"'Education is the Science of Relations'; that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of––
'Those first-born affinities,
That fit our new existence to existing things.'"

Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education
with a quote from The Prelude by William Wordsworth

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Living Media

"'Education is the Science of Relations'; that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of––
'Those first-born affinities,
That fit our new existence to existing things.'"

Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education with a quote from The Prelude by William Wordsworth

She goes on to state, "The children I am speaking of are much occupied with things as well as with books, because 'Education is the Science of Relations,' is the principle which regulates their curriculum; that is, a child goes to school with many aptitudes which he should put into effect."

Miss Mason lived until 1923, just at the time of radio's development and long before television, computers, or the Internet. While living books will always be the cornerstone of our homeschool, I am also always searching for living audios, videos, software, and web sites. We do not exclude any sources (though certainly families do for their own good reasons); instead I evaluate all these things in the same way I do our books.

A living book:

...is written by a single author with expertise and enthusiasm for a subject;
...is well written in an engaging style such that they are an enjoyment to read;
...has high quality information in terms of its depth as well as in relation to good character formation.

One does not have to stretch that definition too much in order to apply it to other media forms. Certainly we can find absorbing programing that has little educational value, or worse, with moral values counter to a family's own. We can also find boring educational media, or educational material that is over-simplified or not of "literary" quality (the recent fad of gross-based science materials comes to mind.)

Finding engaging, challenging media presented in a quality format, i.e. living media, can be hard to find in a world of media twaddle. Then again, finding living books in a world of twaddle is not easy, either. When we see our children forming a "relation" with material of which we approve, then we know we've found a living media.

Feed their minds nothing but the best.

3 comments:

Cindy said...

I agree! What goes in - through any mode - should be a feast for the eyes, ears and mind. Not to mention, so much of the "twaddle" media can really lead us (and our children)down a path away from the Lord.

"Oh be careful little eyes what you see..."

:o)

Thanks for submitting this to the carnival. I LOVE the new blog! I've added it to my Bloglines account.

Kris said...

Thanks--it was fun designing it, even if it probably took up more of my time than it should have ;o)

{ jamie } said...

So true! Thanks for this great post!