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? [Vol. 3, p. 170]Brandy Vencel's post today was The Necessity of a Broad and Generous Curriculum. I love Mason's Vol. 3 paragraph to which Vencel's post refers.
I teach fourth grade in a public school, so the question is always How much does the youth know? Scratch that. The question is always How much does #--------- know? We teachers are told time and again to engage our students, to increase student engagement, to create anticipation in our students for what we teachers will teach by writing "anticipatory sets" into our lesson plans, to access prior knowledge, to be culturally relevant. Essentially, we are told to make them care.
- We owe it to children to initiate an immense number of interests.
- "Thou hast set my feet in a large room," should be the glad cry of every intelligent soul.
In public school, there isn't time to make children care. There is time to disseminate "knowledge," to do some sort of activity that will produce a positive result on an assessment, and to test. There isn't time to make them care.
Teaching a child to care requires slowing down. Sometimes it requires stopping altogether. Teachers must follow pacing plans and use instructional minutes to maximize productivity.
Charlotte Mason goes on to say:
Life should be all living[.]Ahhh, there's that word again. Living. When people talk about the must-haves of a Charlotte Mason education, the phrase "living books" is at the top of the list.
Life should be all living, and not merely a tedious passing of time; not all doing or all feeling or all thinking––the strain would be too great––but, all living; that is to say, we should be in touch wherever we go, whatever we hear, whatever we see, with some manner of vital interest.I was drawn to Charlotte Mason, in part, as a reaction to my years spent teaching public school, to the education I don't want for my daughter. I don't want her to pass time. I want her to be in touch, wherever she goes, with some manner of vital interest. It's from the above quote that I get my definition of what a living book is. It's antonymous to tedious. It's