Month: June 2011

Some Impressions of the Conference by Dr. Jack Beckman

Let me leave the heady world of pedagogy and philosophy behind for a moment to give you some of my thoughts on this year’s conference.  And for this exercise, I would like to elicit your help.  I will recount some of the things that touched me, but I expect the Kind Reader to reciprocate with other thoughts that may have occurred as you have reflected on our time together at Gardner-Webb. First of all, I always look with hopeful expectation to our gathering and feel somewhat like Mary Everington (House of Education, 1927) when she commented on the semiannual teachers’ conferences in Ambleside: Our set looked forward to getting together after all those months of separation… Miss Williams and Miss Kitching were always careful to make the time well spent.  We [governesses] all had so many questions needing answering and thoughts in our heads needing expression.  At the end there were tears and farewells as we departed to our posts, but we also carried heads filled with more than they could contain…. I believe we …

Our Annual “Sanctification” by Laurie Bestvater

Sanctify — Encarta says: transitive verb Definition: 1.  make something holy:  to give something holy status 2.  free somebody from sin:  to perform a ritual or other act intended to free somebody from sin 3.  bless something through religious vow:  to give a religious blessing to something such as a marriage, usually through an oath or vow – sanctified the marriage 4.  officially approve something:  to give social moral, or official approval to something – rules sanctified by tradition 5. make something a route to holiness:  to make something a means of achieving holiness or a source of grace [14th century. < Old French saintifier, later sanctifier< Latin sanctus “holy” (see saint)] If we stick to definitions three through five, would it be too much to say the annual ChildLightUSA conference is a yearly sanctification?  We positively don’t give Charlotte Mason or her method holy status.  Just to be clear:  we understand that Mason had “feet of clay.”  We do not worship her (though some have joked about showing up in black crinolines some year …

The Science of Relations by Tammy Glaser

Since last December, I have been applying the science of relations to children in my church’s weekly after-school program. I tried to respect their needs as persons who had just finished a full day of worksheets, standards, quizzes, and tests and didn’t know a thing about narrating and knowing. Every Wednesday, they arrived at the church gym, ran, yelled, jumped, and played ball to release hours of pent-up energy. We followed recreation time with a snack to reenergize for our one-hour lesson. I thought and prayed long and hard about how to teach them in a way authentic to my principles as a Charlotte Mason educator while respecting them as students coming from a different paradigm. My goal was to encourage them to think and wonder and ponder what the Bible says about God. We focused on one person, Moses, in a narrow and deep approach to Bible study. My first through third grade class have gotten to know him from basket to burning bush, ten plagues to tabernacle, golden calf to bronze snakes with …

The Large Room by Sandy Rusby Bell

Three years ago I received an email from a woman named Sandra Zuidema who had just started attending our Charlotte Mason study group. “Did you and Jennifer really mean it when you said you’d love to have more people join you at the ChildLight USA conference?” she asked. Well, of course we meant it but I must admit we had some reservations about spending fifteen hours driving with a virtual stranger. We needn’t have worried. Within moments we knew we had met a kindred spirit. For two full days we never stopped talking about Charlotte Mason, our dreams for our children, and how we were trying to give them a rich and beautiful life. By the time we drove home, we knew we needed to plan a way to spend time together regularly. We decided to start a co-op. We met together every other week for a full day. Sandra taught the children art. We went hiking, did nature study, went caving (no self-respecting caver would call it spelunking!) with a geologist, visited a sugar …