By Kim Watkins, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Redeemer School
Choosing an educational path can be a challenge for parents in the Triad, where there are many schools to consider, not to mention a vibrant homeschool community. I’ve passed my share of playdates chatting with parents about school choices, and I expect you have, too!
When I’m asked about our choice – Redeemer School – I like to share about English educator Charlotte Mason (1842-1923). Her thoughtful philosophy of education was transformative during her lifetime. Admirably, it continues to inspire educators in schools and homeschools.
Miss Mason was a teacher and visionary. In Victorian England, education was based on social class—poor children learned trades, while affluent children studied the arts and literature. Mason, who herself was an orphan and never enjoyed financial security, became a teacher in the class-based system. But she dreamed of a generous and broad education for all children.
Working from her belief in the limitless possibilities of children, Mason made her dream a reality for many. She opened literature-based schools for children who lived in the slums and she taught affluent children in homes. Missionaries took her forward-thinking philosophy around the globe.
Despite her Victorian roots, Mason’s vision is adaptable for different situations, times and cultures. Mason’s motto summarized her philosophy:
Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life, and a science of relationships.
An atmosphere means the space in which the child breathes and learns. Mason called it the “thought-environment.” It is a combination of the physical surroundings and the quality of relationships with teachers, parents and others. Characteristics, such as, gentleness, reverence, kindness and helpfulness all mark personal relationships. The physical environment need not be extravagant but should be tidy and include simple touches such as playing beautiful music, displaying excellent student work, art prints, class pets, and flowers.
Redeemer School aims for an atmosphere of cooperation and motivation to engage in learning fostered from a child’s own desire to know and delight in a job well done. Whenever possible, the child’s natural curiosity does the teaching.
A discipline represents the development of good habits. Mason believed that a child’s possibilities are limitless because of their creation in the likeness of God. Good habits enable self-control and regulation.
At Redeemer School, purposeful instruction in habits such as attentiveness, thinking deeply, truthfulness, order, imagining, remembering, and obedience are the building blocks that help a child develop understanding. Habits of responsibility, courtesy, punctuality, and good temper help a child to grow in their social interactions with others.
A life represents the academic portion of the education—the ideas, experiences and knowledge that a child takes in daily. Mason believed knowledge begins with ideas, also called living thoughts, rather than predigested or dry facts. Examples include reading living books, narration (retelling what is learned), handwriting and spelling from dictation of great ideas, outdoor exploration, and artist and composer studies.
The Redeemer School curriculum focuses on the knowledge of God, knowledge of man and knowledge of the created universe. Classrooms are filled with Scripture, great literature, works of art, music, and excellent resources in math and science. Children are put in touch with excellent thoughts in all disciplines to inspire the depth of thought, process and creativity of those who have made impacts on the world.
A science of relationships describes the relationship a child has with what she is learning. Along with the relationships the child identifies between ideas. To develop intimacy with a subject, a child should be free to run and jump, climb and swim, lift and carry, touch and feel textures, learn handicrafts, and learn the names of many living things. A child needs a living relationship with the present (science, literature, art, music) as well as a historical understanding of the past (significant events, science, literature, art and music).
Redeemer School students develop these relationships through hands-on activities, real-life experiences, timelines, integrated subjects, and reading original sources.
Redeemer School is now accepting applications for TK-8th grade for the 2024-2025 school year!
Learn more about Redeemer School and the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason. Plus, discover what it means to be part of a covenant school, and tour our facilities at one of our Open House events. Learn more at redeemerschool.org/admissions.
*Sponsored by Redeemer School