Wednesday, September 2, 2015

From My Commonplace: On a Literary Education

"…education is for us.  For our own selves, for the children, and any interested others.  It is, in a way, citizenship.  It shows us what it means to be people, and it teaches us how to live in the world.  Charlotte Mason listed virtues that could be mined in her Aladdin's Cave: candour, fortitude, temperance, patience, meekness, courage, generosity.  Be we don't stand in the doorway of the cave, handing those things out one moral at a time.  The feast is inside: many living books.  Many ideas.  Many glimpses of the divine, of Eternity, of something beyond ourselves." (p.69-70)
"No, [books] show us that we have a purpose; that we can be useful in the world, and that is our pleasure.  Education gives us minds more awake, and a life that is more than just passing time.  'Leave us alone without books and we shall be lost…We shall not know what to join on to, what to cling to, what to love and what to hate, what to respect and what to despise.' (Dostoevsky)."  (p.70)
"And why, again, are we emphasizing literature? To what end? We don't read Shakespeare with children by giving them long vocabulary lists on which to be quizzed; in fact, we don't read it with them to enrich their vocabularies, or to teach them about Julius Caesar or what blank verse is.  We definitely don't read it because we want to show off what homeschools or private schools can do.  We read it with them because we want to give them something that already belongs to them.  We read it, as we look at paintings and stars and cathedrals, to gain some lasting 'mind furniture'. We read it because it's beautiful and true, because it helps us to understand God and people.   We read it to get beyond ourselves." (p.82)
~Anne White, Minds More Awake: The Vision of Charlotte Mason

My Bookbag This Week:
Devotional: Job with a commentary: Job: The Wisdom of the Cross (Ash)
Theological or Christian Living:  Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (Scazzero)
AO Book Discussion Group: Ivanhoe (Scott) and finishing up (finally!) How to Read a Book (Adler)
On Education: Minds More Awake (White)
Shakespeare: Hamlet (aiming to read a scene-a-day alongside my daughter's Shakespeare class at our co-op.  Don't we all need a little more Shakespeare in our lives?!)
Novel/Biography/Memoir:  The Jungle Books (Kipling) – pre-reading for AO Year 3, Term 3
Read-Alouds with the Children:  The Little White Horse (Goudge), Pilgrim's Progress (Bunyan)

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  1. I love the word picture of the cave and I *LOVE* that we read to get beyond ourselves. Beautiful. This is already on my wishlist but might have inched higher :)

    1. It's fantastic Dawn. Go read it now. (There have I inched it higher yet again! :P) I love that all these AO Advisory ladies are starting to write books born out of their experience of CM over the years. What a gift to those of us still down in the trenches, who will be for some time to come yet....