A Charlotte Mason Education
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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 and study especially through the use of the new Mason Digital Collection now at Redeemer University College in Ontario, continued financial help to complete the digitizing, and other various means of supporting parents and schools as they endeavor to understand and practice Mason’s educational theories.    

A Mason letter written in the 1800s

Instead of children memorizing facts and regurgitating them to be soon forgotten, below are some moments captured in a Mason classroom where without memorizing, children make natural connections among various content.

Making natural connections:

The Teacher:  We were beginning our reading of Dangerous Journey, a children’s version of Pilgrim’s Progress. The chapter was entitled “The Valley of the Shadow of Death.”

Student 1: “The Valley of the Shadow of Death. Little Women has a chapter called that.”
Student 2: “Yeah, and it comes from the 23rd Psalm.”
Student 3: “It reminds me of The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson. ‘Into the valley of death rode the 600.'”

Here is a wonderful connection made during a visit to an art gallery:

Guide: “Everything in this room is from the ‘Gothic’ period.
Student: “You mean like ‘Gothic Revival’ architecture? It has steep points and arched frames that look like windows in Gothic Revival buildings.”

From parents whose children for the first time are experiencing a wonderful Mason education:

“This is the first year that my son has come home talking about what he learned in school since he was little.”

“This year has been the saving grace for my child.  Last year he was so stressed out all the time.”

“Last year my son was sick at his stomach every morning and cried to not go to school. This year he jumps out of bed ready to go. He loves it and so do we.”

From Parents at Red Mountain Community School where Melanie Walker is the Headteacher:

“School for my children at RMCS is a positive, enjoyable and also challenging experience. I am so pleased that my first grader comes home yearning to read on her own and always hungry for learning and says things like, ‘I love school, and I wish I could go everyday.’”

“One thing that is absolutely refreshing about RMCS is the joy with which they conduct their daily business. Somehow, with all the seriousness of educating children, the natural delight in learning is often lost. How lucky we are to have a school that we can send our children to where they can both learn and enjoy the educational process.”

Melanie Walker, Headteacher, Red Mountain Community School

“RMCSdoes an incredible job of engaging children in their education.  The breadth and scope of what students experience at school captivates them, ensuring that their knowledge is far richer than ‘book-learning’ alone.”

This is the education we want for all children.  ChildLightUSA is seeking to provide just this type of education by supporting, recovering a Charlotte Mason education.  Please keep us in mind as the year closes and encourage individuals who own businesses and those who have the means to consider us as they give.  The quotes above should be coming from every child in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Korea and from around the world.  You can help us make it happen.

You can make a tax-deductible contribution by mailing it to ChildLightUSA, Box 7301, Boiling Springs, NC 28017, or by following this link:  http://www.childlightusa.org/donations.php.


Merry Christmas,

Carroll Smith

This entry was posted in: A Charlotte Mason Education


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.

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