In the first episode of the Thinking Love podcast, Amy and Leah discuss what it means to utilize a thinking love in home education. How do we accept and reject ideas to create a homeschool that is truly led by the Holy Spirit and unique to our family's needs?
"'The mother is qualified,' says Pestalozzi, 'and qualified by the creator herself to become the principle agent in the development of her child, What is commanded of her is a thinking love."
Pestalozzi was a philosopher and educational reformer in the late 1700's and early 1800's. He had a huge impact on a play-based movement for education for young children, and there we see the roots of Charlotte Mason's philosophy. Charlotte Mason was trained in a Pestalozzian college.
Pestalozzi believed that children learn from the day they are born. We've all seen our babies learn and grow from a very young age. Even in the womb they're learning our voice, our movements, and when they're born they learn our smells and what to expect. That's the heart of a child born as a person.
Who's there from the very first moment? The mother- the first agent of education. That can seem really overwhelming, but the mother is qualified for this job.
A thinking love combines the head and the heart. Sometimes we make our decisions based on our emotions, and equally dangerous, sometimes we make decisions based all on our logic. Thinking love is so perfectly balanced. We make those decisions that we know are right based on our logic, but using the intuition has been God-given. I love that Charlotte Mason opens her volumes that way because before she lays our everything that she believes, she wants US to think.
"Our children are born for eternity and confided expressly to me that i may educate them for being children of God. " Pestalozzi.
We have this mindset that there is something much bigger going on, and we have a part in helping our children grow towards that.
Home Education (available to read online from Ambleside Online)
The original quote appears in Pestalozzi's Letters on Early Education. You can download it for free through Google Books. An excellent summary of Pestalozzi's life and work can be found in Essays on Educational Reformers by Robert Quick. This is also available online for free. (Charlotte Mason recommended this book to parents!)
At about the 2-minute mark, Leah said "the philosophy that Charlotte Mason created." This is not entirely accurate. Charlotte Mason was a student of philosophy, and she gleaned much of her wisdom from great thinkers of the past.
Amy referred to the discord in schools: "The educational outlook is rather misty and depressing both at home and abroad. That science should be a staple of education, that the teaching of Latin, of modern languages, of mathematics, must be reformed, that nature and handicrafts should be pressed into service for the training of the eye and hand, that boys and girls must learn to write English and therefore must know something of history and literature; and, on the other hand, that education must be made more technical and utilitarian-- these, and such as these, are the cries of expedience with which we take the field. But we have no unifying principle, no definite aim; in fact, no philosophy of education. As a stream can rise no higher than its source, so it is probable that no educational effort can rise above the whole scheme of thought which gives it birth; and perhaps this is the reason of all the 'fallings from us, vanishings,' failures, and disappointments which mark our educational records." Preface to the 'Home Education' Series