Mind to Mind

MindToMindCoverFrontShadowI’m so please to be able to say that Mind to Mind: An Essay Towards a Philosophy of Education is now available.

If you are familiar with Charlotte Mason’s writings, you probably know that the title of her last, most mature, book was An Essay Towards a Philosophy of Education (shortened to A Philosophy of Education in modern reprints.) With fear and trembling, I have ventured to shorten more than the title of this last volume in order to make it more accessible to modern readers.

I have not abridged the vital material about Miss Mason’s methods and philosophy—the parts that you would most want to read. I have removed the outdated references to books, people, and political situations that are not relevant for us today. They illustrated and illuminated her ideas when she was writing to her contemporaries in Great Britain, but they often confuse and bewilder a modern reader. Rather than focusing on the vital ideas, a reader may become mired in trying to make sense of whole paragraphs that refer to unfamiliar (and essentially irrelevant) matters. I have also removed 99% of the poetry that added many pages to the volume. My desire was to leave intact the clear, unadorned message in a form that is much easier to comprehend.

Toward that end, in addition to removing (always with a pang) extraneous material, I have added subheadings to organize and structure the remaining material, and I have written short introductions to each chapter. This treatment has brought Charlotte Mason’s own words into sharper focus, clearer and more accessible for today’s readers.

If you cannot bear to think of reading anything less than every word Charlotte Mason wrote in her original volume, this abridgment is not for you. (I confess that I fall into that category, myself.) But if you have tried to read Charlotte Mason’s volumes and found the Victorian-style prose hard going, or simply lack the time to tackle the long books, this shorter version may be exactly what you need.

I have prepared a PDF file of chapter one, which has the full original chapter side by side with the abridged version, including the added subheadings and introduction. If you are interested or curious, feel free to download, read, and compare. You will be able to see the nature of the material I chose to abridge, the approximate quantity abridged, and to decide if the additional material makes the content more accessible for you.

Knowledge…is passed, like the light of a torch, from mind to mind.

I realize that this project has the potential to scandalize devoted followers of Charlotte Mason. Nevertheless, my desire is not to curtail Miss Mason’s message or lose anything that is part of the vital knowledge that she has to share. My desire is to garner for Charlotte Mason more readers than ever. My sincere hope is that reading Mind to Mind will be merely the first step toward reading volumes in full. But if not, it will enable a modern reader to sit at the feet of a great teacher, to read in her own words of her deep respect for the personhood of children and her desire to nourish their minds with the richest knowledge that the world has to give.

Charlotte Mason’s works have been the torch that has ignited the flame of knowledge in hundreds of minds across many decades. It is my hope that Mind to Mind will bring that flame a little closer to 21st century readers so that still more of us may owe her the thanks of a grateful pupil to an inspiring teacher.

20 thoughts on “Mind to Mind

  1. I know that you approached this project with some trepidation, Karen, but I truly believe that it will be of wonderful value to the CM community at large. Thank you for all that you do to help us grow!

  2. What a wonderful idea! I confess that I’m one who has never made much headway with that book because I keep going down rabbit trails looking up information on all the people and events she mentions . . . and it’s all so interesting that I forget to come back to her book! Love that you’ve made such an extensive preview available — thanks!

  3. I am very much looking forward to this. After reading Consider This, I am confident you have done well with this work.

  4. I am excited about this! I don’t have the attention span at this point in my life to feel up to tackling the unabridged works, but I would love to read your trimmed-down version.

  5. You are a busy lady! Thanks so much for all your research and for your desire to help the growing CM community understand better the wisdom of Miss Mason.

  6. I’m so excited for this, Karen! It will be a great resource to be able to put something more accessible into the hands of homeschool moms and anyone else interested in education, knowing they won’t get bogged down in the dated parts of the volume.

  7. The greats of even the recent ‘long ago’ have so much to share, and our information age has created vast amounts of new information, we sort through each day, whether we want to or not. I am thankful one so capable is taking on this effort, to help one like me read her works. I’ve only recently started ‘Consider This’, and will be anxiously awaiting this upcoming work. Reminds me of J.B. Phillips work ‘for the common reader.’ and those needing encouragement for a time of need. Thank you-

  8. For a homeschooling mama that wants to make it through Charlotte Mason’s original works, but also wants to read the classics and contemporary books like The Story of Science by Sussan Wise Bauer, Mind to Mind is exactly what she needs. I am that mama. I tell myself there is no rush. On the other hand, I can’t live what I do not know. I am filled with anticipation and gratitude. Thank you, Karen!

  9. I’m a CM homeschooling mama who has never read Miss Mason’s original works {hangs head in shame}, but I would like to start with this book! I have some friends who are interested in reading and discussing also, but I was wondering, if they chose to read the original instead of your abridged version, how hard would it be to coordinate the discussion? Are the chapters the same, just with less content in each? For example, if I said we were going to read chapter 1 & 2 for our next discussion, would those of us who read Mind to Mind and those who read the original show up having read basically the same material?

    Loved ‘Consider This’ by the way!

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