Friday, 28 September 2007

The gentle art of learning

I have started term and we are well under way now. I have decided to treat myself to a set of Charlotte Mason books to help me with what she called the "Gentle art of learning". Many homeschoolers use her lovely approach with their children. If she had been a Catholic I think we would be looking at making her a saint.

She believed in what she called 'living books' and encouraging children to read and narrate about what they have read. I have used this approach a lot with my two older children and it has been an immense help with overcoming their dyslexia.
She had a profound understanding of the way children both learned and behaved and shaped her views on education on that.
She recognised the special role and dignity of the mother and her place as primary educator of her children alongside the father of the child.
Her method gives both mother and child a love of learning and an interest in stories and in the beauty of God's creation. Her whole curriculum outlook is Christ centred. He is not a perifery subject, relegated to assembly prayers and RE.
Even at the begginning of the 20th Century when Charlotte was writing she saw the damage state interfernce in education was causing-and that was before the horrendous dumbing down and banality of the National Curriculum and the appalling standards offered in GCSE subjects.
I have one child in school at the moment and am praying I can have him home.
I had to undo a whole lot of damage with the two I pulled out and my oldest son has survived rather than gained from school.
My younger son's girlfriend has left the school I pulled my daughter out of. It is a 'good Catholic' school with high academic achievements and is even listed in the top schools lists. But it teaches Icons and hands out Holy Communion to all the pupils at compulsory Mass. It has teachers that are rude and bully the ones with difficulties and the girls there are abusive to one another on a regular basis.
My daughter's friend still attends and hates it. She bides her time until she can get out.
My son's girlfriend has gone to college now-glad to have left the culture of spite behind. She retains her Catholic faith thanks to her parents who are quietly devout.
Charlotte Mason puts CHrist and Scripture and moral teaching at the heart of her 'school'. She is not in the business of making kids look good acedemically but in making them fit for heaven.


Anonymous said...

shame about your kids schools..mine are fabulous...

gemoftheocean said...

Is the bishop aware of what is going on in the schools i.e. the bullying and abusive behavior?

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

I don't know what the bishops know any more. I know my bishop is aware of the appalling standard of RE in schools with ICONS and the GCSE and A'Level curriculum. Someone I know had a long meeting with him some time ago and he dismissed all her concerns.
He is also well aware of the even more appalling lack of care given to children with special needs who require sacramental preparation-and has not responded. I told him about that.
Children who are not practicing their faith can go to Catholic schools and receive the sacraments but Catholic children in special schools can't-or they can thanks to untrained non-resourced volunteers.

By the time we reached the stage where I was writing to my son's school asking them not to refer to the Holy Spirit as She- I was so fed up I didn't even bother letting the bishop know.
The head of RE at that school is an EMHC at some church or other and yet shows off about being an atheist to the kids. Oh yeah-Catholic education.
Sorry this is a rant. It's just that I really think Catholic schools should care a bit more about children's faith and a bit less about govt leauge tables.

Ginny said...

What you have wrote about is all to true in our Catholic schools and even more so in the public schools. I dont know when it happened but far to many of our Catholic schools have moved away from the values and virtues that they were founded on. I can talk from experience, there is little or no religious instruction and the sole emphasis is on academic achievement. Yes academics are important but one would think that these schools focus on spiritual side of the kids, helping to groom them, teach them the faith etc etc. I think alot of it has to do with the fact that alot of the teachers perhaps are Catholic on paper but not Catholics at heart. Much to think about here.

Hope you dont mind, I would like to add your blog to the list of links on the blogs I share with my bestest friend Marie. Feel free to swing on by to our neck of the blogging world.

God bless you :)