Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Unschooling and the Charlotte Mason Appoarch

A couple years ago I read the Unschooling Unmanual.  It had a profound impact on the direction I felt we needed to take at preschool and kindergarten years, and even beyond.  Yes, I am leaning toward Charlotte Mason's ideologies, but I still have an unschooly mindset as well.  The two can exist together.  Especially when you know the mindset our family has toward education. 

Similarities abound between the two philosophies.  They do.

I think Miss Mason's ideas on education were so profound that many methods (outside of the system generally in practice today in the United States) can happily coexist.  I have heard of many people that say classical education is very similar to Charlotte Mason as well.  Her methods are timeless.  They wrap around your soul like a warm soft blanket, inviting you to a place of refuge from a weary world.  Miss. Mason's practical wisdom and experiences stands the test of time. 

Both believe that children are smart; that they thirst for knowledge and can learn many things organically. 

Just listen to these two quotes:
Little children love the world.  That is why they are so good at learning about it.  For it is love, not tricks and techniques of thought, that lies at the heart of all true learning.  Can we bring ourselves to let children learn and grow through that love?  --John Holt
 The question is not, -- how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education -- but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?--Charlotte Mason
Both are more than just an educational philosophy, they are a life style.

To fully experience the benefits of either educational philosophy I believe you need to embrace a life style that enables it.  
I love that her imagination seeks out the unknown

We knew, almost from the start that we would be homeschooling.  Of course we take it day by day and year by year, but we knew in our hearts that homeschooling was our preferred path.  She was just three years old.   That being said, we were not entirely convinced until it came time to search for preschools.  The thought of my baby girl being away from me and in school being taught by a stranger just didn’t set well.  I couldn't imagine stifling the freedom of learning that my young child possessed in abundance, like all children do. 

Thus, my daughter is six now and we have been actively encouraging a learning life.  We are proud of her many accomplishments and encourage her to expand and explore new depths of learning, all the while remembering that we have been entrusted by the heavenly father to educate and raise her.  We have been entrusted to teach her in the way she should go.  To many young people lack this at home and seek love where they can find it.  Alas, many times it's exactly where you don't want to see them go.  Drugs run rampant, and with it pain. 
Yes, two seemingly different educational paths that really are similar.  Both encourage a love of learning, and teach a time for each.  Both embrace a lifestyle of learning into the homes.  Both need the whole family on board and each member a participant on the Learning Path.  Both look at children as people, with a great capacity and thirst for learning.

Two different yet same ideologies.

The Natural Child Project—More information on Unschooling


  1. Yes. Unschooling I think of it being completely child lead while CM we're constantly throwing new ideas at them hoping they'll stick! But in the end, I think they both quote "the only education is self-education". Good discussion!

    1. I think both try to facilitate and introduce children to learning. Of course there is a spectrum and most of us fall somewhere on it. Even CM would be considered an Unschooler, I think, by many. :-) Thank you for visiting!


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