Terra’s Homework PolicyCharlotte Mason’s attitude regarding parental responsibilities.
The first chapter of Mason’s second volume includes an interesting discussion of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Mason summarizes the teaching of Rousseau as follows:
- “Fathers and mothers, this is your work, and you only can do it. It rests with you, parents of young children, to be the saviors of society unto a thousand generations. Nothing else matters. The avocations about which people weary themselves are as foolish child’s play compared with this one serious business of bringing up our children in advance of ourselves” (Mason, 1989b, pp. 2-3).
The context clearly indicates that Mason endorses Rousseau’s opinion. Why is this work so important that “nothing else matters”? The first answer is simply that the children are worth it:
- “The beautiful infant frame is but the setting of a jewel of such astonishing worth that, put the whole world in one scale and this jewel in the other, and the scale which holds the world flies up outbalanced” (Mason, 1989f, p. 34).
The secondary answer is that there is no substitute for the parent. As stated earlier, the office cannot be delegated. The parent may give up his or her parental rights, but he cannot entrust his sacramental anointing:
- “The Rule of Parents cannot be Deputed. . . The king may rule by deputy; but, here we see the imperative nature of the parent’s functions; he can have no deputy. Helpers he may have, but the moment he makes over his functions and authority to another, the rights of parenthood belong to that other, and not to him” (Mason, 1989b, pp. 10-11).
Charlotte Mason describes the tragedy when parents give up their parental rights by not fulfilling their office. Even though each child is “a jewel of such astonishing worth” (Mason, 1989f, p. 34), some parents focus on jewels of lesser value:
- “Even so, the busy parent, occupied with many cares, awakes to find the authority he has failed to wield has dropped out of his hands; perhaps has been picked up by others less fit, and a daughter is given over to the charge of a neighboring family, while father and mother hunt for rare prints” (Mason, 1989b, p. 12).
Note that Mason explicitly names both mothers and fathers as the parents who are occupied with secondary treasures (“rare prints”).
According to Mason, the priority of the call to parents is paramount.
At TERRA, we believe that the parent has the right and responsibility to determine their child’s education.
We RESPECT your position and will not give any penalty for work suggested by us, but canceled by you. Your students’ level of commitment toward suggested assignments, which books to use or purchase, and which assignments to supplement or ignore are all determined by you, the home teacher.
We SUPPORT you. We give assignments because we want to partner with you to prepare your students for success in real world economic situtions in which they will find themselves as adults. Rewards for work accomplished ON TIME will be given by us. We have a store full of rewards! We cherish your donations toward the store. You have the RESPONSIBILITY to educate your children, so you have the RIGHT and the privilege to evaluate your own students’ work in colaboration with your education advisor, if you are a part of a charter school. We do not issue grades. You and/or your charter school will assess your students’ work.