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Mondays with Miss Mason–On Bringing Up

March 29, 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.

In Parents and Children, Miss Mason discusses the inadequacy of the word “education” to capture the full essence of the task.

‘Education is a life’; you may stunt and starve and kill, or you may cherish and sustain; but the beating of the heart, the movement of the lungs, and the development of the faculties (are there any ‘faculties’?) are only indirectly our care. The poverty of our thought on the subject of education is shown by the fact that we have no word which at all implies the sustaining of a life: education (e, out, and ducere, to lead, to draw) is very inadequate; it covers no more than those occasional gymnastics of the mind which correspond with those by which the limbs are trained: training (trahere) is almost synonymous, and upon these two words rests the misconception that the development and the exercise of the ‘faculties’ is the object of education (we must needs use the word for want of a better).

She recognizes that the Saxon phrase “bringing up” is actually a better way of putting it because it implies an aim and an effort.

As we near the end of our first year homeschooling and recently my sixth as a parent, I recognize more fully the need for both aim AND effort.

The phrase “bringing up” also has roots in terms for fostering and,  specifically, nourishing with food. As Miss Mason explains in the same chapter–the proper diet of the mind is IDEAS.

Now that life, which we call education, receives only one kind of sustenance; it grows upon ideas.


What’s on your menu?

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