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For the Children's Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School

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Shows parents and teachers how children's learning experiences can be extended to every aspect of life, giving them a new richness, stability, and joy for living. Every parent and teacher wants to give his or her children the best education possible. We hope that the education we provide is a joyful adventure, a celebration of life, and preparation for living. But sadly, mo Shows parents and teachers how children's learning experiences can be extended to every aspect of life, giving them a new richness, stability, and joy for living. Every parent and teacher wants to give his or her children the best education possible. We hope that the education we provide is a joyful adventure, a celebration of life, and preparation for living. But sadly, most education today falls short of this goal. For the Children's Sake is a book about what education can be, based on a Christian understanding of what it means to be human-to be a child, a parent, a teacher-and on the Christian meaning of life. The central ideas have been proven over many years and in almost every kind of educational situation, including ideas that Susan and Ranald Macaulay have implemented in their own family and school experience. For the Children's Sake will benefit parents and teachers in any educational setting-homeschooling, public school, or private school. This new edition features an updated cover design.


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Shows parents and teachers how children's learning experiences can be extended to every aspect of life, giving them a new richness, stability, and joy for living. Every parent and teacher wants to give his or her children the best education possible. We hope that the education we provide is a joyful adventure, a celebration of life, and preparation for living. But sadly, mo Shows parents and teachers how children's learning experiences can be extended to every aspect of life, giving them a new richness, stability, and joy for living. Every parent and teacher wants to give his or her children the best education possible. We hope that the education we provide is a joyful adventure, a celebration of life, and preparation for living. But sadly, most education today falls short of this goal. For the Children's Sake is a book about what education can be, based on a Christian understanding of what it means to be human-to be a child, a parent, a teacher-and on the Christian meaning of life. The central ideas have been proven over many years and in almost every kind of educational situation, including ideas that Susan and Ranald Macaulay have implemented in their own family and school experience. For the Children's Sake will benefit parents and teachers in any educational setting-homeschooling, public school, or private school. This new edition features an updated cover design.

30 review for For the Children's Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School

  1. 5 out of 5

    Leah Beecher

    What an unbelievable treasure finding this book was for me. Feeling that the reasons I was going to start homeschooling my two oldest daughters being, I did not like their current public school and we could not afford private education, were both negative reasons, and would make for a negative experience of home education, I agonized over what philosophy of home education I wanted to embrace. It is very important to grab hold of a positive reason to teach at home, for a happy home and happy chil What an unbelievable treasure finding this book was for me. Feeling that the reasons I was going to start homeschooling my two oldest daughters being, I did not like their current public school and we could not afford private education, were both negative reasons, and would make for a negative experience of home education, I agonized over what philosophy of home education I wanted to embrace. It is very important to grab hold of a positive reason to teach at home, for a happy home and happy children. This little book published first in the UK by the daughter of the very scholarly theologian Francis Schaeffer in 1984 is the perfect balanced approach of natural "unschooled" method, and the high literary standards of the classical method. Balanced in that it lets children be individuals without a heavy emphasis on state derived testing and "benchmark" requirements, yet puts an emphasis on the importance of disciple, good habits, and a parent's natural authority. The education philosophy here in this book relies almost exclusively on the education method developed by Charlotte Mason in Britain in the late 19th Century. Talk about obscure! Not so much a book about what to teach and how, but a book about what value and intelligence children already possess and the best, most practical, most gentle, most natural way to bring that out in any child.{For the more nuts and bolts of how to teach "the Charlotte way" I am currently reading The Charlotte Mason Companion and would highly suggest purchasing this book along with For the Children's Sake}. Absorbing and underlining passage after passage in this book changed me from viewing home education as "a last resort alternative to a bad situation" to genuine enthusiasm to get the chance to better my daughters, my home, myself.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Cain

    This is one of the best books on education I have ever read. WHile I am not a home-schooler (I am headmaster of a classical Christian school), Macaulay's introduction to Charlotte Mason will go on the "reread periodically" pile. I appreciate Macaulay's style--free, casual, and engaging. Her writing is more than readable; it's a joy to read. I finish reading and feel refreshed. In this, she joins a select group of authors in my experience. Her content is excellent too. She carefully parses Charlott This is one of the best books on education I have ever read. WHile I am not a home-schooler (I am headmaster of a classical Christian school), Macaulay's introduction to Charlotte Mason will go on the "reread periodically" pile. I appreciate Macaulay's style--free, casual, and engaging. Her writing is more than readable; it's a joy to read. I finish reading and feel refreshed. In this, she joins a select group of authors in my experience. Her content is excellent too. She carefully parses Charlotte Mason's approach and philosophy, giving both theoretical framework and practical application. In summary, I carefully marked this book, and I was ready to read again when I finished. I plan to have my teachers read the book this summer.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Haleigh DeRocher

