Educational Philosophy of Race for Heaven Products
Race For Heaven products are modeled after the teaching philosophy of British educator Charlotte Mason (1842-1923) who developed an educational method that revolved around a literature-based curriculum. The Charlotte Mason educational pedagogy relies upon engaging, living books (as opposed to "twaddle" or dry textbooks) that are read aloud to children who then share what they have learned through narration, and real-life application. Through the application of what become her twenty principles toward education, Charlotte Mason sought to develop within children a lifelong love of learning. Through the student motto—"I am, I can, I ought, I will"—she sought to develop the full moral and spiritual potential of the child.
A brief summary of the methods and techniques used by Charlotte Mason would include the use of "living" books, oral narration, memorization, copywork through dictation, plenty of time outdoors with nature, and the discipline of habits. More in-depth information about the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason is available online including her complete six-book series on education in the original English or modern English translation. Two other excellent Charlotte Mason sites include the Charlotte Mason Research and Supply Company and the ABC's of CM. To apply her principles in a Catholic environment (Charlotte Mason was not a Catholic.), refer to Love2Learn's Favorite Resources for Catholic Homeschooler's website—Catholic Charlotte Mason and the Ambleside Online website.
Race For Heaven products employ Charlotte Mason's method of education by encouraging family read-aloud of Catholic living books—especially saint biographies—to teach the truths of the Catholic faith and to encourage the imitation of the holy habits of the saints. Narration, daily read-aloud of living books, integration of holy habits, and scripture memorization are all integral components of the Race For Heaven curriculum. Regular family spiritual read-aloud is strongly emphasized in all of our materials. This read-aloud approach is applied in our literature-based method of preparing your family for the all-important sacrament of Holy Communion—with our Communion with the Saints program. This family preparation program utilizes four Catholic living books to renew your family's fervor for this Blessed Sacrament while preparing a younger family member to receive Jesus for the first time.
Living books that impart knowledge of the doctrine and the lived experience of the Catholic faith are the backbone of the Race for Heaven curriculum. Janet McKenzie has prepared chapter-by-chapter enrichment activities to Mary Fabyan Windeatt's saint biographies provide an enjoyable, flexible Catholic unit study in which multi-aged family members can discover the depth and breadth of the Catholic faith— and share that knowledge with other family members.
Regular spiritual reading is an essential element of every Christian’s life. For Catholic families, the practice of reading spiritual books aloud—especially Scripture and the lives of the saints—produces many spiritual and familial benefits. In her book, Saint Dominic, Preacher of the Rosary and Founder of the Dominican Order, Mary Fabyan Windeatt quotes St. Dominic, “A little good reading, much prayer and meditation . . . and God will do the rest.”
Knowing where to begin may be the most difficult aspect of acquiring the simple daily habit of family spiritual read-aloud. Many classic spiritual books may be too “profound and learned” for the entire family to absorb. However, Scripture (beginning with the Psalms and the Gospels) as well as the lives of the saints provide a variety of topics in a family-friendly manner. “Seek daily contact with the saints to be refreshed by their discourses” (Didache, Teaching of the Twelve Apostles). Regular family read-aloud sessions that center around the lives of the saints will benefit the family with an increased interest in reading, a growth in vocabulary, and an improved sense of family unity. Additionally, family members will be encouraged to develop the habit of spiritual reading on their own, will become more comfortable and experienced with spiritual conversation, and be able to apply the Truths of the Catholic faith on a practical level to all aspects of their lives—no matter what their age. The customs, habits, and attitudes of family members will soon begin to conform to those of the saints. Develop the daily habit of family spiritual read-aloud simply and easily with Race For Heaven products and grow together in wisdom and grace.
The Catholic Charlotte Mason Approach in Practice
If you and your family have not yet experienced the joy of family spiritual read-aloud, we suggest you begin this journey together by reading The King of the Golden City Study Edition. This simple story exemplifies engaging Catholic living literature at its best! For a foretaste of this allegorical tale, read the first chapter along with the study guide activities online.
The Catholic Study Guides for the Mary Fabyan Windeatt Saint Biographies from Race For Heaven are also an excellent beginning to a Charlotte Mason style of studying religion. The study guides are available individually or in grade-level packages in which the grade level has been determined by the page length of each biography.To continue this journey or to begin with either preschool or high school students, use the latest Race For Heaven product— Reading the Saints—to discover hundreds of Catholic living books for various ages. Preview the contents of this book before you purchase. Begin today to build your own Catholic living books library including Vision Books, American Background Books and more!