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OT: Neo-Classical vs Charlotte Mason

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  • serendipitous journey
    replied
    Re: OT: Neo-Classical vs Charlotte Mason

    oh my, we started in Montessori & have "dabbled" in Waldorf too!

    You are so right about Montessori training! And about the die-hard CMers ... I often think that CM training would have a similar value to Montessori's, in terms of implementing the method. It seems clear that CM's teachers were very well trained in very specific ways. I suppose classical teachers were, too, but thank goodness there are so many materials to support us in cases where mama wasn't classically educated!

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  • howiecram
    replied
    Re: OT: Neo-Classical vs Charlotte Mason

    Originally posted by serendipitous journey View Post

    Waldorf/Steiner is a very complicated bag of goods, to be sure!
    Oy Vey on Waldorf! It looks appealing to a new homeschooling mother, yes? We started our homeschooling journey with Montessori. In all honesty, if I had the training, I would still be doing Montessori. However, I was drowning......and I think unless you have the training, the possibility for gaps is too much. I think many people still misunderstand Montessori (thinking that following the child means they lead everything....not exactly the truth). I feel the same about CM. I think the die hard CM'er children are not receiving a "less" education. However, it was also another "method" that allowed me to also drown. Waldorf, on the other hand I have serious concern with. It was appealing for my whimsical 5 year old. I was drawn in by the "rhythms". We are Catholic, so I thought "Hey, they are celebrating the Saints". However, something felt "off". Wait, they are celebrating St. Nicholas and then the Winter Solstice...hmmmm...and then I dug a little deeper into Steiner, where I learned about anthroposophy and the real reason they don't teach reading until age 7 (in fact, it is forbidden). There was also something about them not being able to use all the colors! I had spent exactly 3 days of my life on Waldorf and haven't looked back since........

    So, here we are....stumbled on MP by complete accident......Was still not drawn into the "classical" method, but something that looked like a more traditional school for a K'er. I'm a bit of a traditionalist and this met my needs.....fast forward to 2 solid years on the forum...and I'm learning lots and lots and getting more interested in the "method". I always appreciate the insights of the Moms here!

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  • serendipitous journey
    replied
    Re: OT: Neo-Classical vs Charlotte Mason

    Originally posted by Enigma View Post
    Ana- your description sounds a bit like Waldorf/Steiner from my research.

    ...
    oh, do you mean the art & music &c? I thought that was pretty straightforward CM, from my readings -- which are not as extensive as I'd like -- artist study, composer study, poet study, nature drawings, hymns/folksongs, nature time & play outdoors &c. sprinkled into the day to help keep lessons short and give a variety of types of things for little minds to do. The Waldorf folks would be so unhappy at all the reading in a CM school, yes? among other things ...

    Waldorf/Steiner is a very complicated bag of goods, to be sure!

    ETA: or was it the body/mind/spirit? That bit I got straight from reading some ancient Greeks. There's not as much as I'd like on the education in the oldest of our classical cultures, and of course not all of what they did is what I'd like to do, but it seems clear that they valued a wholesome development of the body, of storytelling, and of singing/instrument playing in addition to reading, writing, arithmetic & speaking.

    But I especially am drawn to the classical idea of the human, and of developing the right relationship of a person to herself, her society, and her Creator. This feels more explicit in traditional classical to me than in CM, but not sure others would agree.

    ETA #2: I tried to clean up my first post for clarity. And: I myself like Harry Potter, and also caramels . I'm willing to balance them with Kristin Lavransdatter & a yummy, wholesome meal!
    Last edited by serendipitous journey; 05-06-2017, 05:12 AM.

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  • Enigma
    replied
    Re: OT: Neo-Classical vs Charlotte Mason

    Ana- your description sounds a bit like Waldorf/Steiner from my research.

    All of these responses are fascinating reading (including the HP ones. G and D are watching Fantastic Beasts as I type. ) I'm sure we all agree, like everything else, moderation is the key when it comes to Twinkies. Good for a treat but as a diet- fattening and disease causing. Actually, I detest Twinkies so how about Trifle? It seems healthy-you have dairy and fruit-but in reality...

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  • serendipitous journey
    replied
    Re: OT: Neo-Classical vs Charlotte Mason

    Originally posted by Enigma View Post
    I don't know where to put this so hopefully someone will place it where it goes. (And I won't get in trouble for posting something like this.)

