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Mondays with Miss Mason–On Goalsetting

January 16, 2011

Note: this post is part of an ongoing series. For more information on Charlotte Mason and Mondays with Miss Mason, please read the first post.

As the new term begins, I find myself thinking about goals again. Are we “on track?”  Am I focusing on the right things? Where is that list anyway?

Miss Mason has some very informative thoughts on the idea of goal setting for our children. Her advice is good whether you are homeschooling or not. In fact, it was instruction given to mothers for what to think of before instructing the governess in how to educate her children.

From Home Education, Part V:

Three Questions for the Mother.––But if the mother is to inoculate the governess with her views as to the teaching of writing, French, geography, she must, herself, have definite views. She must ask herself seriously, Why must the children learn at all? What should they learn? And, How should they learn it? If she take the trouble to find a definite and thoughtful answer to each of these three queries, she will be in a position to direct her children’s studies; and will, at the same time, be surprised to find that three-fourths of the time and labour ordinarily spent by the child at his lessons is lost time and wasted energy.

I love this! Three questions!

1) Why must the children learn at all?

2) What should they learn?

3) How should they learn it?

This really is a great starting point for thinking about education–whichever method or whoever is doing it.  When you begin with the first question–why educate them at all, it informs your answers to the next two questions.

Do you educate children to have successful careers? to be good citizens? to learn more about God’s world and their places in it? because it is the law? There are many different reasons and if you don’t know why then it doesn’t really matter what they do every day during “school hours,” does it? It’s like that old adage–if you don’t know where you are going, then you will never get there.

I’m going on a brief retreat this weekend to focus on homeschooling with my local accountability organization. I’m going to take along these questions and give them some thought as I look forward to our next semester.  I’ll let you know what I come up with.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 17, 2011 6:29 pm

    …and Mason answers all these questions in Vol. 6! I’m curious to hear your thoughts about them, too. Keep us posted. I have written a post that I can’t publish yet on this very thing. It should be out in about a week, though!

    I pray that your accountability group time is fruitful.

    Here is a link to my latest Mason post about how the world of education was impacted with her influence years ago:

    Ring true,

    • January 17, 2011 6:51 pm

      Volume 6 is the one I still have to read! School was beginning, and I haven’t gotten back to it. Of course, I think I could read the others for the rest of my life and still not squeeze everything out of them. I look forward to reading your post on the subject.

      I just found out that a school in my hometown is modeled after Charlotte Mason’s philosophy. There is also one in the area where I live. It is great to see her impact so many decades and thousands of miles away.

      Thanks for your support and prayers!

  2. January 18, 2011 2:35 pm

    Wonderful post. This is my second year homeschooling and we are making the switch to CM. I will be checking back with you often. Thanks so much from a newer than newbie. 🙂

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