Have you read Charlotte Mason’s Second Volume, Parents and Children? Each time I begin a new book by Charlotte, I feel like I’m in for a big surprise! I began reading it with some friends last year, and we made it halfway through before taking a break. I picked it up again this fall, and as I flipped through the chapters, I was struck again by profound truth and wisdom. This is an amazing book.
I thought I’d take a few posts to share what I’ve been learning.
Charlotte begins with a unique (of course) description of Jean Jacques Rousseau’s educational philosophy. If you’re not paying real close attention, you might think “where in the WORLD is she going with all of this?”. Charlotte tells us that while Rousseau had a “profound impact” on parents, inspiring them to see to the education of their children, “Everybody knows…that he had not enough sterling character to warrant him to pose as an authority on any subject, the least of all on that of education”. (!)
This is very true. I looked him up. He indeed did NOT have sterling character! (I’m beginning to think that maybe people should not write books by the title of “Confessions”…)
Alrighty, then why is she quoting him?
She says that we are not charmed or dazzled by him…yet “he was one of the few educationalists who made his appeal to the parental instincts”.
(She mentions that he was so successful, that some mothers even left their husbands to devote themselves to the study of subjects in the hopes of better teaching their precious children.)
Note to self: Don’t ditch Michael to go off and study the classics, math and science.
Charlotte explains that Rousseau encouraged parents (as opposed to being pessimistic and hopeless).
“[Rousseau said] ‘fathers and mothers, this is your work and you only can do it. It rests with you, parents of young children, to be the saviours of society to a thousand generations.’ ”
-Charlotte Mason, (emphasis added)
Rousseau did succeed, we are told, at awakening parents to their duties with their children. His failure was in not having anything worthy to offer parents in the way of teaching the children.
But Charlotte assures us that this is very good news!
“His success is very cheering. He perceived that God placed the training of every child in the hands of two, a father and a mother; and the response to his teaching proved that, as the waters answer to the drawing of the moon, so do the hearts of parents rise to the ideas of the great work committed to them.”
-Charlotte Mason, Parents and Children
I love that quote. Wow, this is a good book.
Thankfully for us, we don’t have to depend on Rousseau for our motivation, and then be left with nothing worthwhile to teach our children. The Charlotte Mason method has provided both the motivation as well as many worthy things to offer parents in the way of teaching our children!
And what IS the “great work” committed to us? Yes, that is the message of Volume Two. We’ll get there.
More coming soon.
(Yes, you will notice that I jumped into writing two series at the same time. In my defense, this was written months ago, but there has been a shortage of blogging time in my life. We’ll see if 2017 is a kinder year to this blogger.)