Giving Your Family the Gift of a Slow Childhood

charlotte mason philosophy homeschooling parenting the feast life podcast Apr 29, 2024
The Feast Life
Giving Your Family the Gift of a Slow Childhood



Embracing a Slow Growing Time: The Charlotte Mason Philosophy

In the hustle of modern life, where speed and efficiency are often prized above all else, the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason offers a refreshing pause. Her approach encourages us to give children what she describes as "a slow growing time." This concept is not merely a call to slow down but an invitation to foster a deeper, more meaningful learning experience. Let's delve into what this philosophy entails and how it can transform our approach to education.

The Essence of a Slow Growing Time

Charlotte Mason, a pioneering British educator, believed that education should not be rushed. Children, according to Mason, need ample time to explore, absorb, and reflect upon the world around them. This slow growing time is essential for the development of a rich and well-rounded character. It’s about allowing children the space and time to grow at their own pace without the pressure of ticking clocks or packed schedules.

Cultivating Patience and Depth

In a world that often values quantity over quality, Mason’s philosophy stands out by emphasizing the depth of knowledge over breadth. She advocated for education to be an act of nourishing the mind with living ideas, not merely cramming it with information. This approach allows children to make meaningful connections with the material, leading to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the subjects they study.

Nature and the Outdoors

A crucial aspect of providing a slow growing time is the emphasis Mason placed on nature and the outdoors. She believed that children should spend a significant amount of time outside every day. This connection with nature slows down the pace of education and helps children develop an awareness and appreciation of the subtle changes and cycles around them. It's about learning at the rhythm of life, not the speed of technology.

The Role of Habit

Another key component of Mason's philosophy is the development of good habits. She argued that education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life. The slow cultivation of good habits—such as attention, accuracy, and punctuality—prepares children not just academically but also personally, shaping their very way of being in the world.

Implementing Mason’s Philosophy

How can we apply these principles in today’s fast-paced educational environment? Here are a few practical steps:

  • Prioritize Quality Over Quantity: Choose fewer topics and delve deeper into each one. Allow children the time to engage thoroughly and thoughtfully with every subject.
  • Incorporate Nature: Make outdoor time a non-negotiable part of your daily routine. Whether it’s a walk in the park, gardening, or simply observing the weather, nature is a great teacher.
  • Build a Learning Atmosphere: Create an environment at home that encourages curiosity and respects the natural pace of child development. This could mean having a variety of books readily available, spaces for creative play, and a routine that includes periods of reflection and relaxation.
  • Focus on Habit Formation: Dedicate time to developing good habits that support lifelong learning and personal growth. This includes habits of mind like concentration and critical thinking, as well as habits of character like kindness and resilience.

By adopting Charlotte Mason's principle of a slow growing time, we offer our children a gift—a foundation of thoughtful learning and genuine curiosity that will serve them for a lifetime. In this way, we prepare them not just to succeed academically, but to live richly and meaningfully.

About Amy Hughes:  

Amy is a mom of 9 living on the central coast of California. She is a writer, speaker, a contributor to Wild + Free, a Christian gentle parenting coach, and an Enneagram 4. Amy is an author with her debut book coming out in 2025. She reads way too many books, drinks way too much coffee, and is the queen of awkward silences. 

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