Month: September 2008

What to Do When Children Are Left Behind by Tammy Glaser

God blessed some families with children who make teaching feel effortless. Mine is not one of them! Borrowing from Charlotte Mason’s analogy of Scylla and Charybdis in her thoughts on power and permissiveness, I felt trapped between drilling my children like a six-headed monster with razor-sharp teeth and sucking their talents into a pool of do-nothing pity. Like Charlotte, I asked, “But is there not a better way?” God built a better way into the feedback loop that develops between parent and child in the first eighteen months of life. Charlotte described it in her passages in Home Education (pages 119 through 125) about a mother helping her daughter focus on lacing her boots and teaching her son to shut the door. She knew that few words, warm facial expressions, vocal tones, and natural consequences make two-way communication more effective. Formation of Character features this feedback loop in several stories about adults guiding children. Through narration, Charlotte placed the grand conversation between educator and children as the cornerstone of her educational philosophy. She recognized the …

Charlotte Mason on the Prairie by Nancy Kelly

ChildLightUSA wishes to support efforts that present and preserve Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy.  Nancy Kelly has attended the ChildLightUSA Charlotte Mason Educational Conference that occurs each June at Gardner-Webb University in NC.  I have listened to her lectures on Mason and she has been a strong supporter of Mason’s philosophy for a number of years.  This blog entry is a report from her about her recent Charlotte Mason educational retreat called the Living Educational Retreat.  It is a blessing to see how God is continuing to spread a better education worldwide For the Children’s Sake! Nancy says: The prairie land of Minnesota is hardly the first image that comes to mind when one thinks of Charlotte Mason.  But here we were, 60 students of her method, hoping to learn more, encourage one another and be inspired.  We had gathered for a retreat of sorts – a time to get away and focus on our goals for the new school year.  I suppose there are many such meetings every fall, but because the focus of this …

Educational Stakeholders by Lisa Cadora

In August of 2008 I was privileged to be included as a member of an international team of university-level educators who were funded to do preliminary work on publishable inquiry into the efforts and accomplishments of Charlotte Mason. Our time at the Armitt Museum on the campus of the University of Cumbria in Ambleside, England and our sessions brainstorming various potential research projects on the Parents National Education Union and The House of Education Teachers College got me thinking: why, beyond my own personal enchantment with her methods, would I presume to pitch Charlotte Mason’s way of educating to stakeholders in education today? Do I believe that these premises and practices are truly beneficial to any child, from any family, in any socio-economic class, located anywhere geographically and constrained by any political situation? If I do believe this, how can I make such a claim? Gross and Godwin (2005) state that educators should take their cues from the successes businesses have enjoyed by identifying, learning from and involving their stakeholders. In an article entitled “Education’s …

Ambleside 2008 by Jennifer Spencer

  It was an ordinary day in March.  I was at school checking my email during my planning time when I saw a curious message from Carroll Smith.  It said, “Please call me when you get a chance.  I have something very important and exciting to share with you.”  Of course, I called him immediately.  After exchanging pleasantries, he began to explain that a grant had been obtained to send five people to Ambleside to set a research agenda around the life and work of Charlotte Mason.  As he spoke my heart began to race, but I dared not hope he would ask me to go.  I assumed he needed me to take care of something while he was away doing this important work.  He began to list the names of the people who were going.  “It will be Deani Van Pelt, Jack Beckman, Lisa Cadora, and me, and we would like to ask you to be the fifth person.”  All of a sudden, I found it difficult to breathe.  Aside from the fact that …