Best Charlotte Mason Quotes About Play, Nature, Mothers, & Education


If you’ve ever begun to read Charlotte Mason’s Home Education series, you’ll know that she is highly quotable. I am going through it again, and I wanted to record all the memorable Charlotte Mason quotes I’ve found. In this post, there are quotes about play, children, nature, schools, habits, mothers, short lessons, authority, principles, narration, education, and learning. These are from her book Home Education.

Be encouraged in your homeschool by reading these homeschooling Charlotte Mason quotes. #CharlotteMasonQuotes #educationquotes #homeeducation

Below are some quotes from the quotable educator, Charlotte Mason. These give a snapshot of how revolutionary Mason’s educational style was, and still is.

 

Charlotte Mason Quotes on Mothers and Children

Children

‘Nothing is trivial that concerns a child; his foolish-seeming words and ways are pregnant with meaning for the wise.’ [Part 1]

‘By the saying, Education is an atmosphere, it is not meant 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 a ‘child’s’ level.’ [Preface]

 

Mothers

‘…it is upon the mothers of the present that the future of the world depends, in even a greater degree than upon the fathers, because it is the mothers who have the sole direction of the children’s early, most impressible years. This is why we hear so frequently of great men who have had good mothers––that is, mothers who brought up their children themselves, and did not make over their gravest duty to indifferent persons.’ [Part 1]

‘…as mothers become more highly educated and efficient, they will doubtless feel the more strongly that the education of their children during the first six years of life is an undertaking hardly to be entrusted to any hands but their own.’ [Part 1]

‘That children should do as they are bid, mind their books, and take pleasure as it offers when nothing stands in the way, sums up the old theory; now, the pleasures of children are apt to be made more account than their duties.’ [Part 1]

‘…we despise them when we leave undone those things which, for their sakes, we ought to have done.’ [Part 1]

‘And perhaps it is not too beautiful a thing to believe in this redeemed world, that, as the babe turns to his mother though he has no power to say her name, as the flowers turn to the sun, so the hearts of the children turn to their Saviour and God with unconscious delight and trust.’ [Part 1]

 

On Mothers Being Too Permissive

‘It is needless to continue; everybody knows the steps by which the mother’s ‘no’ comes to be disregarded, her refusal teased into consent. The child has learned to believe that he has nothing to overcome but his mother’s disinclination; if she choose to let him do this and that, there is no reason why she should not; he can make her choose to let him do the next thing forbidden, and then he may do it. The next step in the argument is not too great for childish wits: if his mother does what she chooses, of course he will do what he chooses, if he can; and henceforward the child’s life becomes an endless struggle to get his own way; a struggle in which a parent is pretty sure to be worsted, having many things to think of, while the child sticks persistently to the thing which has his fancy for the moment.’ [Part 1]

 

Fathers

‘We all know the natural conditions under which a child should live; how he shares household ways with his mother, romps with his father…’ [Home Education]

 

Parents

‘It is a great thing to be a parent: there is no promotion, no dignity, to compare with it.’ [Part 1]

Code of Education in the Gospels.––It may surprise parents who have not given much attention to the subject to discover also a code of education in the Gospels, expressly laid down by Christ. It is summed up in three commandments, and all three have a negative character, as if the chief thing required of grown-up people is that they should do no sort of injury to the children: Take heed that ye OFFEND not––DESPISE not––HINDER not––one of these little ones….So run the three educational laws of the New Testament, which, when separately examined, appear to me to cover all the help we can give the children and all the harm we can save them from––that is, whatever is included in training up a child in the way he should go. Let us look upon these threegreat laws as prohibitive, in order to clear the ground for the consideration of a method of education; for if we once settle with ourselves what we may not do, we are greatly helped to see what we may do, and must do. But, as a matter of fact, the positive is included in the negative, what we are bound to do for the child in what we are forbidden to do to his hurt.’ [Part 1]

 

Charlotte Mason Quotes on Education

Learning

‘…children should be taught, as they become mature enough to understand such teaching that the chief responsibility which rests on them as persons is the acceptance or rejection of initial ideas. To help them in this choice we should give them principles of conduct and a wide range of the knowledge fitted for them.’ [Preface]

‘[The] period of a child’s life between his sixth and his ninth year should be used to lay the basis of a liberal education, and of the habit of reading for instruction.’ [Preface]

Be encouraged in your homeschool by reading these homeschooling Charlotte Mason quotes. #CharlotteMasonQuotes #educationquotes #homeeducation

 

Education

‘Education is the science of relations…’ [Preface]

