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When Children Love to Learn: A Practical Application of Charlotte Mason's Philosophy for Today

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They're hallmarks of childhood. The endless why questions. The desire to touch and taste everything. The curiosity and the observations. It can't be denied-children have an inherent desire to know. Teachers and parents can either encourage this natural inquisitiveness or squelch it. There is joy in the classroom when children learn-not to take a test, not to get a grade, no They're hallmarks of childhood. The endless why questions. The desire to touch and taste everything. The curiosity and the observations. It can't be denied-children have an inherent desire to know. Teachers and parents can either encourage this natural inquisitiveness or squelch it. There is joy in the classroom when children learn-not to take a test, not to get a grade, not to compete with each other, and not to please their parents or their teachers-but because they want to know about the world around them! Both Christian educators and parents will find proven help in creating a positive learning atmosphere through methods pioneered by Charlotte Mason that show how to develop a child's natural love of learning. The professional educators, administrators, and Mason supporters contributing to this volume give useful applications that work in a variety of educational settings, from Christian schools to homeschools. A practical follow-up to Crossway's For the Children's Sake, this book follows a tradition of giving serious thought to what education is, so that children will be learning for life and for everlasting life.


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They're hallmarks of childhood. The endless why questions. The desire to touch and taste everything. The curiosity and the observations. It can't be denied-children have an inherent desire to know. Teachers and parents can either encourage this natural inquisitiveness or squelch it. There is joy in the classroom when children learn-not to take a test, not to get a grade, no They're hallmarks of childhood. The endless why questions. The desire to touch and taste everything. The curiosity and the observations. It can't be denied-children have an inherent desire to know. Teachers and parents can either encourage this natural inquisitiveness or squelch it. There is joy in the classroom when children learn-not to take a test, not to get a grade, not to compete with each other, and not to please their parents or their teachers-but because they want to know about the world around them! Both Christian educators and parents will find proven help in creating a positive learning atmosphere through methods pioneered by Charlotte Mason that show how to develop a child's natural love of learning. The professional educators, administrators, and Mason supporters contributing to this volume give useful applications that work in a variety of educational settings, from Christian schools to homeschools. A practical follow-up to Crossway's For the Children's Sake, this book follows a tradition of giving serious thought to what education is, so that children will be learning for life and for everlasting life.

30 review for When Children Love to Learn: A Practical Application of Charlotte Mason's Philosophy for Today

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Rollins

    I found this to be excellent and practical. I tend to prefer to build my practicalities on philosophy and this book gives just the right amount of both. When I first started reading it last August I thought my days of homeschooling were over but as I finish it up here in May I am thinking of how to arrange my next homeschool year with a new student. This book has given me the tools I need to add structure to our days.

  2. 4 out of 5

    travelgirlut

    This book really didn't add anything to my knowledge of how to teach under the Charlotte Mason philosophy beyond what I had gained for free off the internet. I had hoped it would have more modern applications like the title implies, but things like the internet and computers and such are only briefly mentioned in asides and not as elements of any curriculum. The book doesn't even give a complete curriculum outline. It just gives samples from a couple grades, not enough to even build my own curri This book really didn't add anything to my knowledge of how to teach under the Charlotte Mason philosophy beyond what I had gained for free off the internet. I had hoped it would have more modern applications like the title implies, but things like the internet and computers and such are only briefly mentioned in asides and not as elements of any curriculum. The book doesn't even give a complete curriculum outline. It just gives samples from a couple grades, not enough to even build my own curriculum from. I did glean maybe two ideas from this book that I hadn't thought of before, but I don't think the time invested in the book made it worth it. So not a book I would turn to to learn more of CM and how to teach like her. Look for other books (though there aren't many great ones) and definitely on the internet. Lots of info there.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I really enjoyed When Children Love to Learn! It’s not a book I would have picked out to read, but was asked to read two chapters by a school my daughter is planning to attend. It turned out that I not only really enjoyed the book, but that I plan to make some sweeping changes to the way I homeschool, and have already started to implement them. As a veteran homeschooler, I didn’t think I would be inspired this much. I recommend this book to any school or homeschool teachers, to parents of school a I really enjoyed When Children Love to Learn! It’s not a book I would have picked out to read, but was asked to read two chapters by a school my daughter is planning to attend. It turned out that I not only really enjoyed the book, but that I plan to make some sweeping changes to the way I homeschool, and have already started to implement them. As a veteran homeschooler, I didn’t think I would be inspired this much. I recommend this book to any school or homeschool teachers, to parents of school age children, and to adults who have the time and desire to volunteer in children’s lives. I loved the story of the retired teacher who invited neighborhood children over for lemonade and would read them children’s classics! She ended up making such a positive influence in their lives by those simple acts of love.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Originally read this in 2010 when I bought it from a Carole Joy Seid conference. I am so glad I highlighted it! Re-read the highlights and more and thoroughly enjoyed it. This was one of the reasons we decided to do this method of homeschooling. I love it and need to go back to this method..krb 2/2/16

