Life Changing Principles?

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    • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #8775

      So tell me: are there any principles — educationally speaking — that, when you learned them, it was as if all the lights turned on, the angels were singing, and the gates of Heaven opened up? In other words: what are the principles that have changed your life?

      Discuss. 🙂

    • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #8816

      My first introduction to the Classical method was through Classical Conversations, and it just clicked. Like you said. I finally understood my own lacking and where I needed to put forth the most work. I’ve always loved studying languages, but for it to finally be made clear that if we don’t have language, we can’t actually know anything of usefulness, that was my bolt.

    • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #8858

      Ooh! I love that, Jennifer!

    • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #8957

      Education is the science of relations. It wasn’t until I was able to start making connections myself and realized how important it is to keep in mind that all knowledge comes from God that I was able to better understand how to treat my children as persons. I’m not sure why it came to me in that order but it’s been an amazing journey.

      • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #9316

        Oh, Mrs. A, that journey actually makes a lot of sense to me! ♥

    • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #9044

      something Sarah MacKenzie wrote about considering your own teaching style and personality — you mean I am allowed to be part of the equation?! Cue tears of gratitude. Also, there’s a book called “The Soul of the Apostolate” which was actually written with priests and religious in mind but has so much good to say about the primacy of the interior life and how our efforts to bring others to Christ will never succeed if we do not put our relationship with Him first, and then help them to develop their own interior life instead of just coming up with a ton of churchy activities to entertain them and then patting ourselves on the back that we’ve accomplished something by running around like chickens with our heads cut off. The book is more eloquent. 😉

      • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #9318

        Wow! There is so much in this comment, Angelique! I really like that idea of starting with the interior life, both for the teacher as well as the student. That is SO overlooked in our modern world because we view education so externally.

      • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #9922

        I love this! I am getting this book right away! Thank you!

    • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #9243

      I have found that “children are born persons” has been the biggest light-bulb for me. It underpins everything else and has convicted me left and right in parenting and homeschooling. When viewed through the lens of: what does this human, who is NOT me and never will be anything that I can exert my own will on or “mold”, what does this human need?–I can make much better decisions, I can be more patient and take things less personally when they don’t go well. It forces me to trust God with the outcome and to approach my children with tremendous respect, even reverence for the image of God that is present within their little bodies.

      • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #9319

        I know what you mean, Meghan! I wish I had gotten the idea that I didn’t need to take things so personally earlier on. When that finally clicked for me, it was SO freeing, and also took a lot of anxiety out of the process.

    • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #9332

      Reading A Philosophy of Education as a whole really hit home for me. I had dabbled in parts, pulled out quotes, and used it as a reference prior, but studying it over a 16 month period just brought everything to life. Reading her words were so comforting because some of them were thoughts that I’d had, but would suppress due to societal pressure. It gave me perspective and I totally agree that ‘children are born persons’ is huge! It comes to mind almost daily, not only when I look at my own children, but when I look at people in general because of course, we are all children of God.

      My personal top five from A Philosophy of Education are highlighted here:

      Principle 1 – Children are born persons.

      Principles 5-8 – Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life. (PNEU motto)

      Principle 9 – We hold that the child’s mind is no mere sac….

      Principle 12 – Education is the Science of Relations…

      Principles 14 & 15 – As knowledge is assimilated until it is reproduced, children should “tell back”. – I didn’t realize the importance of narration, but if I had to pick one method of utmost importance, as in if you did nothing else but, it would be narration.

      OK, so this is almost half of Charlotte’s whole philosophy ;-p

      • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #9343

        Ha! I love alllll of those, but then again, you already knew that. 🙂

      • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #9513

        “We hold that the child’s mind is no mere sac…”

        That one is so good! I love having a better idea of what my daughters’ need to actually learn.

    • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #9341

      One that really had a big impact on me was “exposure breeds taste” which I got from John Hodges. I stopped expecting my kids to like something new (but oh so good!) the very first time, and took the long view — trusting that they would come to love something over time as they build more of a relationship with it. Not everything is love at first sight. ♥

      • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #9426

        I like this! I think I’ve already been operating under this principle without realizing that it even was a principle! I am constantly telling my children that they have to practice piano whether they like it or not. I don’t even care if they like it -they just have to do it! (And I’m sure they’re sick of hearing that!) because I know through experience how true it is that “exposure breeds taste”. I’ve seen it in myself with music, with academics, even with church.