    I think every parent should read this book, whether you're choosing homeschool, private school, public school, or another alternative for your children. I loved how the author (Francis Schaeffer's daughter!) brought Christian principles into philosophy on educating your children, not just in terms of their schooling but in their entire lives. Parents should be a part of what and how their children learn! I just loved the practical advice in this book, and can't wait to implement it in our home l I think every parent should read this book, whether you're choosing homeschool, private school, public school, or another alternative for your children. I loved how the author (Francis Schaeffer's daughter!) brought Christian principles into philosophy on educating your children, not just in terms of their schooling but in their entire lives. Parents should be a part of what and how their children learn! I just loved the practical advice in this book, and can't wait to implement it in our home life. And I look forward to reading more about Charlotte Mason as well 👍🏻

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    Read this when my daughter was little (so probably in the mid- to late-90s) and absolutely loved it. Reread 2/15/21 * Excellent! Still 5 stars.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Katie Ziegler (Life Between Words)

    “Come, child. I respect you, you are a person. Come with me. You belong on this planet You are to inherit, You are to understand. Look. Look, and you will see. Enjoy this day: the sun, the grass, your friends. Listen—we will read God’s word. We are His sheep, He is our Shepherd. Grow! Flourish! Be master! Let us do what we ought. Let us choose the right! Let us be brothers and sisters, together. The bored wake up, The failures find a new spring, The sinful start again. Come, little child, I will listen, I wi “Come, child. I respect you, you are a person. Come with me. You belong on this planet You are to inherit, You are to understand. Look. Look, and you will see. Enjoy this day: the sun, the grass, your friends. Listen—we will read God’s word. We are His sheep, He is our Shepherd. Grow! Flourish! Be master! Let us do what we ought. Let us choose the right! Let us be brothers and sisters, together. The bored wake up, The failures find a new spring, The sinful start again. Come, little child, I will listen, I will learn, too— Let us enjoy abundant LIFE!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Josiah

    In many ways, Macauley builds a powerful case for why, especially in education, but also just generally in life, we need to view children as persons created in the Imago Dei, and how this must absolutely transform our method of education. She made several valuable insights on how children are able to accomplish a lot more than we give them credit for, and how all of education is linked back to the Imago Dei within each one of us. This book was therefore very enlightening to me, and has changed t In many ways, Macauley builds a powerful case for why, especially in education, but also just generally in life, we need to view children as persons created in the Imago Dei, and how this must absolutely transform our method of education. She made several valuable insights on how children are able to accomplish a lot more than we give them credit for, and how all of education is linked back to the Imago Dei within each one of us. This book was therefore very enlightening to me, and has changed the way I view education and the role of children in education. That being said, I didn't feel like Macauley had a very strong grasp of the sin nature present within children, and how that has corrupted the image of God within each of us. As a result, I didn't feel like she was able to fully assess the human condition, and thus how education should properly work. There were a couple points where I felt like she was clearly crossing the line between properly respecting children, and accepting everything they thought without challenging their incorrect insights. Given this, while the book had some good insights on parts of the human nature, it also critically missed some other areas. Overall, though, it's a fairly good book though, as long as one recognizes what it misses. While not as completely applicable to older children, for those interested in reading about education and how the Imago Dei within each of us should influence how we teach, this is a valuable, if flawed, look at this issue. Rating: 3-3.5 Stars. (Fairly Good)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Catholic Mum

    Finally read this! I did it in the opposite order to many people who come to CM through this book, then read her volumes; I’ve read through all six volumes at least two times over the last five years but had never read “For the Children’s Sake”! Wonderful and comprehensive introduction to CM; there really is no other book better suited to put into the hands of a mother-educator who wants to know what a CM education encompasses!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    What an inspiring book! All parents should read this book regardless of if they home school, send their child to private or public school. There is much we can and should do for our children. This is one I will be rereading often.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    What a gem this is! A special little nugget that I think every parent should read especially those who choose to homeschool. Its packed full of things that make you think and ask yourself questions about your childs education and the importance of letting a child lead and giving them the tools they need to thrive. Highly recommend.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Erin Hendrian

