Month: July 2008

A Dangerous Adventure by Art in Kenosha

“Like religion, education is nothing or it is everything–a consuming fire in the bones” – Charlotte Mason We made the decision to homeschool when my first son was a toddler. I realized that homeschooling would require an enormous amount of time. So I counted the cost and figured out a schedule that would work for my family. I set aside containers of time to devote to lessons with my children. There are containers for time, containers for objects, and containers for chemicals. Sometimes it is hard to find the right container for a substance. Of course, chemicals that are inert are very safe. But I have heard of acids that are so reactive that they interact with their container. If you are not careful, the container can be transformed by what’s inside. We decided to implement Charlotte Mason’s ideas in our home school. At first it was very simple. I just took Charlotte Mason’s ideas and put them into the containers of my week that were set aside for lessons. I did not realize that …

Charlotte Mason’s Early Correspondence by Dr. John Thorley

The Charlotte Mason archive in the Armitt Library in Ambleside, UK, contains around a dozen letters to or from Charlotte from the period 1860 to 1873. These were the years when she was at the Home and Colonial College in London (1860) and at the Davison School in Worthing, on the south coast of England (1861-73). These years were in many ways a formative period for Charlotte, since they include her training as a teacher and the 13 years that she spent in her first teaching post, in charge of a large infants’ school (it was in fact a church school, but open without payment to all children of the area). These letters are not the only evidence that we have for this period, since we also have the school log-book that Charlotte completed from 1862 until she left the Davison School at the end of 1873. But the letters are of course a much more personal record. In the following letters the text is transcribed directly from the manuscript, with the original punctuation and …

On Time by Melanie Walker

The idea of time and the way it shapes my teaching and learning has been rolling around in my head for quite a while now. Aware of an internal rushing that I was always managing, I have longed to silence it. This sinister voice, ‘get going, seize the moment, multi-task’ seemed cloaked as a virtue, but somewhere deep down I could hear, though the signal was weak, that it was really a vice. We live in two time zones. We’re all familiar with Greenwich Mean Time and it’s ticking clocks, blinking digital numerals, various chronometers and alarms. But there is also what older voices might have dubbed “real time.” There are four clocks or timekeepers that mark real time: The body’s clock that measures when I am hungry or satisfied, weary or energized, sad, lonely, or content. The day’s clock which is marked by the movement of the sun and moon, from sunset to sunrise, to noon. The waxing and waning of the day. The season’s clock with spring, summer, autumn and winter. The church’s …

‘The Shout of a King’ by Lori Lawing

Should children read fairy tales?  Can children distinguish between real and that which is unreal?  Is it wise to introduce children to a world of fire breathing dragons, creatures with magical powers, and big rock candy mountains?  Are the children too young to contend with evil and warfare?  I once knew a mom who thought so.  I watched as she read certain books to her children.  Some of the pages were completely covered over with blank construction paper taped to these pages.  She didn’t want her children to be exposed to the evil contained in these books.  Cinderella had no wicked stepmother; Snow White had no evil, jealous queen.   Are fairy tales helpful or hurtful?  In a later blog perhaps I’ll address Mason’s view that ‘Fairy Tales Act as a Screen and Shelter.’  (See pages 183-186 of Chapter 17, Volume III School Education.)  But today I want to make a connection between fairy tales and what Charlotte Mason would call “The Shout of a King” Toy guns are banned from the public schools today, and …