‘By the saying, Education is an atmosphere, it is not meant 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 a ‘child’s’ level.’ [Preface]

 

The Object of Education

‘…the object of education is to put a child in living touch as much as may be of the life of Nature and of thought. Add to this one or two keys to self knowledge, and the educated youth goes forth with some idea of self management, with some pursuits, and many vital interests.’ [Preface]

 

What’s Wrong with How Education’s Usually Done or Theorised

‘It is true that educationalists are already eager to establish such contact in several directions, but their efforts rest upon an axiom here and an idea there, and there is no broad unifying basis of thought to support the whole.’ [Preface]

 

Curriculum

‘The mind feeds on ideas, and therefore children should have a generous curriculum.’ [Preface]

‘But, believing that the normal child has powers of mind that fit him to deal with all knowledge proper to him, we must give him a full and generous curriculum; taking care, only, that the knowledge offered to him is vital––that is, the facts are not presented without their informing ideas.’ [Preface]

‘We should allow no separation to grow up between the intellectual and ‘spiritual’ life of children; but should teach them that the divine Spirit has constant access to their spirits, and is their continual helper in all the interests, duties and joys of life.’ [Preface]

 

Authority

‘[Children] must perceive that their Governors are Law-compelled.––Where is the beginning of this tangle, spoiling the lives of parent and child alike? In this: that the mother began with no sufficient sense of duty; she thought herself free to allow and disallow, to say and unsay, at pleasure, as if the child were hers to do what she liked with. The child has never discovered a background of must behind is mother’s decisions; he does not know that she must not let him break his sister’s playthings, gorge himself with cake, spoil the pleasure of other people, because these things are not right. Let the child perceive that his parents are law-compelled as well as he, that they simply cannot allow him to do the things which have been forbidden, and he submits with the sweet meekness which belongs to his age. To give reasons to a child is usually out of place, and is a sacrifice of parental dignity; but he is quick enough to read the ‘must’ and ‘ought’ which rule her, in his mother’s face and manner, and in the fact that she is not to be moved from a resolution on any question of right and wrong.’ [Part 1]

 

Short Lessons

‘…the lessons are short, seldom more than twenty minutes in length for children under eight; and this, for two or three reasons. The sense that there is not much time for his sums or his reading, keeps the child’s wits on the alert and helps to fix his attention; he has time to learn just so much of any one subject as it is good for him to take in at once: and if the lessons be judiciously alternated––sums first, say, while the brain is quite fresh; then writing, or reading––some more or less mechanical exercise, by way of a rest; and so on, the program varying a little from day to day, but the same principle throughout––a ‘thinking’ lesson first, and a ‘painstaking’ lesson to follow,––the child gets through his morning lessons without any sign of weariness.’ [Part 5]

 

Traditional Schools and Traditional Methods of Education

‘Hitherto, children have been brought up upon traditional methods mainly. The experience of our ancestors, floating in a vast number of educational maxims, is handed on from lip to lip; and few or many of these maxims form the educational code of every household.’ [Part 1]

‘That children should do as they are bid, mind their books, and take pleasure as it offers when nothing stands in the way, sums up the old theory; now, the pleasures of children are apt to be made more account than their duties.’ [Part 1]

‘…that is the direction in which we are now moving; and how far the new theories of education are wise and humane, the outcome of more widely spread physiological and psychological knowledge, and how far they just pander to child worship to which we are all succumbing, is not a question to be decided off-hand.’ [Part 1]

‘Were these people born with less brain power than others? Probably not; but if they were allowed to grow up without the daily habit of appropriate moral and mental work, if they were allowed to dawdle through youth without regular and sustained efforts of thought or will, the result would be the same, and the brain which should have been invigorated by daily exercise has become flabby and feeble as a healthy arm would be after carried for years in a sling.’ [Part 1]

 

Be encouraged in your homeschool by reading these homeschooling Charlotte Mason quotes. #CharlotteMasonQuotes #educationquotes #homeeducation

 

Charlotte Mason Quotes On Habits

‘[The] period of a child’s life between his sixth and his ninth year should be used to lay the basis of a liberal education, and of the habit of reading for instruction.’ [Preface]

‘Do not let the children pass a day without distinct efforts, intellectual, moral, volitional; let them brace themselves to understand; let them compel themselves to do and to bear; and let them do right at the sacrifice of ease and pleasure: and this for many higher reasons, but, in the first and lowest place, that the mere physical organ of mind and will may grow vigorous with work.’ [Part 1]