  5. 5 out of 5

    Summer

    I started this months ago, reading a little bit at a time. It was a really good book to conceptualize all the aspects of Charlotte Mason teaching. I’m glad I read it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Really practical and helpful overview of the Charlotte Mason method of education. I’ll definitely refer to this again, especially the chapters that detail all the different subjects.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    I've read most books on Charlotte Mason's philosophy but somehow I had missed this one. I'm loving it. It has reminded me why I chose homeschooling in the first place. I want my daughter to LOVE learning not just graduate. It's been a great refresher and a real encouragement to this burned out homeschool mom. I've read most books on Charlotte Mason's philosophy but somehow I had missed this one. I'm loving it. It has reminded me why I chose homeschooling in the first place. I want my daughter to LOVE learning not just graduate. It's been a great refresher and a real encouragement to this burned out homeschool mom.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bambi Moore

    Good. Not as good as I had hoped. My favorite applied CM philosophy book is still Andreola's. Good. Not as good as I had hoped. My favorite applied CM philosophy book is still Andreola's.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Colin Buchanan

    I read Susan Schaeffer Macauley’s “For The Children’s Sake” is 1988. It struck me in that perfect moment of readiness for what was said and resonance with the way it was said. Plus I was living in outback NSW, teaching in a primary department of 9, perched among the gidgee trees on a red sand ridge, possibility stretching in all directions. Ever since reading SSM’s landmark book I’ve been meaning to have a poke around in the educational philosophy of Victorian educational philosopher Charlotte Ma I read Susan Schaeffer Macauley’s “For The Children’s Sake” is 1988. It struck me in that perfect moment of readiness for what was said and resonance with the way it was said. Plus I was living in outback NSW, teaching in a primary department of 9, perched among the gidgee trees on a red sand ridge, possibility stretching in all directions. Ever since reading SSM’s landmark book I’ve been meaning to have a poke around in the educational philosophy of Victorian educational philosopher Charlotte Mason. When I came across “When Children Love To Learn” I figured the time had come. In some ways, Mason’s philosophy has already seeped into my bones. After my time in the outback, I left education and never taught full time again. Yet I’ve been in the world of kids and learning and creating ever since, and Mason’s infectious, dangerous, delightful contention that children are people has travelled with me all the way. That said, the book at hand (remember? This is meant to be a book review...) didn’t really amp me up. I think the job had already been done, 30 years earlier. It’s not the book’s fault. And I think I’m not entirely in the target market. (When I told a friend, “I’m reading a book about the practical application of Victorian educational philosopher called Charlotte Mason” he said, “That’s an unusual book for a 55 year old songwriter to be reading.”) I do wonder what a practising teacher might make of all this, especially one who is captured by the philosophy yet captive in an alternative system. I kept wondering as I read it, “How does this look in practise?” I’m a convert, but I kept wanting reassurance that this all wasn’t simply idealistic. I’d have liked a list of “Living Books” as an appendix, since vital, engaging, substantial, enduring literature is so fundamental to the whole approach. What this book did do was spark an interest in visiting a Mason-inspired school, to observe first-hand how Mason’s philosophy might look in practise. I’d love to see the practise of appetite-driven learning, of narration, of nature walking, of seeing how real people go fitting some of the disciplinary subjects (science, maths) into the overall Mason ethos. (I’m open to any invitation, should it find its way to me...!) If you want to dip your toe in Charlotte Mason’s wonderful world, I’d suggest starting with Schaeffer Macauley’s “For The Children’s Sake”. It’s a nourishing book for anyone who loves kids and wants to enrich kids - parents, grandparents, teachers, kids workers, uncles, aunts, leaders, you-name-it. If you’re still hungry or if you’re a teacher wanting to probe Mason’s work a little more then this book may well be your next port of call.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    As several other reviewers have noted, you can find better information about Charlotte Mason's approach to education and how to implement it online than you'll find in this book. That's partially because the majority of the contributors seem to be coming from the experience of teaching in a small private school, and partially because they sometimes exhibit a cult-like tendency to accept anything Charlotte Mason said as the absolute truth. Those qualms aside, I really do love Charlotte Mason, and As several other reviewers have noted, you can find better information about Charlotte Mason's approach to education and how to implement it online than you'll find in this book. That's partially because the majority of the contributors seem to be coming from the experience of teaching in a small private school, and partially because they sometimes exhibit a cult-like tendency to accept anything Charlotte Mason said as the absolute truth. Those qualms aside, I really do love Charlotte Mason, and I think she was a keen observer of children and how learning actually happens. As the title implies, she believed that education should generally be enjoyable--not necessarily entertaining or catered to the child's interests of the moment, but it should appeal to the child's innate desire to know. I also love her firm belief that you need to first start with defining your philosophical view of children and education in order to develop your curriculum. For example, she believed that "The child's mind is the instrument of his education; his education does not produce his mind" (p. 53). As a result, the teacher is not the one who educates; children educate themselves. Rather, it is the teacher's role to "spread the feast" (one of my favorite of her metaphors) by providing a rich and varied curriculum that aims to develop all of the various dimensions of their humanity. And, in fact, in her view an education is not reducible to a curriculum: "education is a life." It encompasses everything, since children are constantly assimilating their experiences and forming new connections and insights. And not only children, but adults too. If we love to learn, the process never ends. I could go on with more of my takeaways, but as you might be able to tell already, my rating is for this book's handling of Charlotte Mason's approach to education rather than her views themselves (although I could certainly critique some of those too!).