    Last night I hosted a Mom's Night at my home for my co op group's monthly meeting. I just provide the space. I'm not involved in the planning of speakers.

    The topic was Charlotte Mason education-who she was, what it is, how to implement, etc.. The question was asked how is neo-classical (like Well-Trained Mind, MP, etc.) different from Charlotte Mason's method. The speaker responded that it is the way the methods see the child. Classical sees the child as an empty vessel waiting to be filled while Miss Mason saw the child as a "complete" person already. Classical has children memorize unrelated lists of dates, etc. to be used later to 'hang' knowledge on at some future point. (borrowing a bit from Susan Wise Bauer's terminology) while CM endeavors to help the child relate personally to all they learn/read. Classical tells the child what to think while CM lets the child think for themselves.

    I found her explanation a bit simplistic as I have studied both philosophies (among others) over the years. The speaker was not dismissing classical or rude. She is obviously very dedicated to her method. But how would you (and MP) have responded?
    I've been thinking about this over the last week or so, and the posts on the this thread -- especially Sarah's and Jessica's excellent explanations & perspectives. It seems to me that the comments about neo-classical treating the child as an "empty vessel" to be filled with unconnected facts is just wrong; that the speaker (or somebody providing kind feedback to her) can find many points of agreement between the methods and even strengths of CM without having to attack neo-classical; and finally, that there ARE differences between the methods -- particularly in the matter of formal language instruction, and often in inclusion of classical writings in the upper years -- and that where CM claims that this formal instruction is harmful to a child, many of us have the opposite experience.

    1. Wrongness of "empty vessel": I do think that the version of "classical" or "neo-classical" the speaker attacked was a straw man, and not any real classical I've ever seen ... even Classical Conversations educators do not think of themselves as "filling empty" vessels. Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise and Memoria Press all believe that they are educating precious children, created in the image of God and of infinite value.

    So I might have started by agreeing that an empty pot makes a poor metaphor for a child, and asking where she encountered it? If it is something she's heard about classical education, that would be one conversation; if she had a terrible experience as a child in a badly-run classical/parochial school, one that tried to fill empty vessels with unconnected facts, that would be another.

    2. Similarities between methods, and some good things to say about CM. As far as the differences between classical and CM, in one sense they are fewer than they seem at first -- both methods ought to care about the "whole person" and train the child up as a moral inhabitant of God's great universe. Neither would allow a child to hoover up piles of twaddle from poorly-stocked library display tables.

    Charlotte Mason, it seems to me, was similar to Maria Montessori in her concern that children be given the excellent educations they deserved, even if they were poor or disadvantaged. Her focus on a child's personhood feels very much like Montessori's reminder that the child be respected as whole person, and not be bullied or manipulated or put out to a workhouse at a tender age. When you read about the treatment of children in the generation or so leading up to CM, you can see why she would make such strong points that they were whole persons. On the other hand, CM emphasized character training to a degree that makes it clear she thought children needed parenting & educating and were not "perfect".

    So, many of her methods make sense in her time for her purposes. Related to this: she didn't teach grammar to young children, as I recall, because she tried and it didn't work. There are several good grammar programs now that are clearly effective and appropriate for elementary children, and I think if she'd had them she would have used them. And so on for many of the elements of CM that are opposed to "formal" work.

    She also maintained an emphasis on children having lots of time to be outdoors, and learning to draw, to sing, to make music, to hear good music and see good art and read good poetry. This feels very classical to me, and more classical than many neo-classical programs: it is close to what the best of the ancient Greeks thought, and (I believe) close to the Jesuit emphasis on body, mind, and spirit.

    And there is an emphasis on "real books". In my own house I've seen greater fruit from, for example, using actual Bibles to teach our Christian Studies selections than I saw using children's bibles. Not everyone has had that experience, but it is one of the things I am trying to keep from our CM time. And using AO Year 1 books as enrichment with my younger child has been a wonderful experience.

    3. Neo-classical education includes formal instruction in language arts that runs counter to CM methods, and those of us who use it can see great results both academically and in terms of the children just being well people. I certainly find that my children benefit from the training in Latin, formal spelling, formal penmanship, and formal composition that a program like MP offers. All the neo-classical methods have a greater amount of formal grammar/spelling/composition than CM, but I don't think that even WTM does enough, for my own children, in terms of getting them writing. And not all the methods focus on Latin to the degree I'd like in a classical program.

