Purpose of This Blog
Comments 4

The Idea Behind This Blog

Welcome to the beginning ChildLightUSA blog.  


Most of you who read this blog are interested in a Charlotte Mason education. ChildLightUSA (CLUSA) is interested in supporting individuals, groups, schools, universities and others as they grow in their understanding of Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy and practice.  This is why CLUSA has started this blog.  


As we begin this blog I want to share a concept of misdirected focus that comes from an image in my mind.  I see Peter walking on the water and then sinking.  The Scripture in Matthew (New International Version) reads like this:


Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”


Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.  “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”


And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.  Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”


When Peter took his attention off  Jesus, he began to sink.  I find frequently in life this is our case:  we misdirect our attention. One of the ways we do this sometimes is to focus on what others do that is not acceptable to us.  Therefore, we can look at the public or private schools or the way some families homeschool and whine about how bad or lacking they are.  Rather, it seems to me that we should stay focused on what we believe to be true about education.  In this blog our goal is to put forth positively our ideas about education hopefully with a continual focus on our redemption as our guidepost. 


It is our job to do good works (Ephesians 2:10).  We must continually model the life of Jesus so that the world can see the love of God through our actions.  This is shown to us in education for, as Mason says, education is the handmaid of religion. Whether it is ideas about science, mathematics, history, art, music and the list could go on—we need to convey to the world the love of God through every aspect of life–every act and every thought.  I don’t mean by this that we over spiritualise everything in life.  For example, we can only read to our children a Christian version of Mother Goose.  What I mean is that we include in our beliefs about education room for the expression of humankind and human culture as it is expressed in our literature, history, science and so on.  And from this we are educating our children to serve their communities not just by utilitarian means and for utilitarian purposes, but by means and purposes of an abundant and rich way of living. For we know that all such expression comes from the image that we bear.  In having such a view of education, we are training our children “unto good works.”


As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. As we write and discuss the writing in this blog our intent is to put forth Mason’s ideas or our interpretations of Mason ideas   in an iron- sharpening-iron way—that is, by discussing, probing, exploring, challenging ideas while not expecting to be “pure” Mason.  As we put forth the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason we make the assumption that only Mason herself could do the really “pure” Mason model.  Since none of us is Mason, we are left with interpretations of what she wanted. Understanding that living after the fall means nothing is perfect, including our own interpretations, we can approach discussion with humility and earnestness. 


Let me say one other word about iron sharpening iron. Kindness and mutual submission to one another must be the ethics of this blog.  But this doesn’t mean that we cannot challenge one another’s thinking.  If kindness and submission meant that I let my colleagues at the university say anything without ever challenging their thoughts and ideas, then none of us would ever be sharpened to grow and learn.  Iron sharpening iron means that we confront one another’s ideas in thoughtful and kind ways. 


Therefore, in this blog we want to put forth to our readers our beliefs, ideas and thoughts about education.  We want to stay focused on our topic:  Mason’s educational philosophy. We want to discuss her philosophy challenging one another and supporting one another.  Our discussion of these ideas should lead us and ultimately our children to “good works.”  Further, we know that we cannot interpret perfectly Mason’s principles.  Knowing these thing, if you would like to join in this conversation, we welcome your response to these blog entries within these important guidelines. 


First, our nonprofit status is based on our putting forth the philosophy and practices of Mason.  That’s where we need to keep our focus. 


Second, this blog is not political in nature.  It is about education–an application of Mason’s views on education.  That means, ideas about education are welcomed, but this is not a forum to plug your favorite politician or political notion.  


Third, this is not a place to rant and rave about something in our culture that has irritated you.  


Fourth, there are a number of people who will be blogging, which might be frustrating to some readers.  We hope not.  We wanted to provide a variety of writers that would provide a variety of fresh and interesting topics.  Each week we will try to let you know who the blogger is for the following week and, if possible, what his or her topic will be.  You are welcomed to interact with the writer for that week.  Each week will provide us with a different writer.  


Fifth, none of our writers “own” any one topic.  Therefore expect to see topics being repeated by more than one author.  


Sixth, these writers retain their own copyright.  When you use their thinking, you cite them as the author–this ChildLIghtUSA blog is only the publication source.  


And finally, we want this discussion to be open and free, but as I said earlier respectful and kind.


We welcome you and hope you enjoy the discussion.


Carroll Smith


This entry was posted in: Purpose of This Blog


Carroll Smith has spoken on various topics related to Charlotte Mason. Currently he teaches at Gardner-Webb University and enjoys working with children, teachers, college students, and Charlotte Mason Institute. He was a teacher and a principal for 21 years before coming to Gardner-Webb University where he has been for six years. Having grown up in eastern North Carolina, he attended East Carolina University for his undergraduate degree and his master's in school administration. He completed his terminal degree and wrote his dissertation on Charlotte Mason at Virginia Tech. Carroll enjoys reading, gardening, and discussing ideas with friends. He and his wife, Andra, and their two young adult college-age children, Corban and Anna, enjoy living, working and playing in North Carolina.


  1. tammyglaser798 says

    Speaking of putting forth the philosophy and practices of Mason, I am going to admit right here that our nature study has been slack lately due to the pressures of having a high schooler. Yesterday we renewed our attention to God’s beautiful creation and participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count and made nature notebook entries. We are also turning in our counts to be part of science in action! The daily count ends on February 18. For further inspiration, we are doing the 30-day Sit Spot Challenge. We were so excited to spot seven black vultures soaring above our house and a huge flock of common grackles perched high in a tree.

  2. deborahdobbins says

    I’m looking forward to reading the ChildlightUSA Blog. What an amazing opportunity to hear from the Charlotte Mason community around the world. As a result, we will grow in our understanding of Mason’s educational philosophy. Thanks, Carroll, for taking the pressure off to be “pure” Mason. A weekly seed will bring forth beautiful blossoms in our educational environments and foster a healthy learning atmosphere.

  3. jcarsmith says

    Thank you Carroll for creating this opportunity for us to discuss Charlotte Mason’s ideas. This is the forum I have been dreaming about. As I study and work to implement CMs methodology, I have often wished that I could ask the “experts” what they think of some of my ideas. I can’t wait to read and respond to all the blogs, what an embarrassment of riches! And how much greater the conference will be this year after everyone has been interacting like this for several months.

    Sandy Rusby Bell

  4. lauriebestvater says

    Carroll, You are such a gentleman! I am so looking forward to being sharpened by this group. I love the understanding that “none of us is Mason.” This already feels like a very safe place to try to grow and learn in our understanding of how Mason applied Christianity to education. What an exciting moment! And, it’s never too late to teach and “old dog” Yesterday I learned how to make my phone do a conference call, today I am a first time blogger!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s