Last week I shared a Charlotte Mason quote from For the Children's Sake. Today, I'd like to share Charlotte Mason directly from A Philosophy of Education.
In the second chapter, she deals quite extensively with the concept of ideas. She argues that ideas are what people latch onto and how they connect with other people and ideas. These interconnections are integral to the education we wish to provide.
Mason tells us that the brain is not the mind, merely the means by which the mind plays with ideas:
I am anxious to bring before teachers the fact that a child comes into their hands with a mind of amazing potentialities: he has a brain too, no doubt, the organ and instrument of that same mind, as a piano is not music but the instrument of music. (pg 38)But she goes on to expand; the brain is a part of that which a person's thoughts are thunk, but that:
It is still true that that which is born of the spirit is spirit. The way to mind is quite a direct way. Mind must come into contact with mind through the medium of ideas. (pg 39)and
That which was born of the spirit, the idea, came first and demanded to confirm and illustrate ... Education, like faith, is the evidence of things not seen. (pg 39)finally,
Our business is to give children the great ideas of life, of religion, history, science; but it is the ideas we must give, clothed upon with facts as they occur, and must leave the child to deal with these as he chooses.(pg 40, italics hers)Happily, she expands upon this by showing, through a geography lesson, one way these ideas are communicated through the words and descriptions in well-written literature. I've always been a little afraid of ideas --facts I get-- but ideas almost seem too big for me to conceptualize. Her explanation that ideas are really how minds, how persons, connect helps clarify the concept of "idea" for me.