To what extent is it possible to allow current research to inform our educational practices while still calling ourselves "Mason educators," and to what extent is it possible to ignore current research before we can no longer call ourselves "ethical educators?"
Today I would like to introduce a nine-part series of blogs created around this question. Some of the ideas I would like to invite you to explore and consider with me are:
- Exciting Times: We are living in a time when we have more original source documents available to us than ever before. What shall we do with them? Should homeschool parents and classroom teachers even concern themselves with them?
- Observations From the Ivory Tower: What is the current "temperature" of the CM community regarding research? And, more importantly, what are the potential opportunities for our community and the potential pitfalls we can avoid through the responsible use of research?
- Meet Charlotte Mason, Christian Philosopher and Researcher-Practitioner: Even if we can learn how to read and interpret research, why should we? Didn't Mason settle all our questions about educating children? What are our duties concerning research as Charlotte Mason educators?
- The Two Sides of the CM Research Coin: With all the primary resources available to us today, we are seeing an explosion in discoveries that help us fill in gaps in our understanding of Mason. This work is both necessary and exciting, but what do we miss if we do not also consider current research trends?
- Four Out of Five Dentists: As a society, we have become fairly jaded about claims that "studies show x, y, or z." How can we resist cynicism and make research work for us instead of allowing it to manipulate us?
- What Good Research is NOT: All studies are not created equal. If we are to use research rightly, we have to know how to recognize bad studies. Even more importantly, we have to know how to discern when research is being used inappropriately or in a misleading way.
- What Good Research IS: There are certain types of studies that we can rely on to consistently give us good information. But how do we find them and use them well?
- What Now? Having a better understanding of how to evaluate and use current research can now help us start to wrestle with the original question: To what extent is it possible to allow current research to inform our educational practices while still calling ourselves "Mason educators," and to what extent is it possible to ignore current research before we can no longer call ourselves "ethical educators?"
- Where We Were, Where We Are, and Where We Might Go From Here: Today's serious students of Mason have the potential to not just aid homeschoolers, but to help bring Mason's ideas from the fringes into the mainstream education conversation. How can we best steward our knowledge, gifts, and resources to help as many children as possible have a life-giving education?
I am very excited to explore this critically important topic with you. I hope you will join me on this journey.