Philosophy, Practical Application
Comments 2

Reflections on Visiting a Mason School by Carroll Smith

I visited a Charlotte Mason school this past week.  How does one express all the complexities of education viewed at a school like this one?  It was truly refreshing and life-giving.  Hopefully you will see more of it in the next issue of the journal.  There are many things to discuss about it:  relationship, engagement, beauty, children in an emotionally healthy environment, challenges for students and faculty, and the list could go on and on.
Jurgen Moltmann talks about the interpenetration of the members of the Trinity.  One day I hope to write about this in a book connecting the model of existence provided by the Trinity to a model of education.  In terms of relationship, this little school is seeking to live the inter-relationships that are needed in a learning community or among any group of people for that matter.  Teachers at this school don’t dismiss the thoughts and ideas of their students, rather, they seek to understand and to really listen and engage with them.  Laurie Bestvater who is helping me develop a brochure for ChildLightUSA, put this quote by Mason on the drafted brochure:  “We attempt to define a person, the most common place person we know, but he will not submit to bounds; some unexpected beauty of nature breaks out; we find he is not what we thought, and begin to suspect that every person exceeds our power of measurement.” This is the attitude that I witnessed at this school.  Teachers in relationship with their students.  They are seeking to know their students as persons, to reflect on their own attitudes and beliefs and then to adjust their thinking based on what they know to be true and based on who the child is and what the child needs.  This is an example of the “interpenetration” of the members of the school.  Teachers, not acting like monarchs, but seeking to know their students–not just to cuddle them or to let them whine–but to do the hard stuff of teaching and learning, which will enable both teacher and student to personally grow more towards the light of Truth.
What a lovely place I found at Red Mountain Community School:  A Charlotte Mason Learning Community.

This entry was posted in: Philosophy, Practical Application


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. Kern Julia says

    Hi Carroll, this is Julia your former exchange student. Hope I can reach by this way, even though it’s rather unorthodox. How can I get in touch with you? Hope you are all doing fine. Best wishes Julia

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