Month: April 2011

The Testing Effect, Oops, I Mean: The Charlotte Mason Effect by Jennifer Gagnon

The Province of Ontario, Canada has some interesting elementary and high school traditions.  One is called standardized testing. Every year, every child in grades 3 and 6 write a week’s worth of standardized tests in reading, writing and math.  Every year the grade 9 students write one mandatory test and every year every grade 10 student must write and pass a literacy test in order to receive their high school diploma upon graduation. According to a recent article in The Windsor Star, “There is new and growing research that testing actually helps them learn. It’s called the ‘testing effect’.  The key is what happens when the brain retrieves information to answer a question.”1 But ‘the key’ was pronounced by Charlotte Mason, and she said it much more eloquently, stating that narration is ‘a question that the mind puts to itself’.  This is not new research, it is 100 year old research! “‘Measuring an object doesn’t change the size, shape or weight of the object,’ Purdue University psychology professor Jeffrey Karpicke wrote in the journal Science …

“Story of the Cross”: A Charlotte Mason Perspective by Lori Lawing

Palm branches. A borrowed colt. Shouts of Hosanna. Jesus enters the city and the Cross looms near. How should a child learn the “Story of the Cross”? Easter and Christmas are the Christian’s two great celebrations. The two are juxtaposed, inseparably tied. What would Christmas be without the Cross? A little child learns of these two events at the earliest of ages. But what if, like the Old Testament Israelites, the knowledge of redemption was progressively revealed? Trace the Bible’s “gradual unfolding” of the history of redemption. It is the story of a Promise-keeping God: Creation and Fall, the Promise of One who would crush the head of the serpent; Noah and the Rainbow, the Promise never to flood the world again; Abraham and Isaac, the Promised Seed [By faith Abraham “reasoned that God could even raise the dead”! (Heb 11:17)]; the Exodus and the claiming of the Promise Land; the Promise of a King to sit on David’s throne eternally; the Exile in Babylon and the Promise to return in 70 years; the Prophets …

The Book That Changed the World: The King James Bible by Sheila Carroll

May 2, 2011 marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible (KJV). In 1604, King James I of England authorized a new translation of the Bible into English. A committee of scholars was formed and the work begun. It was finished in 1611– just 85 years after the first translation of the New Testament into English by Tyndale (1526). Books on the influence of the KJV are numerous and often a bit ponderous. Two forthcoming resources, however, look promising: The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization by Vishal Mangalwadi (Thomas Nelson Publishers, May 2011) and a DVD, KJB: The Book that Changed the World. (Lions Gate, April 2011) Three Reasons to Study the KJV and Its History: 1. The publication of the KJV played a key role in the Protestant Reformation, a revolution that changed the church forever. 2. The KJV altered the way we speak, think and write–even today. The KJV’s flowing, rhythmic prose profoundly influenced the literature of the subsequent 400 …

Is Your Nature Study Living or an Educational Activity by Carroll and Andra Smith

Most of you know that there is a group of individuals working on developing a Mason curriculum.  I work with that group and find that our group discussions constantly make me grow and learn, pushing me into a richer and more thoughtful understanding of Mason’s educational principles and practices.  A recent discussion about avoiding behaviourism creeping in the door of Mason’s work challenged and changed my thinking about one aspect of Mason’s curriculum, Nature Study.  Avoiding behaviourism is difficult because we are all saturated with it. Behaviorism is rooted in matterialism (as distinguished from materialism which means a person who likes many possessions) which is a philosophy of life embedded in much Western thought.  It is the view that all of life is only matter and there is nothing truly spiritual. I once read in an encyclopedia (can’t remember which one, I think it was Compton) that Dewey switched his belief from children as spiritual beings to children as behaviourial beings.  In my opinion he essentially extinguished their spiritual natures by making this switch in …