Charlotte Mason vs. Neoclassical Education

Cam Russo
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Charlotte Mason vs. Neoclassical Education Charlotte Mason vs. Neoclassical Education

Are you wondering whether Charlotte Mason or Neoclassical education methods are right for your child? If so, this post will introduce the two approaches and help you decide which one to use. 

Charlotte Mason was an educator in the early 1900s who developed a unique approach to education while trying to reconcile her beliefs with the prescribed curriculum of Victorian England. 

On the other hand, neoclassicism is a traditional approach that originated during the Renaissance period in which students learned through memorization, recitation, and drills. 

In examining these two educational strategies, we’ll explore how each method can be applied differently depending on individual student needs and preferences. 

So without further ado – let’s dive into what sets them apart!

Charlotte Mason’s Philosophy of Education

Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education is all about providing an environment and attitude that encourages learning. 

She believed that children should learn from the world around them, not solely from textbooks and memorization, and viewed teachers as “guides” rather than lecturers imparting knowledge. 

This educational approach revolves around using living books, which inspire critical thinking and provide a holistic understanding of topics instead of simply focusing on rote facts. 

Her principles also stress studying nature closely, music appreciation, frequent field trips, and encouraging children to express themselves through art or journaling. 

Mason held firmly to her belief that open-ended exploration would benefit a child’s growth more than any other form of teaching.

Neoclassical Approach to Education

The Neoclassical approach to education is an interesting way of learning that emphasizes the importance of classical literature and philosophies. 

This ideology believes academic subjects should follow a disciplined and structured pattern, where students are encouraged to draw connections between the material studied and their real-life experiences. 

Proponents of the Neoclassical style believe knowledge should be attained with order, reason, and rigor. 

Once acquired, members of the class can take ownership of their thoughts and ideas by applying them in meaningful ways. 

While it may not be right for everyone, the Neoclassical approach has shown promise in helping those who stick with it acquire wonderfully applicable skills they can employ in the real world.

Dorothy Sayers, the renowned English writer and playwright, advocated neoclassical education. She strongly believed creativity could be nurtured by studying Latin, Greek, history, and literature. 

Sayers romanticized being well-rounded and inspired people to push beyond traditional education methods to pursue a richer learning experience.

She argued that students should be guided to helpful knowledge in each subject, with proper guidance for their motivation and thinking process to develop critical skills in the disciplines. 

Sayers’ pioneering efforts in neoclassical education led her to be recognized as one of the leading female authors of her time.

Who Would Benefit Most from the Charlotte Mason Method?

The Charlotte Mason method is generally recommended for parents with children in grades kindergarten through high school. 

The most successful students with this method are those who are innately curious, independent learners, and have an affinity for language arts, visual arts, music, and natural science. 

Other qualities that make this teaching method beneficial for certain students include self-discipline and the ability to work independently without needing frequent guidance or supervision.

Who Would Benefit Most from the Neoclassical Method?

The Neoclassical method of education focuses heavily on memorization, traditional values, and an emphasis on the classics of literature. 

As such, students who learn best through rote memorization and thrive in a structured educational setting would experience the most benefit from this approach to learning. 

Highly motivated students who enjoy being challenged by complex theories and ideas and possess strength in quantitative reasoning would also be a good fit for this type of education.

Charlotte Mason vs. Neoclassical: Which is Right for You?

Deciding between the Charlotte Mason and Neoclassical approaches to pedagogy can be daunting for an educator or parent.

While aspects of each approach have their strengths, their primary difference comes from their differing goals. 

The Neoclassical Model is rooted in a strong foundation of tried-and-true classical education ideas, emphasizing critical thinking and traditional education based on memorization and drill. 

Meanwhile, Charlotte Mason takes more of an experiential approach with active learning and hands-on exploration as its chief values. It’s focused more on creating thoughtful stewardship within a child than building rote memorization skills. 

Knowing how your child learns and finding an effective and meaningful approach will be the key to making sure you pick the right one for them.