Facts vs Ideas

I get alot of email from a variety of sources and sometimes I actually read them.

This morning I read an email from Simply Charlotte Mason. Which if you want to sign up for you can go here. I am not a Charlotte Mason teacher, but I think there is value in a variety of approaches to teaching.

Anyways, in this newsletter they were talking about Facts vs Ideas.

The author mentioned
how a living book should give our children ideas, not just facts.
The author went on to explain

Let's take a Bible character most of us already know about in order to illustrate the difference. Let's look at Joseph.

A typical factual summary of Joseph's life might read something like this:

Joseph, the eleventh and favored son of Jacob, was sold into slavery by his brothers and carried to Egypt. Because he accurately interpreted Pharaoh's dreams, he was appointed second in command over all the land. His good management of resources resulted in Egypt's survival during a seven-year famine and eventually the salvation of his whole family from starvation.

But if we read Joseph's story, told as a narrative in Genesis 37-50, we will get the facts, yes; but we can also pull from it all kinds of ideas like this:

  • Inter-family relations and sibling rivalry; how it can be enflamed by words and actions,
  • Diligence and trustworthiness in assigned responsibilities,

  • Sometimes good choices result in painful circumstances,

  • God is in control,

  • Circumstances can change in a moment,

  • People will disappoint you,

  • Forgiveness,

  • Managing resources in feast and in famine,

  • Giving glory to God before authorities; courage.

There are probably several other ideas you can think of that I didn't list here.

Do you see the difference? The facts are just something that happened to someone else. The factual account takes all the emotional and human experience aspects out of the equation. But the ideas are common human experiences and emotions that we can relate to and learn from.


I enjoy reading books to the lad that cause him to ask questions, OR that I can ask questions of him. If he asks questions I know that he is listening and that the information will come out later in play or in connections that he gets from other things that he is learning.

Ideas I find often spark further learning.

THIS is what I want to inspire in my lad... that desire to learn more.

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