A Mason Education is SEAMLESS

STEM

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

For the tech heavy West Coast, this looks like the ideal education. Prepare students for high paying jobs as software engineers, or in electrical, mechanical, or civil engineering, or in bio-engineering, and there’s no limit to the progress we can make as a society.

Seems a bit single track. Perhaps it should be

STEAM.

All of the above, plus the Arts. After all, study after study shows improved test scores in students involved in the arts.

If you were the utilitarian type of educator, creating the perfect worker for a high tech society, this would be adequate. Charlotte Mason was not utilitarian. When your goal is the growth and development of persons, persons who will live in relationship with one another and with the world around them, and with their God, then your education can only be one thing:

SEAMLESS.

Science (to be sure), English (if that’s your native tongue), Arts, Math, Languages, Engineering (perhaps), and Social Studies (Civics, Economics, Psychology, Culture).

Mason believed that education was a feast to be set out, that children are hungry for a wide variety of knowledge, and to feed them only one sort of mind food is to leave them intellectually malnourished. Further, Mason educators recognize that the boundaries between the areas of knowledge are somewhat artificial. The liberal arts are used to access the sciences and vice versa – language and word problems for math, watercolor art for science, math for economics, engineering (i.e. architecture) for art.

And what of history? Notice I did not include history in the social studies. History is the grand narrative that binds the subjects together. The liberal arts help us to access the stories, the stories help us to access knowledge – those facts made vital through living ideas. We access knowledge through stories of conflict and discovery: the story of our political boundaries and ideologies, the story of scientific discovery, the story of a great painting.

Mason was adamant that no school spend an inordinate amount of time on one area of knowledge simply because it was easy to impart and to measure progress. Her schedules show remarkable balance through the ages.

A STEM education is half an education. We are not programming robots, we are feeding persons.

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