    I also know that I want my children to have a strong grounding in the classical cultures of Greece and Rome and Christendom, and MP is one of the few programs that really scaffolds this and puts it center stage, that will have them reading the epic poems and Greek plays and Augustine's City of God after carefully laying the groundwork, in an age-appropriate way, for this advanced study.

    As much as I like and draw from the resources that generous CM communities provide, I will never let go of our more formal elements and our dedication to learning classical works.

    Finally: I do think the methods have a lot in common. I've been so glad to see that both groups are dedicated to providing a real and rich education to special needs children, for example.

    I hope this makes some sense, and is at all useful! I'm sleep-deprived and a bit punchy (ongoing PTSD troubles) but did want to try and engage this worthwhile conversation. blessings!
    Last edited by serendipitous journey; 05-06-2017, 05:02 AM. Reason: add structure/clarity

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  • SaintJude7
    replied
    Re: OT: Neo-Classical vs Charlotte Mason

    Oh no, not at all. I didn't want you to think that you were the only mom at MP who let her kids read HP.
    Blessings,
    Jude

    DD 20, DS 17, DS 14, DS 12, DD 10, DS 7, DD 5

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  • readingmother
    replied
    Re: OT: Neo-Classical vs Charlotte Mason

    "If" ... I'm sure that book has been written already! And they're reading it for next month's teen book discussion.

    Jude, I hope you didn't see my post as snark towards you. I was agreeing. Totally. 100%

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  • jaredluvsjoanie
    replied
    Re: OT: Neo-Classical vs Charlotte Mason

    Originally posted by SaintJude7 View Post
    Just to elucidate: If you wrote a book about an undocumented, transgender ten-year-old being raised by a divorced heroin addict, who converts to moderate islam and marches against global warming, our librarians would probably buy fifty copies, put them all front-facing on a special display in the children's section, and hold a family crafting event where the children make their own prayer rugs and posters about saving the planet.
    Blessings,
    Jude

    DD 20, DS 17, DS 14, DS 12, DD 10, DS 7, DD 5
    That...is scary. What is even scarier is that variations on this theme are going on as we speak.

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  • Aragorn
    replied
    Re: OT: Neo-Classical vs Charlotte Mason

    Originally posted by SaintJude7 View Post
    Just to elucidate: If you wrote a book about an undocumented, transgender ten-year-old being raised by a divorced heroin addict, who converts to moderate islam and marches against global warming, our librarians would probably buy fifty copies, put them all front-facing on a special display in the children's section, and hold a family crafting event where the children make their own prayer rugs and posters about saving the planet.
    Blessings,
    Jude

    DD 20, DS 17, DS 14, DS 12, DD 10, DS 7, DD 5
    sad but true! and the movie rights would get top dollar and Oscars would be won. sure you don't want to sell out and write that book now before someone else does?

    Leave a comment:


  • SaintJude7
    replied
    Re: OT: Neo-Classical vs Charlotte Mason

    Just to elucidate: If you wrote a book about an undocumented, transgender ten-year-old being raised by a divorced heroin addict, who converts to moderate islam and marches against global warming, our librarians would probably buy fifty copies, put them all front-facing on a special display in the children's section, and hold a family crafting event where the children make their own prayer rugs and posters about saving the planet.
    Blessings,
    Jude

    DD 20, DS 17, DS 14, DS 12, DD 10, DS 7, DD 5

    Leave a comment:


  • SaintJude7
    replied
    Re: OT: Neo-Classical vs Charlotte Mason

    I've read the Harry Potter books, and so have some of my older children. I think they are okay, not great literature. Pushing Harry Potter at the library is like pushing Twinkies at the dinner table. Twinkies already appeal to children. If you want to read A Tale of Two cities, there is only one copy that is not an abridged version in the whole library. There are 20 copies of HP and the Sorcerer's Stone, 15 copies of HP and the Chamber of Secrets, 10 of HP and the Order of the Phoenix, and 8 of HP and the Goblet of Fire. They did finally get a couple more copies of Little Women, bringing the total to three. This is in area with a sizable homeschooling population. We have amassed quite a personal library here at home, because our very well-funded, overstaffed library has decided to be more of a community entertainment and information access hub.
    Blessings,
    Jude

    DD 20, DS 17, DS 14, DS 12, DD 10, DS 7, DD 5

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  • pickandgrin
    replied
    Re: OT: Neo-Classical vs Charlotte Mason

    Kathi! According to Pottermore, I, too, am a Hufflepuff. <3

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  • readingmother
    replied
    Re: OT: Neo-Classical vs Charlotte Mason

    Sarah - Your post is amazing, and I'm not sure what a Sticky is either -- but I'm copying, pasting, and texting it to myself to reread every morning as we start school. Thank you!

