I’m a perfectionist to the point of being paralyzed. It’s only during my middle thirty’s that I began to realize that perfection isn’t necessary in every situation and that it’s okay to do just good enough. It’s okay to fail.
Knowing this about myself makes life a lot easier. I can attack my housework knowing it’s okay to just do rather than having to do it perfectly. In fact, I coined the phrase “people perfect” with my own children.
When my kids were little, I stressed that we do things “people perfect” because only God is truly perfect.
When I read curriculum that stresses doing things perfectly the way Charlotte Mason does, my heart races, my jaw clinches, and my stomach knots up. It really stresses me.
I cannot fully embrace Charlotte Mason’s methods because of this.
And while I dont like the “doing what a child can do perfectly” I really love narration because the child doesn’t have to be perfect.
Charlotte Mason’s methods are complicated. I’ve learned to take what I like and leave the rest.
Actually, I wish I could embrace the idea of perfection because it is what I aspire to be, but it is that same idea that prevents me from being my best. I cannot see burdening a child with the burden of having to be perfect.
The dark side of my avoidance of perfection is that I risk teaching my students to not try their best.
That is why co-op has been so good for me. I typically have high expectations but I have to put aside my own fears and still require the attempt at perfection from my students (co-op and home).
It’s such a fine line to balance between doing your best and trying to obtain the unattainable. Because of my tendencies, I have to err on the side of good enough rather than perfect.
For a perfectionist though, good enough is often not good enough.
By the way, I don’t think Ms. Mason was trying to burden everyone with perfectionism. I just think that for those who suffer with this tendency, the wording used by Ms. Mason and by those that interpret her work must be taken with a grain of salt or a handful. I have to know who I am as a teacher and, just as importantly, who my students are as people. No program is perfect for everyone and should be adjusted for each student according to his or her needs. By and large, Charlotte Mason’s methods are beneficial to students everywhere. The student just must be the focus of the teaching and not the method–whether it’s Charlotte Mason’s methods or classical or any other method.