        This makes me wonder what other principles I operate under without being aware. I’ll have to spend some time thinking about that…

        • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #9947

          They probably aren’t as sick of hearing you say that as you are sick hearing them play those practice pieces over and over and over again. 🙂

          Or maybe that’s just me. They learn to play piano; I learn patience. 🙂

      • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #11530

        Brandy, this makes me think of something I read that said it takes at least 7 exposures to a new food before a kid will like it. I’ve not thought of applying that thought to other things, but it certainly helped me not take it personally when my kids turn their noses up to unusual foods.

        • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #12452

          Yes! I think the similarity to food is striking and yes also helps with the patience factor. 🙂

    • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #9464

      Andrew Kern and his emphasis on the “Should” question as a way to get at the heart of a story. That is what pops up in my mind as something that has, in recent years, made a huge impact on me. I’ve been homeschooling for some time (14 years), so there are others “way back”, too , I’m sure.


      • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #9541

        Oh, that’s a good one Kerry! I LOVE his should questions. The other question that I use regularly I got from The Common Room — it’s asking “does this remind you of anything else.” It’s provided a lot of great discussion fodder, too. 🙂

    • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #9543

      Ooh, good question, Brandy!

      Like Meghan mentioned, “Children are born persons” was a huge lightbulb moment for me. It made me finally start to understand that my children are really God’s children, and that they are their own persons as well. They aren’t meant to be “little me’s” and I’m not supposed to be trying to form them and shape them into something in particular that I have in mind.

      CIRCE’s motto of “Cultivating Wisdom and Virtue” and some of the things Andrew Kern has said about this have also been really transformational, helping me to better understand what my role as a mother and teacher really should be.

      And Brandy, there’s a talk you gave (I think at your local homeschooling conference??) where you mentioned that idea of exposure breeds taste and that part of our role as parents is to make sure we are providing that exposure was really freeing for me. It helped me to get rid of the last vestiges of guilt over exposing my children abundantly to the true, good and beautiful, even if they weren’t always thrilled about it. And I’ve seen over the years how their taste has grown and changed, which is encouraging! And as a side note – that talk had such an impact on me that I still think about it every time I mop my kitchen (while not listening to something else, that is!), because that’s what I was doing the first time I listened to the talk! LOL

      • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #9664

        Wow! I’m honored that you think of me, though admittedly mopping is not a favorite of mine, so there is a bit of irony involved here. 😉

        You remind me of how indebted I am to CiRCE. ♥

    • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #9616

      The children being born persons and not mere sacs to fill with knowledge was a huge epiphany for me as well. When I was homeschooled, reading was the main focus, but my education after I entered public high school was a constant struggle to memorize the list of facts each teaches felt important. It was a great relief to learn that the Holy Ghost chooses and imparts the knowledge and that I, as the teacher, am not required to be a “showman of the universe.”

      • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #9665

        That was beautifully said — and I totally agree. So much of this takes the pressure off of us as teachers, while still encouraging us to be faithful.

        I bet public high school was a total shock after living a life of books for so long!

    • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #10797

      My “light bulb moment” came about a year ago when I discovered how beautifully Charlotte Mason’s philosophies and methods fulfill a classical ideal…in a wonderfully restful way! I love the idea of learning as leisure. Yesterday was a beautiful day here in mid-Michigan and we did almost all our “school” outside. We listened to beautiful music, read Shakespeare, Plutarch, and the Green Ember, and learned some Latin. I read to my younger kids about Ben Franklin and King Alfred. As we did all this, it occurred to me that, had I not told my kids we were “doing school”, this would have just been laying outside on a blanket on a gorgeous day, reading some books (except maybe for the Latin, ha!). And then I wondered, what if we treated every day like that? Never used that phrase “doing school”? Shifting our attitude and the way we talk about our days to reflect the idea that learning is leisure? I don’t think the concept *fully* sunk in for me until yesterday, when I realized just how good we have it. Being able to experience a life of learning together as a family is a precious gift.

      • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #11363

        Your day sounds amazing!

    • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #11572

      Of course not every day is that wonderful…but days like that keep us going through the tougher days!

    • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #14625

      Andrew Kern is often noted for saying: “We become what we behold…and they (our children) are beholding you.” The first time I heard those words, I was stopped in my tracks. That, along with reading Leisure the Basis of Culture, lead to a huge transformation in our schooling, in my heart, and re-ordering my affections. I wrote about it here:

      • May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm #14784

        I have heard “we become what we behold” many times, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard that second part. That is very powerful!

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