As we start another new year, we put our spotlight on a January baby, Charlotte Mason, born January 1st, 1842. She is another great and innovative educator who helped change the way we think about children and their upbringing. She published the 6 volume Original Homeschooling Series long before the unschooling movement of today! They went out of print for 80 years before being rediscovered and reprinted in 1987. She also wrote a Geography Series. Both homeschoolers and more traditional schools explicitly use Charlotte Mason’s ideas today.

She founded an organization to support homeschoolers and a teacher training college. She spent much of her later life supporting the network of schools that sprang up to put her liberal education ideas into effect.

Here are some quotations that give insight into her radical views that might even be seen as such today:

  • every act of disobedience in the child is a direct condemnation of the parent
  • self-education is the only possible education; the rest is mere veneer laid on the surface of a child’s nature
  • Do not let the endless succession of small things crowd great ideals out of sight and out of mind.
  • like Ariel released from his tree prison, a beautiful human being leaps out of many a human prison at the touch of sympathy
  • The person of winning personality attracts his pupils who will do anything for his sake and are fond and eager in all their ways, docile to the point where personality is submerged, and they live on the smiles, perish on the averted looks, of the adored teacher. Parents look on with a smile and think that all is well; but Bob or Mary is losing that growing time which should make a self-dependent, self-ordered person, and is day by day becoming a parasite who can go only as he is carried, the easy prey of fanatic or demagogue.
  • our power to conduct our relations with other people depends upon our power of conducting our relations with ourselves.

She was a powerful leader in education and still influences us today. If you are interested in her writings, you can get them here!