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5. What Makes an Education?

What is education? Have you ever tried to pin down precisely what it is?

Education includes facts, but it's more than that. Education includes passion, but it's more than that. Education includes reading, but it's more than that.

Education takes all of those things and sees connections and how one thing is like another, and that what happened here is related to what happened there. Education is all about building relationships between things and people and places and incidents. It's about developing a personal relationship with those things, so that it's not just a disinterested recognition -- it's truly caring about those things. Education is about what makes those relationships happen.

Or, to put it in Charlotte Mason's own words, "education is the science of relations."

But how do you see relationships between different things if your experience and exposure to things is limited? How do you notice that a snail shell is designed with the precision of a Fibonacci numerical sequence if you've never heard of a Fibonacci sequence? What if you've never even seen a snail?

The more you know, the more of these wondrous relationships you see, and the more interconnectedness you notice. That's why a CM education tries to expose the student (and his teacher!) to so many different kinds of things -- not just snails and numbers, but music, and customs in other lands, and the wonder of water, and kings of long ago.

Is it possible to learn everything? Well, no. But don't worry about gaps in your child's education -- the more amazing wonders he finds out about, the more he'll realize there is to know, and the more he'll want to fill in those gaps on his own. He'll never be the kind of person who thinks he "knows it all," because he'll have a sense that the little bit he does know is just the tip of the iceburg!

"'Education is the science of relationships' means that normal children have a natural, inborn desire for all knowledge, and they have a right to be exposed to it." [from Charlotte Mason's Vol. 3 pg 216]

[Today's patio chat comes from Principle 12]

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