“Pay attention not only to the cultivation of knowledge,but to the cultivation of qualities of the heart,so that at the end of education, not only will you be knowledgeable,but also you will be a warm-hearted and compassionate person.” (H.H. Dalai Lama, Live In A Better Way).
Mindful Charlotte Mason gives mindfulness tools to homeschoolers in a simple, inexpensive and secular way, so that homeschool students and their families may experience all the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. This blog and website will discuss, among other things
- the basic concepts around mindfulness and meditation
- how to practice them
- how to introduce them to our children of all ages and abilities
- how to incorporate heart-centered education using mindfulness, meditation and secular Buddhist concepts
Where does mindfulness originate? Secular mindfulness-based meditation practices stem from Buddhist meditation practices. Buddhism, especially the kid-friendly writings of Thich Nhat Hanh, correlates well with Charlotte Mason’s views on childhood and education. But isn’t Buddhism a religion? Not necessarily—Buddhism does not require you to subscribe to it at the exclusion of every other religion—you can be a Christian/Hindu/Muslim/Agnostic/Atheist/Pagan and use Buddhist meditation and mindfulness practices. As the Dalai Lama says,
Don’t use Buddhist practices to make you a better Buddhist, use them to make you a better whatever-you-are.
A Charlotte Mason education has an excellent framework and educational philosophies, but I choose not to educate my son with Christian curriculum, and I find the language that comes with mindfulness to be much more suited to our family than some of the Charlotte Mason language around habit training and discipline. For those of us pursuing a secular Charlotte Mason education, mindfulness and meditation can fit in perfectly where Bible readings and Christianity are traditionally used. Translating these concepts into mindfulness, compassion, lovingkindness and using these to make decisions about self and others leads to an equally positive outcome. Throughout this blog and materials we’ll look at research, teachings and techniques around learning mindfulness and the qualities of compassion and metta or lovingkindness. If we care for ourselves and have compassion for ourselves, we will invest in good habits (like meditation). To quote the Dalai Lama again “If we see ourselves in others, who can we harm” leads to improved interactions with self and the world.
As research and experience are showing, mindfulness and meditation lead to improved mental and emotional health in us and our children. “Research proves that trading self-criticism and self-esteem for self-compassion is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Self-compassion makes us happier, more resilient and kinder to others. ” (Shambhala Sun, p. 58-63, November 2015.) And I feel like Charlotte Mason appreciated the qualities of happiness, resilience and kindness.
I want to raise my son with morals, sound judgement and a solid foundation for life. In the past, yoga, meditation, qi gong and other practices have given me useful life tools to help do just that. And now these tools are being adapted for kids in fun, accessible ways. I’ll be listing and reviewing books, cds and other tools out there, as well as giving tools and curriculum ideas of my own.
I’m excited to share my journey in mindful homeschooling with you. 🙂 Welcome!!