Wednesdays with Words: Precision of Utterance

On Monday, we had our first CM Group meeting.  We’re using Brandy’s study guide, Start Here.  In it, she assigns readings from For the Children’s Sake and A Philosophy of Education.

In For the Children’s Sake, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay says some pretty profound things.  One of the first, for me so apropos, is,

We have to be willing to start again. (pg 19)

Bracketing the end of the chapter is,

Excellence is a habit. (pg 37, italics hers)

Yesterday, in my Keeping Company post, I wrote about how I love words and beautiful phrasing, and some of that was certainly inspired by this chapter of For the Children’s Sake and her quotation from Charlotte Mason (Home Education pg 225-26).

He should have practice, too, in reading aloud, for the most part, in the books he is using for his term’s work. These should include a good deal of poetry, to accustom him to the delicate shades of meaning, and especially to make him aware that words are beautiful in themselves, that they are a source of pleasure, and are worthy of our honour: and that a beautiful word deserves to be beautifully said, with a certain roundness of tone and precision of utterance ... In this connection the teacher should not trust to setting, as it were, a copy in reading for the children’s imitation. They do imitate readily enough, catching tricks of emphasis and action in an amusing way; but these are mere tricks, an aping of intelligence.  The child must express what he feels to be the author’s meaning; and this sort of intelligent reading comes only from the habit of reading with understanding. (pg 30, italics Charlotte Mason’s, bold mine)



  1. I think my computer ate my first attempt at a comment! Excellent quote! This week I have been passing out new recitations. A couple of my girls and I have enjoyed exaggerating a bit with our emotions over different poetry selections. It will be interesting to see how they decided to voice the author's words.

    1. When my littlest was 2 – and I was the only one who understood anything she said – she memorized 'Ooey Gooey' with her brother and sister. I wish I had video-taped it, because she said it with such expression and was so proud of herself. I've heard RLS's 'The Swing' from our swings an unknown number of times – with the ups and downs timed just so. Right now they're working on 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Tennyson and getting the hoof-beats as they wish. It is a wonderful thing to hear them work out the beauty and precision of utterance.

    1. It's a lovely group; all moms from my church and all but one of us is from our every-other-Thursday Art with Friends group. It is wonderful to get together without kiddos. The other mom has a graduate and a high schooler who have been educated in CM fashion, so it is great to have a BTDT mom, too.

      Anna from Mahers Hill Academy is coordinating it, so that's wonderful. She started our meeting with the Robert Frost poem, "A Time to Talk." It was the perfect selection.

  2. Tried to comment when I added my link earlier today but blogger was playing up. Just wanted to say that I really enjoy your selections on WWW & the thoughtful comments you add, Dawn. Good photo, too!

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