  11. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Holley

    I did this as a (very) slow read so I feel like it was harder for me to get back into it each time I picked this book up. The first part is essays written by various educators so i found some I loved and thought were helpful and some I didn’t like so much. If you are a Charlotte Mason purist, or wanting to be, you will find this book helpful. If you’re wanting to learn more about Charlotte Mason and her philosophy I think this book would be enlightening as well. I am just finding that, while I d I did this as a (very) slow read so I feel like it was harder for me to get back into it each time I picked this book up. The first part is essays written by various educators so i found some I loved and thought were helpful and some I didn’t like so much. If you are a Charlotte Mason purist, or wanting to be, you will find this book helpful. If you’re wanting to learn more about Charlotte Mason and her philosophy I think this book would be enlightening as well. I am just finding that, while I do agree with much of the basis of her philosophy (mainly that children are born person and the focus on atmosphere and relationships) I do not think her way is the only way and don’t know that keeping perfectly in line with how she ran a school is really that important.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    “The child’s mind is the instrument of his education; his education does not produce his mind.” - p 53 “This is how we find children––with intelligence more acute, logic more keen, observing powers more alert, moral sensibilities more quick, love and faith and hope more abounding; in fact, in all points like as we are, only much more so; but absolutely ignorant of the world and its belongings, of us and our ways, and, above all, of how to control and direct and manifest the infinite possibilities “The child’s mind is the instrument of his education; his education does not produce his mind.” - p 53 “This is how we find children––with intelligence more acute, logic more keen, observing powers more alert, moral sensibilities more quick, love and faith and hope more abounding; in fact, in all points like as we are, only much more so; but absolutely ignorant of the world and its belongings, of us and our ways, and, above all, of how to control and direct and manifest the infinite possibilities with which they are born.” - Charlotte Mason, Parents and Children, Ch 23

  13. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    This book gives practical application for how to implement a Charlotte Mason curriculum. I thought it was excellent; Mason's ideas were stated clearly as well as how to use them. Her philosophy really is quite brilliant; mainly using narration of living books for children to learn. Children enjoy reading and enjoy telling back what they have learned. I am planning on digging deeper into this book and referring to it often as I seek the best way to teach e. This book gives practical application for how to implement a Charlotte Mason curriculum. I thought it was excellent; Mason's ideas were stated clearly as well as how to use them. Her philosophy really is quite brilliant; mainly using narration of living books for children to learn. Children enjoy reading and enjoy telling back what they have learned. I am planning on digging deeper into this book and referring to it often as I seek the best way to teach e.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rah

