Note: this post is part of an ongoing series. For more information visit the Mondays with Miss Mason page. Do you post on Charlotte Mason topics? If so, leave a comment with your link below and I will include you next week.
Living books are a major component of a Charlotte Mason education.
There is much to consider:
- How do you choose a living book?
- What is twaddle and how do you avoid it?
- What do you do with a living book once you find it?
Another aspect of using living books is applying your trust, or your faith, to them for the education of your child.
We trust much to Good Books––Once more, we know that there is a storehouse of thought wherein we may find all the great ideas that have moved the world. We are above all things anxious to give the child the key to this storehouse. The education of the day, it is said, does not produce reading people. We are determined that the children shall love books, therefore we do not interpose ourselves between the book and the child. We read him his Tanglewood Tales, and when he is a little older his Plutarch, not trying to break up or water down, but leaving the child’s mind to deal with the matter as it can.
Can you let the books themselves speak to your child without stepping in between them?
I read a very interesting book a few years ago called Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It by Kelly Gallagher. The author is an English teacher who is working to change the current educational culture of killing the love of reading by too much of this “interpos[ing] ourselves” between the book and the child–often in the form of worksheets, questions, reading journals, emphasis on testing, etc.
Think about it–almost every book a child reads upon entering public school is subjected to an endless dissection. Imagine if every book you read you had to be tested on?
I chuckle to see Charlotte Mason’s comment that: “The education of the day, it is said, does not produce reading people.” I would have to say that all these years later we still haven’t figured it out in our schools for the most part (or in many homeschooling curriculums for that matter).
Having taught English in a high school, I now cringe to think of the disservice I did to my students through some of my teaching methods. I wonder what I would do now in the same position?
After nearly a decade of homeschooling, I can say that good books are worth trusting. The education provided by living books is unmatched. They create relationships that linger long after the last pages are turned and build mental habits and ideas that can’t be found anywhere else.
For more on trusting good books:
- Inspiration from Nancy at Sage Parnassus
- Sonya’s Language Arts guide
- This on discerning what literature is good