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Parts and Passions: What to Look for in a Curriculum


Sometimes, after reading so much goodness out of Charlotte Mason's 6 volumes, I just want to write about the beauty and simplicity of her decidedly unique and innovative philosophy.  You know what I mean?  As when the most simple definition that you've read a dozen times before suddenly reveals a depth of meaning previously unrealized in your life?  That's what this post is about.

It comes from Volume 6, p. 157 where she is describing the curriculum and who the curriculum is to serve.  And if every homeschool parent or teacher were to grapple with this concept, this idea, I think that many people might go about the education of children in a different way.

Mason talks about how a curriculum shouldn't be written and executed in order to fit only  privileged children and their future roles in society (gentlemen).  Probably not an issue for most of us these days.  If we focus on just the 3 R's, that would not be affirming their personhood and most likely be too utilitarian.  Vocational training?  Too narrow. Test prep or latest educational fad?  No.  Just no.

So who should it be written for?  Mason says the following:

1. A CHILD OF MAN
"Who has a natural desire to know the history of his race and of his nation, what men thought in the past and are thinking now; the best thoughts of the best minds taking form as literature, and at its highest as poetry, or, as poetry rendered in the plastic forms of art."

2. A CHILD OF GOD
"Whose supreme desire and glory it is to know about and to know his almighty Father."

3. A PERSON OF MANY PARTS AND PASSIONS
"Who must know how to use, care for, and discipline himself, body, mind and soul."

4. A PERSON OF MANY RELATIONSHIPS
"To family, city, church, state, neighbouring states, the world at large."

5. AN INHABITANT OF A WORLD FULL OF BEAUTY AND INTEREST
"The features of which he must recognise and know how to name, and a world too, and a universe whose every function of every part is ordered by laws which he must begin to know."


Doesn't every parent hope to give this to their child? If you are curriculum shopping, take this little list with you.  You may end up somewhere that  you never dreamed of.  I know I did.

Warmly,
Nancy


6 comments:

  1. That's beautiful, Nancy! I love the way you laid this out...just seems so DOABLE, in a sense, instead of like this HUGE thing. I mean, yeah, it's a responsibility, but with the Holy Spirit's help, it CAN be done, and it is light yoke not so heavy that I make it out to be. :) Bless your week! Amy

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    1. Thank you, Amy! You are so right about the Holy Spirit and it not being a heavy yoke!
      Warmly,
      Nancy

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  2. I'm not sure if it's because of the good news I just heard about my dd or what, but this post brought me to tears. One, you wrote it beautifully, from the heart and secondly, it's true. I'm glad so many years ago I ended up with this dream of a Christ led, wide curriculum which Mason guides us too. And I'm grateful for you Nancy. xo

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    1. Yes, that certainly was fantastic news! I didn't mean to make you tear up, friend. Thank you for your sweet comments.
      Warmly,
      Nancy

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  3. I just wanted to take a minute to thank you...for sharing your thoughts and ideas with this cyber world. I have been reading your blog for a while, but I don't usually comment. This specific post I have saved "as new" in my inbox since you posted...I have read it multiple times and just pondered it slowly. It has been what I needed to hear. This is the time of year that I get geared up for planning my boys next school year (and next year I will add to that a 4th grade class at a CM school- yay!). Reading this post has helped protect my mind, has brought a level of peace to my processing, and I just wanted to say Thank you!!

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  4. You are very welcome. I'm glad it brought you some peace. Blessing to you to you as you plan for next year.
    Fondly,
    Nancy

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