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Monday with Miss Mason–On Trusting Good Books

January 24, 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.

Living books are a major component of a Charlotte Mason education.

There is much to consider:

Another aspect of living books is applying your trust, or your faith, to them for the education of your child.

From Parents and Children, Part XXI:

We trust much to Good Books––Once more, we know that there is a storehouse of thought wherein we may find all the great ideas that have moved the world. We are above all things anxious to give the child the key to this storehouse. The education of the day, it is said, does not produce reading people. We are determined that the children shall love books, therefore we do not interpose ourselves between the book and the child. We read him his Tanglewood Tales, and when he is a little older his Plutarch, not trying to break up or water down, but leaving the child’s mind to deal with the matter as it can.

Can you let the books themselves speak to your child without stepping in between them?

I read a very interesting book last year called Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It by Kelly Gallagher. The author is an English teacher who is working to change the current educational culture of killing the love of reading by too much of this “interpos[ing] ourselves” between the book and the child–often in the form of worksheets, questions, reading journals, emphasis on testing, etc.

Think about it–almost every book a child reads upon entering school is subjected to an endless dissection. Imagine if every book you read you had to be tested on?

I chuckle to see Charlotte Mason’s comment that: “The education of the day, it is said, does not produce reading people.” I would have to say that all these years later we still haven’t figured it out in our schools for the most part (or in many homeschooling curriculums for that matter).

Having taught English in a high school, I now cringe to think of the disservice I did to my students through some of my teaching methods. I wonder what I would do now in the same position?

Of course, old habits die hard and I am certainly still finding my way.

For more on trusting good books:

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 24, 2011 4:49 pm

    You raise some interesting points! I have the book you mention, Readicide, on hold at the library. The comments over on Amazon were very interesting! This is an area even CM homeschoolers sometimes struggle with – not getting between the reader and the book. I hope this post sparks some healthy discussion.

    Ring true,

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