"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life" -C.M.
A Feast of Living Books
"Education is a life. That life is sustained on ideas. Ideas are of spiritual origin, and God has made us so that we get them chiefly as we convey them to one another, whether by word of mouth, written page, Scripture word, musical symphony; but we must sustain a child's inner life with ideas as we sustain as we sustain his body with food." --Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education
Perhaps one of the most important actions a parent or a teacher can take to nurture whole persons is putting before a child living ideas. Facts hang on ideas like clothes on a person, but, despite the old saying, “clothes make the man,” we know that it is what is on the inside, not the outside that counts. The same is true in the field of knowledge. The life of the mind is not merely the relaying of information, but instead it is the making of relationships with ideas.
Living ideas can be discovered best by presenting to children living books, for language is the mode of conveyance for most ideas. Living books are a child’s primary teacher. The child develops a relationship with the author when the author has first-hand knowledge of his subject, when his love of the subject is clear, when all of his knowledge points to something beyond the facts. Text books, written by ghosts-writers, tend toward hollow facts and little love for a subject, while living books bring the character and joy of the author to bear on the ideas behind the facts.
Training in Lifelong Habits
"We have lost sight of the fact that habit is to life what rails are to transport cars. It follows that lines of habit must be laid down towards given ends and after careful survey, or the joltings and delays of life become insupportable. More, habit is inevitable. If we fail to ease life by laying down habits of right thinking and right acting, habits of wrong thinking and wrong acting fix themselves of their own accord." --Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education
Do you remember how, as a beginning driver, how stressful every decision seemed? However, now that driving is an old habit, you probably don’t even remember driving home from church the other day. In the same way, students must learn the habits of being a student. The habit of attention, neatness, obedience, and ready expression are just a few basic habits every student must master.
We know how to train in habit; we demonstrate and then expect the student to follow suit. Just as we understand this fact when training students to play the piano or to kick a football, we also understand the means to teach a child the habits of a student, that really are, after all, habits that make adult life much easier too.
An Atmosphere that Grows Lovers of Learning
"We certainly may use atmosphere as an instrument of education, but there are prohibitions, for ourselves rather than for children. Perhaps the chief of these is, that no artificial element may be introduced, no sprinkling of rose-water, softening with cushions. Children must face life as it is."
--Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education
We all tend to love the things our tribe loves. In a so-called “sporty” family, an atmosphere of all things sport related trains the children to love sports. The family organizes its schedule around athletic events, watches the game on Sunday, and enjoys playing sports together in their free time. Rather than supposing that some children are more inclined to sports than others, it may be more accurate to suppose that some families create an atmosphere that nurtures “sportiness” in a child. Does a family turn off the television and read together? Are the walls of the living room lined with books? Are birthdays a time to give books as presents? If so, then expect the literary atmosphere to nurture children who love literature. Atmosphere is the crock pot we stew in.
When building a school, the atmosphere is one of the most powerful educators. If movie and popcorn parties are rewards for finishing well on a math assessment, the school has communicated that movies and popcorn are more valuable than mathematics. If a classroom is ugly, cheap, and sloven, then the message is that this school-business is not really that important. If a teacher looks dreary and has no joy when encountering her students, then the children would just as well not be in that classroom. However, a classroom that treats a child as a person, one that is tastefully decorated without condescending cartoon characters and cheap posters, one that is furnished with quality furniture when this is possible, this communicates that this education business is important, that it is among the best of life’s gifts.
A Schedule Appropriate for a Child
Valuing family first, bringing parents to the forefront as recognized partners in educating their children, Saint George School has crafted a schedule appropriate for a child. When children are overtired, mastering the self in a classroom is not a realistic goal. Tired children can be emotional, have difficulty waking in the morning, and surely cannot learn to the best of their abilities. Therefore, this schedule does not waste time, a schedule that is appropriate to the needs of the smallest children.
Kindergarten-8 Monday, Wednesday, Friday; 8:30-3:15 $5400
High School Monday and Wednesday; 8:30-3:15 $3400