows us - helps us - so that our children can feel their feet and take joy in their self-education sans prods.  It begins with the small things. If you will be  near central Minnesota in a few weeks, we can talk about it face-to-face.  Please join me for the following  -

It will be from 1-5 p.m.  Contact Becky for more information at beckykapsner@yahoo.com .

From joy to joy,


  1. I love the thought behind "feeling their feet" and I am thankful you pointed it out. :-)

  2. Ah I love this! Thank you for posting it. I don't let my kids "feel their feet" enough, not only in education but in life in general.

  3. I have found that they remember so much more when they choose how to run the learning task.