Can you describe Charlotte Mason’s guides to moral and intellectual self-management? What link exists between the way of the will and the way of reason?

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Charlotte Mason was an English educator who believed in liberal education and is often used as a guide today in homeschooling. She published 20 principles of education, which focuses on the idea that children themselves are already beings who have the ability to make positive choices, and it is role...

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Charlotte Mason was an English educator who believed in liberal education and is often used as a guide today in homeschooling. She published 20 principles of education, which focuses on the idea that children themselves are already beings who have the ability to make positive choices, and it is role of adults to guide them using their natural environment. Rather than presenting children with a slew of information to digest, Mason believes educating is about providing children access to knowledge and education in a variety of different forms and ways, allowing children to develop their own ideas. She starts discussing moral and intellectual self-management in principle 16, where she says that there are two ways to teach children self-management: the way of will and the way of reason.

The way of will, addressed in principle 17, says that children need to learn to differentiate between "I want" and "I will". She goes on to say that when children notice something they desire but do not will, then they need to occupy their mind with something else new, interesting, or entertaining and, after a break, children will then be able to focus on the original willed task. For example, if a child is reading and grows restless and wants to run around, they may take a short break to occupy their mind with coloring, which allows them to return to their reading with renewed interest.

The way of reason, which is addressed in principle 18, says that children must not be taught to rely on their own reasoning too much. While a child's logic may be great for figuring out math problems, it shouldn't be relied on to reason through other ideas as they continue to grow and learn. Rather, they need rules and guidance from adults to help them to structure their behavior and learn right from wrong.

The link between the way of will and the way of reason is that children need to learn how to figure out which ideas to choose and which ideas to ignore. By providing children with knowledge and guidance in developing habits, adults can help teach children self-management.

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