The Science Of Relations

"and that fulness of living and serviceableness depend for each of us upon how far we apprehend these relationships …"

— Charlotte Mason

Parents and educators often put a child on the path of a single interest (sports, music or science, for example), based on the child’s environment or on cultural trends. But a true education lets children encounter—and develop vital relationships with—people, ideas, and things.

When a child forms relationships, he develops wide and vital interests and joy in living. It is to his benefit to understand the laws that govern relationships. He learns, for example, the laws of work and the joys of work when he grasps that no relation with a person or a thing can be maintained without effort.

Mason warns that interests are not to be taken up on the spur of the moment; they should develop out of affinities that are personally meaningful.  And the object of education is to expose children to many things worth considering. True education, then, lets children make the world their classroom.

Children at the Vine School establish relationships with 20 areas of knowledge. Their studies provide life-giving knowledge, delight and beauty.

Conventional wisdom says that study is for career preparation, training is for natural abilities and enjoyment is found in entertainment. But Charlotte Mason says  “serviceableness and fullness of living depend for each of us upon how far we apprehend these relationships and how many we lay hold of.”

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“...we have relations with what there is in the present and with what there has been in the past, with what is above us, and about us; and that fulness of living and serviceableness depend for each of us upon how far we apprehend these relationships and how many of them we lay hold of. Every child is heir to an enormous patrimony. The question is, what are the formalities necessary to put him in possession of that which is his? We do not talk about...educating him with a view to his social standing or his future calling. We take the child as we find him, a person with many healthy affinities and embryonic attachments, and we try to give him a chance to make the largest possible number of these attachments valid.”
— Charlotte Mason

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At Ambleside, children build vital relationships when they:

  • participate in a full, varied curriculum
  • identify and explore areas of personal interest
  • complete chores and care for school property
  • relate to pupils in different grades
  • build relationships with the elderly and other adults
  • spend time in nature
  • enjoy the arts - music, art, poetry, Shakespeare
  • play