At varying times in our family’s homeschooling journey, I have extolled the virtues of one side or the other. During my father’s final illness and hospitalization, for example, I was so grateful for a ‘gentle’ approach that fed each of us with much-needed sustenance without demanding a lot from me in the way of ‘teaching’ or ‘administration.’ At other times, when we had the mental, emotional and physical stamina to meet rising challenges, I celebrated the growth that ensued as we were all stretched by new ideas, added responsibility, and minds challenged to go vast as well as deep.
This is a good thing, this elasticity, and we should recognize and appreciate that a Charlotte Mason approach is indeed rigorous enough to challenge us while yet retaining a soft touch, not white-gloved, but easy in the sense that it meets students where they are, accommodating and yet stimulating.
Maybe the question is not so much, “Is a Charlotte Mason education rigorous enough? Or, is it gentle and honoring enough?” Perhaps, in a Charlotte Mason approach, the glass is not part empty or part full, but a third option: just as full as it needs to be.