Month: March 2009

A Rose by Another Name By Jennifer Spencer

In my last blog, I mentioned the clash of worlds in which I currently find myself:  A Mason elementary teacher working in a public high school.  My job as an instructional assistant gives me a great deal of time to observe and reflect on the ways in which my remedial students could benefit from a Mason education.  I work in some very difficult classes—the kind substitutes dread to enter when the teacher is absent.  Many of my students are hard and belligerent.  Their eyes sometimes seem to say that the only thing they have to look forward to in school is the day they turn seventeen, when they can legally drop out.  I am angered by minds and lives being wasted.  My heart aches daily, because my hands are tied when it comes to selecting curriculum materials or methods of teaching or assessment.  On a good day a teacher will ask me to work with a struggling student.  I love this, because then I have the opportunity to introduce narration or to work with children …

Slowly but Surely By Sandra Rusby Bell

Perhaps it’s not surprising that I decided to homeschool years before I even had children. I’ve heard it argued that there is only one kind of home educator: a perfectionist. In my last year of high school, I had the opportunity to read all of my elementary school report cards. I was shocked to see that almost every one of my teachers had written some variation of, “Sandra is a very good student but will only apply herself to something if she thinks she can do it perfectly or be the best at it.” I have no memory of any of my teachers speaking to me about this tendency of mine but they showed great insight into my personality and it really hasn’t changed much over the years. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I won’t be the best at anything in this life but I still struggle mightily to persevere at tasks that I can’t do perfectly. One of the things I find most compelling about a Mason education is the picture …

CAPTIVATING WORDS OF STORY by Bonnie Buckingham

I am reading a newly published book:   100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson. I’m testing it out for Beauty and any Living Book characteristics and the worthiness of it to an education, in particular my homeschool. My next tester is my daughter (11).  My sons are too old for this book but I might get them to read it while they are on Spring Break for realness. For good food in books is one thing my family delights in and savors. N.D. Wilson starts his novel with: “ Henry, Kansas is a hot town. And a cold town. It is a town so still there are times you can hear a fly trying to get through the window of the locked –up antique store, but if you press your face against the glass, like the fly, you’ll see that whoever they are, they don’t have much beyond a wide variety of wagon wheels. Yes, Henry is a still town. But there have been tornadoes on Main Street. If the wind blows, it’s like it won’t ever …

Taste and See by Lisa Cadora

Who would have guessed that as it turns out, the way to man’s , or HU-man’s, heart is truly through the stomach? We have forgotten that those who have gone before us have often pointed out that the chief aim of education is to stimulate the appetite and shape affections. It is with great delight that I bring to your attention two thinkers who explore the matter of literal food and real-life feasting—their social, economic and political aspects as well as their nutritional and relational components. In reading both Wendell Berry’s and Anna Migeon’s works, I have been renewed in my first love of Charlotte Mason’s dictum “Education is a Life” and have moved more deeply into the profundity of her analogy of the human mind as a digestive organ, feeding upon a generous feast of ideas. Wendell Berry is a Kentucky farmer dedicated to stewardship of his land, his time, his community and life on this earth. He is also a writer, and has enjoyed the publication of numerous essays, works of fiction, and …