The Way of the Will | Principles #18-19

Welcome to Charlotte Mason Motherhood, the podcast that helps the everyday mother learn a practical application of the Charlotte Mason method. In our last podcast, we discussed the way of the will which is the 17th principle, but today we are covering “the way of reason”, which is the eighteenth principle, and with that comes the nineteenth principle. Listen now to learn more about the way of reason.


Principle #16: “There are two guides to moral and intellectual self-management to offer to children, which we may call ‘the way of the will’ and ‘the way of reason’.”

Principle #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, is not always a safe one; for, whether that idea be right or wrong, reason will confirm it by irrefragable proofs. 

Principle #19: “Therefore, children should be taught, as they become mature enough to understand such teaching, that the chief responsibility which rests on them as persons is the acceptance or rejection of ideas. To help them in this choice we give them principles of conduct, and a wide range of the knowledge fitted to them. These principles should save children from some of the loose thinking and heedless action which cause most of us to live at a lower level than we need.”

Leading Thoughts

  1. We can’t trust in reason alone.
  2. To help aid our children in deciding whether an idea is worth accepting, we give them both principles of conduct and a wide range of knowledge.
  3. They will use the will to decide whether or not we accept or reject an idea.
  4. Sometimes, our child won’t always choose to exercise their trained will. And the will is strained or fatigued. To help with this issue, Mason recommends four things: recreation, diversion, change of physical occupation, thinking of something else.

Listen to the podcast above to hear more!


For ourselves and our children it is enough to know that reason will put a good face on any matter we propose…” (A Philosophy of Education).

 “Reason, so far from being infallible, is most exceedingly fallible, persuadable, open to influence on this side and that; but is all the same a faithful servant, able to prove whatsoever notion is received by the will. Once we are convinced of the fallibility of our own reason we are able to detect fallacies in the reasoning of our opponents and are not liable to be carried away by every wind of doctrine” (p. 150)


A Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason (pages 128-138)

Parents’ Review article from 1936 on The Way of the Will

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I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Charlotte Mason Motherhood podcast. Thank you so much for listening!

  1. Mason, Charlotte. Home Education. Simply Charlotte Mason, LLC, 2017.
  2. Mason, Charlotte. A Philosophy of Education. Simply Charlotte Mason, LLC. 2017.

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