    The language was sometimes a little bit difficult to wade through in sections (it was one of those books where I had to stop and reread passages often), but it was a wonderful book overall. I didn’t have much more than a vague idea about Charlotte Mason’s ideas and methods before picking up this book - it was a good summary of her philosophy, and contained so much helpful advice and little tips for habits and routines when teaching children. I loved the idea of education being an atmosphere, a d The language was sometimes a little bit difficult to wade through in sections (it was one of those books where I had to stop and reread passages often), but it was a wonderful book overall. I didn’t have much more than a vague idea about Charlotte Mason’s ideas and methods before picking up this book - it was a good summary of her philosophy, and contained so much helpful advice and little tips for habits and routines when teaching children. I loved the idea of education being an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life, and the specific ideas of school being done in the morning while the afternoon hours could be left free for play and exploration and handicrafts (until age 13), of weekly nature walks, and of a weekly time to study art, music, and poetry (now I know what the “poetry tea time” is that I am always seeing referred to in Charlotte Mason groups 😄). She also put a great deal of thought into the importance of children needing to learn self-discipline in order to learn and apply themselves in life, and how to best go about helping them learn this skill. I enjoyed her idea of letting children first “tell back” to you what they remember or see or think about in art or books or music rather than being only told what they should see and think and notice. It was a really great introduction into a gentle way of leading children into the wonder and joy of learning about the world around them that God has made and placed them in.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Graeme Pitman

    “How colorfully and scientifically our generation talks down to the little child! What insipid, stupid, dull stories are trotted out! And we don’t stop there. We don’t respect the children’s thinking or let them come to any conclusions themselves! We ply them with endless questions, the ones we’ve thought up, instead of being silent and letting the child’s questions bubble up with interest. We tire them with workbooks that would squeeze out the last drop of anybody’s patience. We remove interest “How colorfully and scientifically our generation talks down to the little child! What insipid, stupid, dull stories are trotted out! And we don’t stop there. We don’t respect the children’s thinking or let them come to any conclusions themselves! We ply them with endless questions, the ones we’ve thought up, instead of being silent and letting the child’s questions bubble up with interest. We tire them with workbooks that would squeeze out the last drop of anybody’s patience. We remove interesting books and squander time on ‘reading skill testing,’ using idiotic isolated paragraphs which no one would dream of taking home to read.” 1st Read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Logan

    This book changed the trajectory of my motherhood journey and parenting choices. Every mom needs to read this book before their children become school age. It absolutely changed my perspective on education and challenged me to really think about what I’m offering my children. An abundant life is available to them, but not in the way the world offers. I am so grateful to a dear friend for introducing me to this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    A really helpful introduction to Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy. A great book for any educators- at home, school, or church. I remember my mom reading this book when I was a small child and it was fun to think about the ways she applied the truths from this book to my education and how I can do the same now for my own daughters.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth (sunshineinmynest) Santelmann

    My mother in law read this book every year to prepare for her homeschool year and I have started doing the same thing. The respect to the minds of children is inspiring. Listening to them as whole persons with their own thoughts and ideas is as much a beautiful gift to me as the parent as to the children!!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sara Hollar

    Amazing book on a philosophy of education. Totally changed the way I think about homeschooling my children. The author had children in school, so this book is not just for homeschooling parents. We as parents are our children's "center of gravity" and anyone can have a philosophy of education and fill in gaps where good and necessary. I highly recommend!! Amazing book on a philosophy of education. Totally changed the way I think about homeschooling my children. The author had children in school, so this book is not just for homeschooling parents. We as parents are our children's "center of gravity" and anyone can have a philosophy of education and fill in gaps where good and necessary. I highly recommend!!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I give this book 5 stars!!! I highly recommend it to all! I had to pay some late fees to the library in order to finish it, but it was so worth it. I'd love to own a copy of this book. It drove me crazy that I couldn't highlight it and mark it up. This book really cemented in my mind the value of the Charlotte Mason Education style. It is so practical, clear, & Christian-based. Any parent or teacher will benefit from its values and ideas. A great resource for public, private, and homeschool. Charl I give this book 5 stars!!! I highly recommend it to all! I had to pay some late fees to the library in order to finish it, but it was so worth it. I'd love to own a copy of this book. It drove me crazy that I couldn't highlight it and mark it up. This book really cemented in my mind the value of the Charlotte Mason Education style. It is so practical, clear, & Christian-based. Any parent or teacher will benefit from its values and ideas. A great resource for public, private, and homeschool. Charlotte Mason was an educator in the 1850's in England. She revolutionized education in several countries. She founded a school called Ambleside. (I recommend you research her online!) www.simplycharlottemason.com Some of the basic tenets of Mason's Philosophy are: *Education is the Science of Relations. Children cannot truly learn something if they don't have a relationship with it. They need to read and experience it for themselves, and develop their own ideas about it, make it their own. Children cannot learn unless they have secure and loving relationships. The relationship creates the learning!!! *Children are born as whole Persons, not as a blank slate for you to write on. Not a ball of clay for you to model. Kids are in themselves unique children of God, just as intelligent and worthy as us (if not more so since their minds are fresh and untainted) The only difference between them and us is experience. We must respect them. *Living Books teach more than textbooks or workbooks. Use Living Books and Narration as your two main teaching methods. They induce real learning, not the normal cramming and regurgitation that is considered necessary for today's standardized testing. *Children should be in the out of doors for hours everyday if possible, if not, then as often as circumstances permit. Nature is to be studied by hands on experience. The more REAL experience, the better. *Teachers are responsible to lay before their students a feast of ideas: it is the students job to choose which ideas to consume and "make it their own" Teachers are to do the work to inspire and reach the kids, find out their loves, interests, way of learning. *The habit of attention can be learned by any child. Short lessons, to the point done in the morning, will leave the afternoon open and free for the child's own projects and choice of learning activities. LOTS MORE STUFF, BUT THIS REVIEW IS ALREADY TOO LONG....GO AND READ IT!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Handermann

