Thursday, July 7, 2011


Maybe it's my Montessori background, or maybe it's that certain things from Charlotte Mason's books (and books about CM) have stuck with me better than with other people, but I find myself saddened, and sometimes appalled, at accounts I read on CM lists of the level of control parents are using on their children. I feel like asking, "Did you read the books at all?" (I haven't even read them all yet myself!) That wouldn't be very nice of me and I chastise myself for even thinking it.

There are parents who are allowing their child to take an entire day to get a lesson done--is that what would have happened with Charlotte Mason or in one of her schools? No. When it's time to move on, it's time to move on. This battle begins between parent and child when parents do this. The child becomes more determined to not do the work--because he's coming from a more emotional standpoint--and with the parent sticking to her guns, it seems to me she is enabling a bad habit to be formed. This is dawdling. Charlotte Mason said clearly to not allow the child to dawdle. More than that, she put the responsibility on the parent to secure the whole attention of the child. Furthermore, how does this fit with the principle of respecting the child? Yes, that is a CM principle, just as it is for Montessori. Both women had such respect for children, all the while not allowing them to engage in bad behaviour. But nowhere have I seen any mention of forcing a child to sit until they get the adult's decision of the amount of work to be done.

There are also parents who are talking about punishments and rewards in various ways. There was none of this in Charlotte Mason's schools. There's no hint of it. Is it so engrained in our society that those who profess to follow CM don't see how they are going against it?

I suspect, too, that many parents are foregoing the lesson part of it all, which I have to say I don't blame them for, because it wasn't until reading "When Children Love to Learn" that I had any clue that there should be actual teaching from the teacher. That wasn't the impression given by anybody on any of the lists (well, not that I've read, anyhow, but I admit to not reading all the posts) or even what I've read from websites. To essentially leave the child to his own devices in a situation where he should have had a bit of guidance in the beginning of the subject time is very demotivating. No wonder he's going to dawdle. But this goes back to securing his attention, right? The lesson primes the brain for the work; too often, we just expect them to work. Yes, I admit, I'm guilty of this at times, too.

I'm tired, have a headache, feverish and premenstrual. Sorry for the mini rant. ;)

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