‘The child who starts in life with, say, twenty good habits, begins life with a certain capital that he will lay out to endless profit as the years go by.’ [Part 4]

 

Principles

‘For a chid’s moral sense is exceedingly quick; he is all eyes and ears for the slightest act or word of unfairness, deception, shiftiness…Give him a nurse who is coarse, violent, and tricky, and before the child is able to speak plainly he will have caught these dispositions.’ [Part 1]

‘Deal with a child on his first offence, and a grieved look is enough to convict the little transgressor; but let him go on until a habit of wrong-doing is formed, and the cure is a slow one; then the mother has no chance until she has formed in him a contrary habit of well-doing. To laugh at ugly tempers and let them pass because the child is small, is to sow the wind.’ [Part 1]

 

Charlotte Mason Quotes On Nature

‘Who can see the most, and tell the most, about yonder hillock or brook, hedge, or copse. This is an exercise that delights children, and may be endlessly varied, carried on in the spirit of a game, and yet with the exactness and carefulness of a lesson.’ [Part 1]

‘…make the children familiar with rural objects and employments. If there are farm-lands within reach, they should know meadow and pasture, clover, turnip, and corn field, under every aspect, from the ploughing of the land to the getting in of the crops.’ [Part 1]

‘Milkwort, eyebright, rest-harrow, lady’s-bedstraw, willow-herb, every wild flower that grows in their neighbourhood, they should know quite well; should be able to describe the leaf––its shape, size, growing from the root or from the stem; the manner of flowering––a head of flowers, a single flower, a spike, etc.’ [Part 1]

‘…a nature-diary is a source of delight to a child. Every day’s walk gives him something to enter: three squirrels in a larch tree, a jay flying across such a field, a caterpillar climbing up a nettle, a snail eating a cabbage leaf, a spider dropping suddenly to the ground, where he found ground ivy, how it was growing and what plants were growing with it, how bindweed or ivy manages to climb.’ [Part 1]

 

Charlotte Mason Quotes On God

‘We shall doubtless find, when we apprehend the law, that certain German thinkers––Kant, Herbart, Lotze, Froebel––are justified; that, as they say, it is necessary to believe in God; that, therefore, the knowledge of God is the principal knowledge, and the chief end of education.’ [Preface]

‘We should allow no separation to grow up between the intellectual and ‘spiritual’ life of children; but should teach them that the divine Spirit has constant access to their spirits, and is their continual helper in all the interests, duties and joys of life.’ [Preface]

‘Now listen to what goes on in many a nursery:––’God does not love you, you naughty, wicked boy!’ ‘He will send you to the bad, wicked place!,’ and so on; and this is all the practical teaching about the ways of his ‘almighty Lover’ that the child gets!––never a word of how God does love and cherish the little children all day long, and fill their hours with delight. Add to this, listless perfunctory prayers, idle discussions of Divine things in their presence, light use of holy words, few signs whereby the child can read that the things of God are more to his parents than any things of the world, and the child is hindered, tacitly forbidden to “come unto Me,”––and this, often, by parents who in the depths of their hearts desire nothing in comparison with God. This mischief lies in that same foolish undervaluing of the children, in the notion that the child can have no spiritual life until it please his elders to kindle the flame.’ [Part 1]

Charlotte Mason Quotes about Play, Nature, Mother's and Education. #charlottemasonquotes #educationquotes

 

Conclusion: Charlotte Mason Quotes

Charlotte Mason is so quotable! She had a unique insight into a child’s character and the way a mother can teach a student given their childish ways and desire to please. Mason was a woman who loved God and believed teaching a walk with Christ was a vital part of education. As such, a Charlotte Mason education gives children a great education and engenders them with a wonder of nature and healthy fear and love of God.

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Rebecca Devitt
Most adults don't particularly want to relive their schooling experience on a daily basis. They would gladly move on to a new life devoid of homework and teachers. Very, very few adults will passionately blog about their schooling some 15 years after graduating. This makes Rebecca Devitt somewhat unique. As it happens, she was homeschooled. And she loved it. Still does. And she wishes every kid could get a taste of homeschooling at its very best. Her website How Do I Homeschool, is a springboard for parents to see what a life of homeschooling could be for both them & their children. When she's not blogging Rebecca is still homeschooling her-adult-self by learning Latin, growing weird vegetables and most importantly looking after her two children Luke & Penny. She has a husband Tristan and is a participant at Wollongong Baptist Church. She's also written a book about why parents should homeschool called 'Why on Earth Homeschool'.
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