    One of the best books I have ever read about education. This work is essentially an exposition of Charlotte Mason's work on education in the late 19th century, with a more Christian slant from Macaulay. She advocates that children are people (a novel idea), each with individual needs and talents, hence, education should be catered specifically to each child, and not handed out in uniform boxes. This means things like shorter school days, math in the morning, science as real life exploration, giv One of the best books I have ever read about education. This work is essentially an exposition of Charlotte Mason's work on education in the late 19th century, with a more Christian slant from Macaulay. She advocates that children are people (a novel idea), each with individual needs and talents, hence, education should be catered specifically to each child, and not handed out in uniform boxes. This means things like shorter school days, math in the morning, science as real life exploration, giving children hours of play time. This last part was interesting considering that schools are organized to death. But Mason thinks that children need unorganized time and this, she claims, develops imagination and creativity, but it must be largely unstructured and allow the children freedom to play. This book is hugely insightful and heavily challenging. Maybe my mind will change later, but right now, this is a book that every teacher needs to read and we need to start thinking about how this kind of thinking can be incorporated in our traditional 8 hours a day 5 days a week 180 days a year schooling system. How can our massive impersonal and institutionalized school system become personal and human?

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Hawkins

    A helpful book on education. Now, I’ll be honest: I didn’t enjoy reading it because the subject isn’t that interesting to me. (Which is ironic because, part of her emphasis on truly educating is making sure you build an interest for the topic in the students.) But that’s more on me than her. As for the book, though, it was done well, although I think her writing is a bit lengthy at time. Her insights are mainly taken from Charlotte Mason in the late 1800s, but most are still applicable today. I re A helpful book on education. Now, I’ll be honest: I didn’t enjoy reading it because the subject isn’t that interesting to me. (Which is ironic because, part of her emphasis on truly educating is making sure you build an interest for the topic in the students.) But that’s more on me than her. As for the book, though, it was done well, although I think her writing is a bit lengthy at time. Her insights are mainly taken from Charlotte Mason in the late 1800s, but most are still applicable today. I really appreciated that she didn’t just push homeschooling or anything. Rather, she emphasized the concepts and the ways there, and talked about how this can be done in public, private, or homeschool settings. My least favorite part of the book was 1) some of the chapters were just ridiculously long (one was 60+ pages!), and 2) it just seemed impossible to actually do all she said. Nevertheless, a lot of helpful nuggets in here, especially if you’re an educator. But even if you only just have kids. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend reading it unless you’re interested in the subject.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Reeves

    Engaging writing, joy to read, inspiring. One of the best "parenting" books I've read and that's not even what it is or why I planned to read it! This may be one I reread. Engaging writing, joy to read, inspiring. One of the best "parenting" books I've read and that's not even what it is or why I planned to read it! This may be one I reread.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tricia

    Second read through with husband, finished March 7, 2019. Trying to articulate & solidify family goals/values/vision as oldest child reaches age 5.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Erdman

    One thousand stars!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Chadbourne

    I felt it was a little outdated, but it got me thinking about what school is, what education is. I appreciate a different perspective on education.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shannon McGarvey

    A must for every mom.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lyndsey

