26/04/2000

For the Children's Sake (by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay)

Susan Schaeffer Macauley is, I gather, related to the better-known Francis Schaeffer. However I have only heard of her in relation to home education, and particularly this book which has been recommended to me on some home educators' forums.

'For the Children's Sake' is based on the works of Charlotte Mason, a pioneer in early education at a time when children were expected to be seen and not heard, and to learn by rote vast quantities of boring information.

Charlotte Mason believed in learning for fun - in 'living' books, and nature walks, and discussions, and although her writing is rather lengthy and long-winded, Susan Schaeffer Macauley makes it available for the ordinary parent in this book.

There's plenty of common sense in the book, much of which seems obvious in these more enlightened days. Indeed, some of the ideas overlap surprisingly with the modern 'taking children seriously' non-coercive style of home education that's so popular in the UK.

However, as the book is written from a traditional Christian perspective, there's some emphasis on discipline (in the gentlest of senses) alongside questions about creativity and mutual respect.

I found it a bit heavy at times, but very interesting. Certainly I think it's well worth reading by any parents wanting to know more about the education process, and particularly anyone considering home education (known in the US as homeschooling).

It inevitably feels quite dated, but is still in print on both sides of the Atlantic. 

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