The Headmistress at The Common Room blog has a great post that explains the difference between Charlotte Mason’s “self education” and “child-led” education. An excerpt:
Perhaps some of the confusion comes from the fact that ultimately, a Charlotte Mason education is self-education. Somebody else said that there is no education but self-education. Miss Mason quotes ‘a philosophical friend’ as saying ” “The mind can know nothing save what it can produce in the form of an answer to a question put to the mind by itself.” (volume 6, page 16)
And while it is true that in a CM education the children are responsible for doing their own work and learning, that work is to come from reading well-written books. The authors of the those books become the teachers as well. Charlotte is not claiming the child already has all it takes without any outside influence or input, if she was, he wouldn’t need to read so many books to be put in touch with ‘great minds that he may get at great thoughts.’
It’s quite long, but very good. Thought provoking. It certainly answers some of my doubts about the CM approach. I’m definitely against child-led education. But self education is truly the only road to real learning.
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