To use or not to use, that is the question. Technology surrounds us, can consume us, and has raised alarms amongst many families. Rightfully so! The battle to balance technology for my children was always of concern. I knew the dangers and benefits that technology could provide. Yet, if “education is an atmosphere, a discipline and a life,” how can technology be ignored in the 21st century? How could I best equip my kids for this technological world if I left it ignored? Throughout my time as a homeschool mom, I looked towards Charlotte Mason for wisdom.
During her time, there were innovations that were used by the PNEU such as the the victrola or phonograph for example. But my goodness, look at the advancements that have taken place over the past century! It truly is remarkable. However, I found Mason’s interest in scientific discoveries and the function of the brain fascinating. She was ahead of her time with this style of thinking. This has helped me in my decision-making for my kids and teaching others.
Studies have indicated overuse of digital content can decrease cognitive function and affect health both psychologically and physically. When investigating the negative effects of technology, it is no wonder that many throw their hands up and avoid it all together. Extreme limiting of technological use can be done, but should it? Is this how Charlotte might approach the subject? We can never know her full thoughts on the matter as the innovations we see today may have been inconceivable during her time. What we do know is that Mason was very hip with the times. She was interested in scientific discoveries and related articles can be found sprinkled through The Parents Review, such as “The Brain in Relation to Education.” In Parents and Children, she states “scientific truth comes in like the tide, with steady advance, but with ebb and flow of every wavelet of truth; so much so, that at the present moment, the teaching of the last twenty years is discredited in at least a dozen departments of science.” Additionally, she states, “A new Renaissance is coming upon us, of unspeakably higher import than the last; and we are bringing up our children to lead and guide, and by every means help in the progress — progress by leaps and bounds — which the world is about to make.” She was mindful of the world she lived in and the unforeseen future that we must prepare our children for.
We live in an information technology world, and the ability to interpret requires skill and logic. Digital literacy, the ability to decipher, utilize, and communicate digitally, are skills that I think can be integrated within a Charlotte Mason education. Technology is a vast area to explore and can be taught as a subject and spread across the curriculum. The main point is deciding how to implement and finding a balance. This will vary and look different for each person and family.
There are many ways to incorporate technology within a Charlotte Mason education. The important item to remember is that it is just a tool. Perhaps some examples may be helpful. Here are a few highlighted ideas for narration:
I hope this was helpful and spurred some ideas for you and your family. I have used technology for every aspect of our homeschool and look forward to sharing ideas and hearing ways you have incorporated technology into your school.
Homeschool mom of 5, Crecy Ragan began her journey with Charlotte Mason in 2008. She uses Miss Mason’s philosophy with her children, other homeschool students she teaches, and as an adjunct faculty within Higher Education. She graduated with her Master of Science in Operations Management with the University of Arkansas in 2005. Currently, she is working on a Doctorate in Educational Leadership with emphasis on Charlotte Mason and Technology.