    *CM is so popular (our homeschool roots were planted in that wildflower garden) -- but I think it's become obvious over the last few years that CMers have become divided just as classical homeschoolers (neo vs traditional) have. You have the AO/Karen Glass books CMers, and you have those that watercolor and catch butterflies all day every day. I foresee a new method actually being born from the latter as the purists spend more and more time actually reading Charlotte Mason's works.

    Jude - I don't think ALA's focus is on reading any longer. Sad. But true. And maybe necessary in today's culture. My daughter is a bookstagrammer and works with many publishing houses (THEY are concerned with what we're reading), but she also interns at our (very awesome) public library, and their focus is on getting the internet and computer skills for the general public, knitting and crafting, music, and after school care for the kids that have no where else to go. It's been a real bummer for her.

    And ... I'm going to be brave here (because I've researched MP's take on The Wizardling World), and wear my Hufflepuff scarf proudly. See me? There. That's feels better admitting that. I hope you'll all still like me.

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  • SaintJude7
    replied
    Re: OT: Neo-Classical vs Charlotte Mason

    Give that girl an ice cream sundae. The whole reason that my children are not allowed to check out books from our library without my approval is that most of the books are Twinkies. So the state-of-the-art-children's section has maybe one or two copies of classics, but a full shelf of some series about cat warriors. The non-fiction is only slightly less dreadful. Occasionally they will put out books on display that are "endangered." Meaning the circulation is so low, they will be getting rid of them if no one checks them out. A few weeks ago, one of the endangered books was Heidi. And it probably doesn't get checked out very often compared to Captain Underpants or Wimpy Kid or Harry Potter. The classics are not the books our librarians (or the public schools) are pushing. They would rather that a kid check out 10 twinkie books than one classic. It's all about the numbers. Sorry to go off on a rant, but it's like we are in a battle with the ALA for the minds of our children.
    Blessings,
    Jude

    DD 20, DS 17, DS 14, DS 12, DD 10, DS 7, DD 5

    Leave a comment:


  • Mary
    replied
    Re: OT: Neo-Classical vs Charlotte Mason

    Originally posted by pickandgrin View Post
    Exactly my point, Melanie. We (those who converse about classical ed) are often saying the same words and have different meanings in mind. A definition of terms can be a great way to begin a conversation. It's easy to forget that the words I am saying are probably conveying a different understanding based on the hearer, their background, what they've read, whom they've listened to, whom they hope to emulate, etc.
    I like this and I would even add that both as speakers and as listeners, our educational biases play very heavily into how we present or interpret things like this. Loaded phrases (well, they're loaded *to me*) like "tell children what to think" are likely to be spoken by someone who doesn't really love the idea of classical education, just as "sound bytes and nihilism" tumble from the lips of this professed lover of all things classical to describe the modern education system. I think it's funny but others would be mortified. (Note to self: Really watch what you say!)

    I thought of this last night. DD12 and I meet with a group of fiber-crafters each week at the library to knit, crochet and chat. The librarian who oversees this is constantly on my case to join the mother-daughter reading club which, based on the selections chosen, is not something either my daughter or I am interested in. She asked dd12 what she's reading now and, after hearing dd's response asked, "But what would you read if your mom didn't force you to read Tolkein or Alcott?" Them's fightin' words to this Mama! Before my hackles could be fully raised, my poised daughter responded that mama hasn't forced her to do anything and that I have merely trained her to seek out good writing. *Insert me bursting with pride here!*

    Her words, which I found to be so beautiful, profound, and true hit the librarian's ears like nails on a chalkboard. Our dear librarian was terribly offended and I kept coming back to this post in my mind - we really do interpret things differently based on our own experiences and biases. To her, hearing "good writing" immediately caused her to question her own taste (or that of her attendees)...and even having basic definitions (like "goodness" or "truth") can be difficult when two people cannot even agree that they exist. *weary sigh*

    I'm so glad we can have these talks! <3
    Last edited by Mary; 05-02-2017, 01:52 PM. Reason: I omitted the Oxford comma! *gasp*

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