Vitalizing Principles and a special offer

I’ve been talking about natural laws, and now it’s time to talk about the natural laws that govern education. There is another word we use to describe these natural laws, and that word is principle. Charlotte Mason used the words together to underscore the fact that they are essentially the same thing:

We labour under the mistake of supposing that there is no natural law or inherent principle according to which a child’s course of studies should be regulated. (Philosophy of Education, p. 156)

And there you have it. The simple statement that education—a child’s course of studies—should be regulated by natural law, which might also be called an “inherent principle” of the universe. Charlotte Mason listed twenty principles for us, but they do not carry equal weight. In The Story of Charlotte Mason by Essex Cholmondeley, Miss Mason raised the question:

What if those two or three vitalizing educational principles could be brought before parents?

Why, if there are only two or three vitalizing (life-giving) educational principles, did she give us twenty? The fact is, there really are two vital principles, and all the rest of the twenty can be understood as adjuncts or aspects of those two. I’m going to tell you what they are—it’s not a secret—but I don’t have room here to make a complete case for this, nor to explain how the rest of the principles operate in harmony with those two to form a unity of thought and purpose that underpins all of Charlotte Mason’s methods. That’s what In Vital Harmony is all about.

So, here are the two—Children are born persons and Education is the science of relations. (I discussed the idea of a principle and these two vital principles in the seminar Principles at the Helm.) If you are acquainted with Charlotte Mason, you may not be able to rattle off all twenty of the principles, but I am willing to guess that you have heard of these two principles.

I found it interesting that in the 1960s, long after Charlotte Mason’s death, the PNEU claimed exactly these two principles as the ones that guided all their work:

The educational principles of Charlotte Mason which guide us in our work are: the value and importance of a child as a person, and the fact that ‘education is the science of relations.’ ( )

Understanding how the rest of the principles support these two will make them stronger and clearer in your mind. You’ll be able to use these principles to support your educational endeavors in the same way you know how to use fire to grill steaks or heat your home. They are easy and natural, and the better you understand these principles in all their aspects, the easier it will be to spot them when they show up in other guises, being discussed in other terms. Perhaps even the ponderous academic ones.

I recorded the Principles at the Helm seminar last year because I knew In Vital Harmony wouldn’t be ready until now, and I wanted to share these ideas a bit sooner. If you want a sneak peak at part of what’s in the book, the seminar will be on sale for the next three days at the best price ever—50% off. Use the code LAUNCHDISCOUNT or just click on the title.