Education is an atmosphere
Charlotte Mason said,
“Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life,”
i.e. she considered atmosphere to account for one third of a child’s education.
What is Atmosphere?
Atmosphere is more than the smell of home-baked bread and fresh flowers on the table. When Miss Mason referred to “atmosphere” she was talking about something much deeper; the underlying ethos of your home.
The atmosphere of the home is a vitally important means of educating your children. It sets the standards for their future lives, and acts as their inner compass; guiding them to what is acceptable and what is not.
Charlotte Mason said,
“…about the child hangs, as the atmosphere around a planet, the thought-environment he lives in. And here he derives those enduring ideas which express themselves as a life-long kinship towards sordid or things lovely, things earthly or divine.”
A Parent’s Influence
As parents, it is our responsibility to create a “thought-environment” that encourages to good, and not evil. Our behaviour, our manners, and what we prioritise in OUR lives, will have a lasting impact upon THEM.
When we speak, our children hear what we say, and that way of speaking becomes acceptable. It becomes the “way” to speak. If we chose to delay our prayer, that becomes acceptable in the eyes of our children too.
Joseph Chillton Pierce, an author and expert on child development, said,
“We must become the people we want our children to be.”
As momentous as this sounds, children also benefit from seeing you try… and fail. Important life lessons are learnt from seeing parents learning and trying to better themselves. One of the many blessings that having children brings, is that is forces us to work on our flaws and weakness, with more urgency than ever before!
Charlotte Mason said,
“…a child draws inspiration from the casual life around him. The thought of any of our poor words and ways being a daily influence on a child should make the best of us want to hold our breath.”
Create a thought environment
Not only should the child’s environment be one where the atmosphere is God-centered, but it is also vital for his education that his “thought environment” encourages lofty ideas and the expression of of his thoughts.
Great ideas and concepts can be presented to a child through epic tales of history, exploration, reading biographies of great men and women, as well as exposing children to lectures and a variety of artistic expression.
Karen Andreola, the author of the Charlotte Mason Companion,
“Ideas are of spiritual origin. Therefore, ideas are passed on from person to person – through conversation or books written by those who love their subject matter.”
Through patient and loving parenting, we will create an atmosphere where our children feel safe and confident to express their thoughts about the ideas they have been exposed to.
Ultimately, the atmosphere in our homes creates that inner voice in our children, and determines what will be important for them as grown men and women, and what will not.
Through atmosphere, we are teaching them respect for elders, bravery, thinking good of one another, kindness, selflessness, and more.
In a world that is increasingly becoming more materialistic and consumer driven, creating the right environment and atmosphere in your home gives your children the gift of unworldliness; helping them to understand the temporal nature of our existence, and their ultimate purpose.
“And indeed the hereafter is better for you than the present life of the world” – Quran, 93:4
How do you encourage a rich “thought-environemt” in your home?
What practices and routines do you have in place to create a good “atmosphere” in your home?
Please let us know in the comments below!
Peace and Love,
Dr Gemma Elizabeth
Dr Gemma Elizabeth is a homeschooling mother of three from the U.K. As a passionate advocate for home education, she writes widely on the subject for various publications and speaks to mothers across the country about the benefits of homeschooling. In between the science experiments, read-alouds and math drills, she finds time to film videos for Youtube and writes on her blog OurMuslimHomeschool.com.
You can also find Gemma on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
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