Random Notes: Science of Relations


We are currently reading and learning about the 100 years’ war in year 2. It was a century of battles between the English and the French. Add to that, civil war, the bubonic plague or Black Death, to famine, and unending battles. 8yo son blurts out his lingering thoughts about this period over lunch. He was affected and could not fathom how people lived then. I think that is proof that it has captured his attention and that learning actually happened.



History is a favorite here at home. Primarily because of 3 key tools that Charlotte Mason taught me to use: 

 1)Living Books on History 

 2)Narration after every reading

 3)Keeping of a Timeline  

These 3 make history come to life in our house! If you think about it, History IS interesting. But somewhere along the line, educators have chosen a way of teaching that make History so impersonal and distant.  

Why Living Books? Because reading history in living words rather than through dry textbooks make all the difference. It captures the imagination and invites readers to empathize with the event or period in time. After reading, the child Retells or Narrates back in his own words. This gives him/her the opportunity to ingrain what was just read, assess the story, and make own observations. Take note that Narration is different from Discussion. I always make sure that the reading is narrated first before any discussion take place. Then, child chooses what to place in his timeline. We have been using a timeline since year 1 and it is slowly showing us the bigger picture. We see the connections. We see how events change just from a single act, person, or invention. 

(I don’t know how memorizing of names or dates or places can give life or meaning to a history lesson. I think it takes away the joy of learning. Memorizing facts has its place but if it’s all there is to it, it remains mere data and not knowledge owned.)



8year old son's recent readings are from Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall, Child’s History of the World by V.M. Hillyer, and a biography of Joan of Arc by Diane Stanley. These three sources give him a comprehensive peak into life then. The readings are not dissected or perfectly laid out as units to be studied. Nor does it come with ready made prompts or questions to nail a point. These sources are making his 8 year old mind work by giving him space to make his own connections and conclusions.

“Education is the Science of Relations”; that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him make valid as many as may be of--

"Those first-born affinities that fit our new existence to existing things.”  - Charlotte Mason




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