    I rated it 4 stars because it would be an excellent resource for those wanting to start their own Charlotte Mason style school. Not as good for a small home school family, but still had some good information and criteria for the different subjects. I took notes. As far as the summaries of Charlotte Mason's philosophy, just go direct to the source. Skip right to the application sections if you've read any of her writings. I rated it 4 stars because it would be an excellent resource for those wanting to start their own Charlotte Mason style school. Not as good for a small home school family, but still had some good information and criteria for the different subjects. I took notes. As far as the summaries of Charlotte Mason's philosophy, just go direct to the source. Skip right to the application sections if you've read any of her writings.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    A lot to chew on here for anyone with children, regardless of whether you are a professional "educator". Pedagogy and philosophy is the foundation. It was an eye-opener to see how some of my well intentioned teaching practices did not respect the personhood of the children I served. A lot to chew on here for anyone with children, regardless of whether you are a professional "educator". Pedagogy and philosophy is the foundation. It was an eye-opener to see how some of my well intentioned teaching practices did not respect the personhood of the children I served.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cara Shields

    This book helped to break down some of Charlotte Masons reasoning for how she educated. It also helped break down studies and how to walk them out along with sample schedules for laying out the feast for your children. It’s a good resource to keep on hand as a cm family

  17. 4 out of 5

    Summereyre

    Loved this book! It's a great compilation of Charlotte Mason's philosophies and how to apply them today. They are classic ideas that are incredibly beneficial to children, parents, and educators alike! I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to teach children. Loved this book! It's a great compilation of Charlotte Mason's philosophies and how to apply them today. They are classic ideas that are incredibly beneficial to children, parents, and educators alike! I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to teach children.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Charissa

    Lots of helpful information and suggestions for educating with the Charlotte Mason approach. I especially liked their procedure lists for nature study, picture study, and music appreciation.

  19. 5 out of 5

    momma.hailey

    Practical and encouraging. This book was foundational in my understanding Charlotte Mason. And it spurred me to want to read her original volumes.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jayme

    A practical application, indeed. This text provided not only a lovely summary of the fundamental philosophy behind the Mason method but also gave specific and concrete examples of their implementation. I found it both inspiring and helpful.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Good description of Charlotte Mason’s educational theory and practices.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Pflugrath

    Lovely, reflective application of charlotte mason's ideals. Lots to take away and perhaps a good one to revisit again. Lovely, reflective application of charlotte mason's ideals. Lots to take away and perhaps a good one to revisit again.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Vivian

    Anyone who shares an interest in educational philosophy will at some point need to look at Charlotte Mason, an educator during the Victorian era whose vision lives on in today's learning landscape. This volume makes her work accessible through the editor's forward and instructive essays by educators well versed in her methods. Having attended several Mason workshops during the years I was raising my children I found her methods to be very duplicatable and effective. So it was with interest I read Anyone who shares an interest in educational philosophy will at some point need to look at Charlotte Mason, an educator during the Victorian era whose vision lives on in today's learning landscape. This volume makes her work accessible through the editor's forward and instructive essays by educators well versed in her methods. Having attended several Mason workshops during the years I was raising my children I found her methods to be very duplicatable and effective. So it was with interest I read her objections to German philosopher Johann Herbart's theory (on pages 118 and 119 of this work). I think I was squarely in his camp, so to speak, and all my self-perceived successes were actually failures and all my self-perceived failures were successes (regarding my children's educations). "...His theory of learning revolves around the thought that the child has no personality in the sense that Miss Mason described or believed, that ideas contend to find entrance into the threshold of the child's mind, and that once in, these ideas form themselves in related groups called apperception masses. It becomes the role of the teacher to arrange appropriate ideas within the curriculum, to make the best relations between ideas so that cognitive connections may be facilitated. It is like the arranging of mental furniture in the mind's household, with the teacher playing the part of interior decorator. In this model the teacher is the active player, choosing the ideas, arranging the correlations, planning out every contingency. The child becomes a new creation as he comes forth from the hands of the teacher. These well-planned units of instruction were called concentrations schemes. One such plan was designed around Robinson Crusoe. It was here that the plans of a teacher-centered effort came forth: The whole unit was systematized, arranged, and packaged for the child's consumption, for consumer he is, in Herbart's way of thinking. As these elementary-aged students read a child's adaptation of the original classic work, they were provided with integrating experiences that connect art, handicrafts, writing, recitation, and arithmetic. Students drew Crusoe's island, wrote about his experiences, counted wine casks, and built models. In these tasks Miss Mason noted seeds of inanity, as she believed the content to be trivial indeed. The same might be said of units centered on themes such as apples or teddy bears, topics that find their way into many classrooms. Her word for this would be twaddle, and an answer to the concentration scheme approach is as follows: As I have said elsewhere, the ideas required for sustenance of children are to be found mainly in books of literary quality; given these the mind does for itself the sorting, arranging, selecting, rejecting, classifying, which Herbart leaves to the struggle of the promiscuous [indiscriminate] ideas which manage to cross the threshold. Mason, HOME EDUCATION, 315. " However, having said all that, I am complete agreement with the following observations made under the heading "A Curriculum Scope" found on page 213: "Looking at what is to be taught throughout the years of schooling can be an overwhelming task at times as we see examples of delayed and accelerated learning. These are two extremes to avoid. The attitude of not introducing a discipline of study until children show an interest allows children to limit themselves according to what they know, as well as to acquire a debilitating habit of acting according to feelings. By contrast, the accelerated approach looks at learning in the realm of conquest rather than as a natural affinity in relationship with the world." The team that created this book have also established a school (1999) which is called Ambleside. More information can be found here: https://www.amblesideonline.org/ .

