CMP Review 2023-09-05

CMP Review 2023-09-05

September 5, 2023

“Upon first hearing the foundational principle of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy, ‘Children are born persons,’ I couldn’t have been less impressed,” wrote one homeschool mother. Said another: “It’s hard to imagine that anybody even needed to say that.” She went on: “I’ve heard some people say this first principle is not really needed anymore… We know that children are persons.” And so many have been inclined to see in Mason’s first principle nothing more than a restatement of the obvious.

Others have seen Charlotte Mason’s first principle as a statement about human beings in general, rather than about children in particular. Thus a respected contemporary educationist expressed admiration for Mason’s “high view of mankind, as reflected in her glorious conception of the human as person.” Mason’s first principle is thus seen as a truth known to the Church since the earliest days of Christianity.

Yet others, however, see in the phrase “Children are born persons” a “revolutionary idea.” A homeschool mother of a prior generation wrote that “this fundamental idea has not yet been accepted, though it is the keystone of [Mason’s] thought and all her teaching hangs upon this fact.”

How has this principle been understood over the years? Is it obvious or elusive? Ancient or recent? Listen to the fascinating history of an idea here.