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9. Education is an Atmosphere: The Environmental Tool

A few weeks ago, we talked about three tools: your child's natural environment, habits that make his life smoother, and interesting ideas that awaken his mind: what Charlotte Mason called "an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life," and they are the foundational building blocks of a CM education. Let's look at those a little more closely. This week, we'll talk about atmosphere -- your child's environment.

Think about your child's life from his perspective. His environment is like the air he breathes. Is his atmosphere warm and loving, with the warmth of a mother's smile, the camaraderie of siblings that he alternately bickers with and plays with? Are there friends to add a bit of fun? Extended family? Is he learning about love and responsibility by caring for a pet?

What else is in your child's environment -- what makes up the atmosphere of his life? Does Dad have a job he talks about at home? Are daily news and local events sometimes talked about around the dinner table? Are family members treated with dignity and respect?

Does he see you reading, and modeling that as an enjoyable experience? Are there prayers given regularly? Are there regular times spent outdoors? Is music a part of your family's life? Or is there the constant noise of a TV going in the background?

Your child is learning all the time, whether you're intentionally teaching him or not. The life he experiences is teaching him -- about love, trust, family dynamics, kindness, how to handle adversity. This week, take a good look at the atmosphere that's teaching your child. What is his atmosphere teaching him about life?

"No artificially created environment could possibly compare to the natural atmosphere of real life, which blows like a fresh wind over the child." [from Charlotte Mason's Vol. 6 pg 93]

[Today's patio chat comes from Principle 6]

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