    “I am, I can, I ought, I will.” It pains me a bit that this little book has been sitting on my shelf unread for years, just waiting to reveal truth after truth to my unsuspecting soul. I thought I understood Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy before (and truthfully was reading this to simply check it off the list) but Susan Schaeffer Macaulay brings her principles to life in so inspiring and challenging a way that I was stunned into silent tears by the final page. Written toward any Christia “I am, I can, I ought, I will.” It pains me a bit that this little book has been sitting on my shelf unread for years, just waiting to reveal truth after truth to my unsuspecting soul. I thought I understood Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy before (and truthfully was reading this to simply check it off the list) but Susan Schaeffer Macaulay brings her principles to life in so inspiring and challenging a way that I was stunned into silent tears by the final page. Written toward any Christian parent regardless of school choice, For the Children’s Sake leaves the reader no choice but to consider the weight, responsibility and joy with which all parents & caregivers must embrace the duty to educate children in Truth, feeding their minds not with sawdust but with living ideas. This is no mere homeschooling book; this is a fearless call-to-arms, a rousing defense for the treatment of children as complete persons, that is to say fully-equipped in mind and spirit to recognize and admire true beauty, bearing the image of the Most High God, and worthy of the dignity afforded any adult, ready to rise as high as he is raised.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This book is one in which I feel must be read more than once as it's full of so many thoughts and ideas to chew on, ponder, think about. While there were several times in which I felt like I'm not doing enough, the information provided far out weighed those feelings (besides, feelings do lie after all). Even if one doesn't home educate, the author provides practical ways to incorporate Charlotte Mason's ideas into everyday life. Also, even if one doesn't fully align with Mason's line of thinking This book is one in which I feel must be read more than once as it's full of so many thoughts and ideas to chew on, ponder, think about. While there were several times in which I felt like I'm not doing enough, the information provided far out weighed those feelings (besides, feelings do lie after all). Even if one doesn't home educate, the author provides practical ways to incorporate Charlotte Mason's ideas into everyday life. Also, even if one doesn't fully align with Mason's line of thinking/thoughts on education, I do believe this book has valuable insights and thoughts about how to actually treat a child, for they too are persons. A good book that I'll be referring back to lots.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    What a lovely book! This is not a how-to, but more of an introduction into the philosophy and beliefs of educator Charlotte Mason. While popular among homeschoolers for obvious reasons, I appreciate that she does not assume that all parents can or will homeschool. She does, however, strongly support the idea that all children are born persons, not a blank slate, but a fully human individual made in the image of God, who deserves goodness, beauty and truth in their life. While the edition I read h What a lovely book! This is not a how-to, but more of an introduction into the philosophy and beliefs of educator Charlotte Mason. While popular among homeschoolers for obvious reasons, I appreciate that she does not assume that all parents can or will homeschool. She does, however, strongly support the idea that all children are born persons, not a blank slate, but a fully human individual made in the image of God, who deserves goodness, beauty and truth in their life. While the edition I read had a different cover, I picked this cover because it's the one that my mom had on her shelf.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kiel

    A must-read for any parent, whether you think you might homeschool or not. Although this is specifically a summary of Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay offers insights on life, personhood and parenting that go beyond just the school room. Of course, since in Mason’s own words “education is a life,” this certainly makes sense!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    FINALLY found this book in our very last box of books to unpack since moving in August. Of course it would be there. Five stars - really well done and worth me revisiting year after year for more tips on creating a culture of education and growth and improvement for my kids, even though our homeschooling journey is coming to an end for now.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Corinne Holloway

    This is a really good little book. Short, but full of theological truths (especially about personhood, Imago Dei, and how that relates to children) stated in a practical way in education. I especially love that SSM applies Charlotte Mason’s teaching not just to parents, or even official school settings, but to all people who have children in their lives in any capacity. While I definitely disagree with certain points and could split hairs on others, this was a really helpful book that I will prob This is a really good little book. Short, but full of theological truths (especially about personhood, Imago Dei, and how that relates to children) stated in a practical way in education. I especially love that SSM applies Charlotte Mason’s teaching not just to parents, or even official school settings, but to all people who have children in their lives in any capacity. While I definitely disagree with certain points and could split hairs on others, this was a really helpful book that I will probably re-read a few times while raising kids and teaching.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    2nd reading. I appreciate the tips on implementing Charlotte Mason philosophy in both public or homeschool environments, creating the home environment itself that lives out the motto, "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life." 2nd reading. I appreciate the tips on implementing Charlotte Mason philosophy in both public or homeschool environments, creating the home environment itself that lives out the motto, "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."

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