Charlotte Mason Carnival: The Way of Reason



Welcome to the Charlotte Mason Carnival!

This edition focuses on Ms. Mason’s Principle 18: The Way of Reason.

18. The way of reason: We teach children, too, not to ‘lean (too confidently) to their own understanding’; because the function of reason is to give logical demonstration (a) of mathematical truth, (b) of an initial idea, accepted by the will. In the former case, reason is, practically, an infallible guide, but in the latter, it is not always a safe one; for, whether that idea be right or wrong, reason will confirm it by irrefragable proofs.

What does this mean in modern language?

Ambleside says this:  “Children must learn not to lean too heavily on their own reasoning. Reasoning is good for logically demonstrating mathematical truth, but unreliable when judging ideas because our reasoning will justify all kinds of erroneous ideas if we really want to believe them.”

This is a topic I have often discussed with my own children and others through various logic and critical thinking courses.  Even though the concept seems tough to grasp at first, kids get this!  When given enough training – like Biblical study, character lessons, living literature scenarios, mathematics, logic puzzles and even mysteries to solve – children learn quickly that some reasoning can be trusted and some may or may not be trustworthy.

Math has definite answers.  Science often has definite answers.  Once children understand a particular method for solving a math or science problem, they can logically assume their reasoning leads to correct answers (if done correctly.)

Other things in life are not so cut and dry.  As an example, there are often two (or more) sides to any given issue and the people on each side fully believe themselves to be correct.  Examples of some of the “big” modern arguments include:

  • political leanings
  • creation vs. evolution
  • whether abortion is right or wrong
  • whether war is right or wrong

What I always tell my children is, “Go into everything with an open mind.  Study the Word.  Pray.  Consider everything through “Biblical glasses”.  Listen to both sides of the argument.  Stack up the real evidence.  Make sure the evidence isn’t a fallacy or conveniently tweaked for the purpose of one side or the other.  Talk with those who are wise (in God’s eyes.)  Study the Word.  Pray.  Decide your stance and be willing to change it once the ‘irrefragable proofs’ (impossible to refute proofs) come about.”

Now, on to the carnival!

Nancy from Sage Parnassus shares an autumn living books giveaway with us!

Brandy from Afterthoughts provides two thoughtful posts, On Herbartian Unit Studies and On Entertainment in Education.

Sylvia from Homeschooling in a Bilingual Home writes a sweet letter in Dear Miss Mason.

Barb from Harmony Art Mom inspires us with poetry in Poetry: Pleasant Pictures and Word Painting and from Handbook of Nature Study, Poetry in your Nature Journal: Autumn Trees and Weeds.

Catherine from Grace to Abide share with us Part 4 of Homeschooling Overseas.

Nebby from Letters from Nebby shares her thoughts about science in CM on Our Attitude Toward Science.

Amanda from Hearts and Trees gives you Three Charlotte Mason Things to Do This Week.

Carol from Journey and Destination provides her review of Ambleside Year 1.

Penny from Changed by Love writes about the Way of the Will and Reason in Children’s Moral and Intellectual Growth.

Liz from Living Books Library inspires us that one person can make a difference in Just One Counts.

Naomi from Living Charlotte Mason in California gives us a timely reminder about The Habit of Attention.

Jimmie from The Notebooking Fairy tells us where to find Historical Images and Maps for Notebooking.

Bobby Jo from Where the Blacktop Ends shares a little poetry and nature study with us in Eleanor Farjeon and an Owl.

Sarah from All That’s Good paints a beautiful picture of CM education in The Well Nourished Mind.

Angela from Joyous Lessons reminds us to model good habits for our children in Habit is Ten Natures.

Celeste from Joyous Lessons sets out to identify the nature around her in Making Friends.

I am sharing my lastest series on “living” math in Living Math…Matters.

And Amy, our fearless carnival leader, reminds us how refreshing nature study is in Ahhh…Nature Study.

Thanks for stopping by!  Please be sure to join Simply Charlotte Mason for the next carnival on November 13th!


  1. Dear Cindy,

    Thank you for all your hard work on the CM Blog Carnival! It looks like there are plenty of thoughtful and encouraging posts to read.

    From joy to joy,

  2. Thanks for hosting the carival, Cindy. Looking forward to reading through them all tonight.

  3. I added these! Sorry for the confusion!! 🙂

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