Month: January 2009

A Bronze Statue of a Lawyer by Dr. Donna Johnson

As an educator, I have had a checkered past. Before my daughters were born, I spent almost ten years teaching in public schools in a variety of positions including remedial reading; elementary grades two, three, and four; and special education. Then I took a long break to raise and educate my girls at home, interspersing those years with periods of substitute teaching, a part-time reading position, and private tutoring. Now I am almost back where I started: teaching special education in a grade six-through-eight middle school. I love my new job. In the few short months since I started, I have come to care deeply about my students while I struggle with the forces in our culture and government that dehumanize them. Federal and state-mandated testing requirements force schools – administrators especially – to look at a child’s test scores rather than his personhood. My principal and co-teachers also care deeply about each child but cannot avoid considering the negative consequences that will befall our school if certain levels of achievement are not reached by …

Charlotte Mason Beyond the School Years by Leslie Neolani Laurio

As we begin the new year (2009), it seems appropriate to look ahead. What kind of a future did Charlotte Mason see? Maria Montessori saw youth living in their own cities, problem-solving among themselves with their unadulterated inner lights free to be creative and resourceful, and this, presumably, would prepare them to go out into the world at large and solve society’s problems with fresh insight. Miss Mason never writes specifically about her vision for the future, but it’s not difficult to see what she had in mind from her ideals as mentioned in her books. Her dream world is described in chapter 5 of “Formation of Character,” Volume 5 of her series: it’s a world where students don’t have to be coaxed to do their lessons because they love learning, and they remember more because they know how to pay attention. They set such high spiritual standards for themselves that their pastors don’t have to motivate them, and, in fact, have to work to keep up with them! And, because of their knowledge of …