For the Children’s Sake – Chapter 1 “What is Education?”

Okay, so I was super excited when I woke up this morning and realized that it was finally the first day of book club.  I was nervous, too, hoping that people would show up and that fun would be had by all, but I just couldn’t wait to dive into the first chapter of this book.

Over the course of reading the first chapter, I had been formulating book club questions in the back of my mind.  Not so much to run the conversation, but to help it along if we seemed to run out of things to say.

So, here is the list that we used for our guide:

For the Children’s Sake
Foundations of Education for Home and School
Book Club
Week 1

Why are we here?  The idea for forming a book club in the first place came from my desire to read this book.  I had tried reading it on my own but life always seemed to get in the way.  I knew that if I was responsible for a book club, I would read the book.  And, it’s true!

After reading Chapter 1 page 7, I would also add that I have been helped immensely by other mothers who have read about and know Charlotte Mason’s theories and have led discussion groups covering them.  Therefore, I willingly answer Charlotte’s call to “all parents who had been helped” by her theories “to organize meetings and so pass on the ideas to the mothers who would never be reached through her books.”

After that introduction to the book club, we briefly went over the Introduction from the book.  You can read a quick summary about that here.

Group questions:

1) In the beginning, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (SSM) and her husband were unsure about what what to do about their daughter’s education.  Did you ever feel that way?  How did you come to the decision to home school?

2) How did Charlotte Mason view children?

3)  What do you think education is?  How did Charlotte define education?

4) What did Charlotte think of the job of parents?

5) Do you approach all your children the same way?

6) What is really important?

I did not record exact responses out of respect for the privacy of those that attended the gathering.    Also, as we discussed, our conversation naturally led down many paths, which would be very difficult to record here.  Therefore, I will summarize in italics below what we came up with so that you can get the gist of our responses.

1) In the beginning, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (SSM) and her husband were unsure about what what to do about their daughter’s education.  Did you ever feel that way?  How did you come to the decision to home school?

This was a great ice breaker question.  We went around and everyone spoke about what brought them to homeschooling. It was neat to hear about the journey that led each mother to home school.

2) How did Charlotte Mason view children?

“Charlotte Mason believed passionately that children are persons who should be treated as individuals as they are introduced to the variety and richness of the world in which they live.” This contrasts with the commonly held views some hold that children are more like pitchers needing to be filled and have no ideas and thoughts of their own or that all children are alike and can be taught in exactly the same manner. 

3)  What do you think education is?  How did Charlotte define education?

‘What is education?’ is a very thought provoking question.  We framed it this way: when your child graduates from high school what is it that you want them to know.  One person said that education is life long. Another person said that education is also life skills and those tend to be overlooked.  We all agreed that we had some informal list that we had in our minds that we didn’t learn that we wanted to make sure that we imparted to our kids.  SSM on page 8 said, “When a baby is picked up, spoken to, and loved, he is starting his education as God planned it.  For all our lives we are human beings, in an active state of learning, responding, understanding. Education extends to all of life.”

4) What did Charlotte think of the job of parents?

Charlotte believed “that they (the parents) had the most interesting and valuable vocation that exists amongst mankind.”

5) Do you approach all your children the same way?

The overall response was ‘No’.  We all see that each of our children have different needs and are different people.  While we come together as one family unit, we appreciate all the different personalities in the family.

6) What is really important?

Page 11 “If Christianity is indeed true, then every last little child matters.”  “One day we will stand before the Creator.  Were we willing to give, serve and sacrifice “for the children’s sake“?

 

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