Month: December 2010

Thanks for 2010-Moving Forward by Carroll Smith

As we come to the end of 2010, it is fitting to give thanks for what has been accomplished “to recover and promote the educational philosophy and practice of Charlotte Mason.”  Several significant projects were in process for this year: the digitalisation project of the Mason archives that helps all of us interested in learning more about Mason’s work;  the arduous work of developing a curriculum and it’s “pre-pilot;”  the thought provoking and helpful 2010 Charlotte Mason Educational Conference;  and finally, the many insightful and helpful blogs.  I want to say thank you to the many people who have made such projects possible. A huge thanks must be extended to Dr. Deani Van Pelt for all her countless hours of work both in writing the grants that provided the funds and in coordinating the efforts to get the digitalisation of the Charlotte Mason archives project started.  Anyone who has ever written grants, received them and did the subsequent work knows what a large task it is.  The Mason archives were released through an October Charlotte …

Common Tender Talk by Dr. Deani Van Pelt, Redeemer University College

Early in the first of her six poetic volumes titled The Saviour of the World, Charlotte Mason (1842-1923) retells the story of the visit between two expectant women, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Elizabeth, the mother of John.  In these passionate moving verses, Mason conveys her deep intuition about the possibility and promise of caring, mutually encouraging relationships between women called to walk a similar journey. Mason describes the anxious courage with which the young virgin traveled a great distance “that she might ease her bosom in her kinswoman’s arms” (Mason, 1908, p. 22).  Through her description Mason touches on the archetypal ache for a loving familial breast upon which our tears may be wept and courage for tomorrow found. The content of the conversations between the expectant women, Mason imagines, ranged from the ordinary—such as the feeding of infants, the illnesses of childhood, and concerns for their child’s adulthood—to the sublime doxological moments in which God is blessed and their souls are laid bare.  “The common tender talk that mothers use was theirs” …

The Giving Time of the Year by Carroll Smith

Dear Friend of ChildLightuUSA, It is the giving time of the year.  I have heard that people give more during this time of the year than any other.  I am writing to encourage you to combine your charitable thoughts with the educational needs of our children.  ChildLightUSA is a nonprofit that seeks to change education by supporting the educational theories and practices of Charlotte Mason. In asking you to combine your thoughts of giving with education during this time of the year you will help support a glaring need for a change in educational theory and practice.  Just tonight (7 December 2010) on PBS, the Secretary of Education said that children in American schools perform worse in school as they continue from grade to grade–a very clear sign that our educational practices are not working no matter how “researched” based they may be.  ChildLightUSA seeks to help provide that change.  We want to do that through a better, more active, up-to-date website, a more frequent journal, a curriculum that remains current, teacher/parent professional training, research …

A Surefire Way to Lose Weight by Nicolle Hutchinson

Want to lose some weight? Start a charter school. It has been my pleasure and honor to launch a charter school with a collaborative of parents, grandparents, educators and concerned citizens in Pottsville, PA. This has been a two-year journey so far, and as I reflect upon the journey, one thing is clear to me. Before moving forward on a project like this, anyone remotely interested in such an undertaking better know what they’re in for. It’s a ride! That’s why our original five-member team met with a charter school guru one evening in August, 2008. Our consultant, Harold Kurtz, came primarily to do one thing: SCARE US. It was as though we were sitting around a campfire listening to frightful ghost stories. After hearing all kinds of sad, daunting accounts, we were a bit jittery. Harold did his best to make it clear that starting a charter school would NOT be easy. He was right. It has been challenging, especially lately, and my weight loss is a testament. Normally, I eat to comfort myself …

Enduring Wisdom by Jason Fletcher

There has been a lot of snow in the UK this past week. With illness on our staff team it has been a challenging week; I was rather hoping for six inches to fall here in Cambridge so we could close for the day. Alas! Only a few light snow showers came our way. Yet every week, hectic or not, seems to affirm the enduring wisdom of Charlotte Mason’s educational vision. Mystery of personhood I was covering in our Year 2 class (age 6-7) most of the week. A boy in that class has delayed language skills and, it would appear, some processing difficulties. He finds narrating extremely difficult. He struggles to link two coherent thoughts in the wake of a reading. He struggles to hear and retain instructions. In other areas, it became clearer to me, he has real strengths. During some spelling practice on ‘wh’ words, he offered to spell ‘watch’. Not a ‘wh’ word, but off he went. Did he know about ‘tch’, I wondered? “w – a – t – c – h”. Perfect. I gave a big cheer and told him that I …