For the Children’s Sake – Chapter 5 Discussion Question Responses

Chapter 5 “Education: A Science of Relationships” Discussion Questions

1. What does Charlotte Mason mean by “Science of Relationships?

“It is a balanced understanding of education as a provision of possibilities for a person to build relationships with a vast number of things and thoughts.” SSM Page 91

2. What did Charlotte Mason believe were the three sorts of knowledge proper to a child?

“The knowledge of God, of man and of the universe…” CM pg 92

3. In her example of Christian education , how did Susan Schaeffer Macaulay apply this to Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life?

Atmosphere: “The atmosphere that everything matters, nothing is outside the reach of the light of God’s truth.” Page 105

Discipline: “Basically, we plan for the contact between child and truth; it is not left up to the chance moment. The Bible is read, we pray together regularly, simply and with purpose.” Page 105

Life: “We let him share with us as we worship.” Page 105

4. Of the many subjects SSM covers in chapter 5, was there a particular subject that you felt you needed the most assistance with in applying the philosophy of the “Science of Relationships” and “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life”?

Someone in the group brought up the subject of Math.  Charlotte Mason  “felt that her particular insights about the philosophy of education had no distinctive contribution to make to the teaching methods on this subject.” (page 141)  However, she did have “one fascinating comment on a metaphysical benefit derived from the concept of math.” (page 141).

“We take strong ground when we appeal to the beauty and truth of Mathematics; that, as Rushkin points out, two and two make four and cannot conceivably make five, is an inevitable law.  It is a great thing to be brought into the presence of a law, of a whole system of laws, that exist without our concurrence, – that two straight lines cannot enclose a space is a fact which we perceive, state, and act upon but cannot in any wise alter, should give to children the sense of limitation which is wholesome for all of us, and inspire that sursum corda which we should hear in all natural law.” (pages 141-142 CM).

Chapter 5 is a great reference chapter if you are dealing with a particular subject that is causing you issues as you attempt to apply some of these philosophies.  Also, if your particular subject is not mentioned, it would be well worth your time to peruse thru SSM’s discussions on other subjects to assist you in coming up with your own ideas of how to overcome the issues you are having.


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