“When we say that education is an atmosphere, we do not mean that a child should be isolated in what may be called a ‘child-environment’ especially adapted and prepared, but that we should take into account the educational value of his natural home atmosphere, both as regards persons and things, and should let him live freely among his proper conditions. It stultifies a child to bring down his world to the child’s level.”
~Charlotte Mason, Volume 1
I absolutely love Charlotte Mason and her ideas on teaching children. We follow many of her principles in our homeschool.
Today I was reminded of education as an atmosphere. We were home the entire day, as one child is sick. We spent the morning and most of the afternoon doing our regular “school work.” But after dinner, I was reading a book to Ethan (2), and the other kids spent the entire evening creating, learning, doing. Yet not realizing that it wasn’t much different from “school.” They were doing art, writing stories, and being creative.
I said to my husband that I find it funny that when kids are very young, for example my toddler…we spend so much time “teaching” them. We read them books, point out colors, numbers, letters, objects, etc. They truly see education as their atmosphere. There is no beginning and end to their learning.
But something happens when they get about five years old. They go off to school, and home ceases to be their educational atmosphere.
In homeschool, we truly do have education as the child’s atmosphere. We don’t stop learning at any certain time of the day, or any certain year the child is in age. We make our homes an atmosphere of education.
We don’t make an artificial learning environment for the hours of 8-3. We are always learning, doing, growing, and creating.
Our children are learning to live in the real world, by living in the real world!
So have fun in your homes, and teach all the time. Not just during “school time.” Let your home be an atmosphere of continual learning.
After all, I find the most teachable moments are the ones that are not planned in a lesson planner, but those that just happen in our everyday lives.
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