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Mondays with Miss Mason – On Goal Setting

Long ago when my children were young I blogged for a few years. One of the features on my blog was “Mondays with Miss Mason” partly to share Charlotte Mason with the world and partly to keep me on track with my own goals.

Many years have passed, and I am still in need of that encouragement and focus so I am starting back up and inviting you all to join me.

If you post about Charlotte Mason’s ideas or books, please comment below and I will be sure to link to you at the end of the post each week.  I look forward to learning together.

On Goal Setting

As the new term begins, I find myself thinking about goals again. Are we “on track?”  Am I focusing on the right things? Where is that list anyway?

Miss Mason has some very informative thoughts on the idea of goal setting for our children. Her advice is good whether you are homeschooling or not. In fact, she gave mothers instruction for what to think about before instructing the governess in how to educate her children.

From Home Education, Part V:

Three Questions for the Mother.––But if the mother is to inoculate the governess with her views as to the teaching of writing, French, geography, she must, herself, have definite views. She must ask herself seriously, Why must the children learn at all? What should they learn? And, How should they learn it? If she take the trouble to find a definite and thoughtful answer to each of these three queries, she will be in a position to direct her children’s studies; and will, at the same time, be surprised to find that three-fourths of the time and labour ordinarily spent by the child at his lessons is lost time and wasted energy.

So, I love this! Three questions!

1) Why must the children learn at all?

2) What should they learn?

3) How should they learn it?

This really is a great starting point for thinking about education–whichever method or whoever is doing it.  When you begin with the first question–why educate them at all, it informs your answers to the next two questions.

Do you educate children to have successful careers? to be good citizens? to learn more about God’s world and their places in it? because it is the law? There are many different reasons and if you don’t know why then it doesn’t really matter what they do every day during “school hours,” does it? It’s like that old adage–if you don’t know where you are going, then you will never get there.

As I start to turn my eyes to goal setting for high school, I am thinking of these foundational questions. There will always be more options than you can possibly consider, but with a few goals you can find the way through.

A Sabbath Mood

Wendell Berry’s poem below is a great reminder that while we may and must plan and work we can also rest knowing it is not in our hands alone that the work is fulfilled.

Whatever is foreseen in joy
Must be lived out from day to day.
Vision held open in the dark
By our ten thousand days of work.
Harvest will fill the barn; for that
The hand must ache, the face must sweat.

And yet no leaf or grain is filled
By work of ours; the field is tilled
And left to grace. That we may reap,
Great work is done while we’re asleep.

When we work well, a Sabbath mood
Rests on our day, and finds it good


Your thoughts? Please comment below or on my Facebook page.

Looking for more Charlotte Mason Ideas?

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