  24. 4 out of 5

    Challice

    What a refreshing read for those of us trying to apply Charlotte Mason principals in our daily life. Not since, For the Children's Sake, have I been so motivated to keep going to the heart of Charlotte Mason teachings and not focusing entirely on just the academic achievements of such an education. A Charlotte Mason Companion book has been invaluable tool for decades but it is best use as a reference guide to go back and refresh. I was able to sit and read this within a good amount of time and s What a refreshing read for those of us trying to apply Charlotte Mason principals in our daily life. Not since, For the Children's Sake, have I been so motivated to keep going to the heart of Charlotte Mason teachings and not focusing entirely on just the academic achievements of such an education. A Charlotte Mason Companion book has been invaluable tool for decades but it is best use as a reference guide to go back and refresh. I was able to sit and read this within a good amount of time and still have information fresh as I begin to plan another school year. I will be reading this again with my proverbial note taking and post-it marking. Excellent resource to add to your library.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Skedatt

    I have to actually discipline myself to make it through a nonfiction book from cover to cover, and I am glad that I did with this one. This is technically my first introduction to Charlotte Mason's philosophy of teaching and I find that I agree with most of her major principles. As to the book itself, it was set up well and I found myself duly educated with a direction to take. All in all: well worth the read. I have to actually discipline myself to make it through a nonfiction book from cover to cover, and I am glad that I did with this one. This is technically my first introduction to Charlotte Mason's philosophy of teaching and I find that I agree with most of her major principles. As to the book itself, it was set up well and I found myself duly educated with a direction to take. All in all: well worth the read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Celeste

    Nice ideas, but few practical suggestion. This book claims to be a practical application of Charlotte Mason's ideas, but it seems instead to be a lot of (albeit poetic) philosophizing. You will not find book lists, discipline plans, or practical teacher to teacher advice. This book left me thinking a Charlotte Mason school sounds very nice in theory, but I have little more notion of how to implement it as a teacher than I did before reading this book. Nice ideas, but few practical suggestion. This book claims to be a practical application of Charlotte Mason's ideas, but it seems instead to be a lot of (albeit poetic) philosophizing. You will not find book lists, discipline plans, or practical teacher to teacher advice. This book left me thinking a Charlotte Mason school sounds very nice in theory, but I have little more notion of how to implement it as a teacher than I did before reading this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    A good explanation of Charlotte Mason's educational philosophy. It was a bit dry (although that may be unavoidable given the nature of the subject). I would like to have seen a bit more about application as it applies to today's academic environment and also some statistics about how these children do upon entering public schools and colleges. A good explanation of Charlotte Mason's educational philosophy. It was a bit dry (although that may be unavoidable given the nature of the subject). I would like to have seen a bit more about application as it applies to today's academic environment and also some statistics about how these children do upon entering public schools and colleges.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kim Neve

    I read this with my CM Book Club back in 2005, and am re-reading it again with some of the ladies from my book club now. It is empowering and affirming to me, now that we have three CM homeschooled graduates. A CM education can help foster and feed children into incredible, individual, strong, confident adults.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Jackson

    I had started reading this book a year ago but was just having a hard time getting through it. I stopped and now that my oldest will be starting kindergarten in the fall, I soaked up everything and found it very helpful. My advice is if you only have young children, just enjoy your time with them then read this when you are really going to start Charlotte Mason schooling for your child.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rosie Gearhart

    I loved the chapters by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay. The other chapters didn’t seem as relevant to me as a homeschooler. Or maybe it was just not as necessary for me since I’ve already read a lot on the topic. I’ll keep the book, though, just in case I’m ever involved in a Charlotte Mason school one day (which would be awesome)!

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