Month: August 2011

Charlotte Mason Undercover: An Attempt to Implement Mason’s Ideas in a Traditional Homeschool Co-op Setting by Jeannette Tulis

In general I have learned to steer clear of traditional homeschool co-ops as they tend to drive your homeschool schedule, and not where you want it to go! For a number of years I organized a CM style early elementary class for the “extras,” those subjects which all too often get short shrift in a busy homeschool curriculum: picture study, poetry recitations, composer study, hymn singing and nature study.  The moms who have been part of my little enrichment class have learned how these lessons are not at all as intimidating as they once feared. In teaching these lessons to other children I have ensured that my youngest son will be getting the benefit of those lessons as well. If I commit to teach others, that means I will have to teach my own! But this year I agreed to teach the early elementary history class for a local co-op. It was time for me to do my part in the group I was using to furnish my sons with high school level science classes …

Paying Attention to Dead Books by Jack Kelly

“ The simple act of paying attention can take you a long way.” –Keanu Reaves Despite being on the study of life itself, my college biology textbooks are anything but what one might consider living books. They are devoid of any kind of narrative: a joyless compendium of facts, figures and informational graphics. Fortunately, I haven’t been required to read many textbooks in college. The few that I have read provide some interesting thoughts on trying to make subjects or methods that appear incongruous with a typical Mason background become more palatable. First of all, I think that a relational education based around Mason’s methods and using living books as the primary vehicle of instruction prepared me extremely well for studying “dead” books. While I did not find the method of presentation particularly appealing, I was able to quickly learn the material in one reading. I believe that this was due to the way a Mason education trains the student in the habit of attention and in the practice of absorbing material in a single …

Winchester Cathedral, Prévenance, and Oscar Browning: Do the places, ideas and people in the Parents’ Review still have meaning today? by Dr. Deani Van Pelt

One of the most promising delights of studying the life and work of Charlotte M. Mason (1842-1923) is the hope her nineteenth century proposals hold for twenty-first century education.   Her suggestions on why we educate, to what end we educate, and how we can therefore best educate, resonate enticingly for our consideration despite twelve decades having passed since she first shared her proposals.  Another pleasure in closely investigating Mason and her legacy is that her organizational brilliance and leadership acumen remain remarkable not only for a woman of her times but also for any person of our day as well. In the winter of 1885-86, Mason, an experienced educator, inspired by recent developments in psychology and mental physiology, gave a series of lectures on the education of children under nine years of age.  In her lectures she sought to identity and to explain a new science of education which would include “knowledge of the general principles of education, founded upon the nature and the needs of all children” (Mason, 1896, p. vi).  The talks were …

Ponderings about Living Books by Carroll Smith

Living Books Like so many other topics, since I have been studying the philosophy and pedagogy of Charlotte Mason, I have pondered the idea of living books.  It seems to me that this topic, like many of Mason’s ideas, has layers of meaning coming from her years of work and study in education. I want to share some of my ponderings about how living books are connected to some deeper meanings of what it means to live. Let’s begin by considering what the word living means, according to The Free Dictionary by Farlex at http://www.thefreedictionary.com/living: liv·ing  (lvng) adj. 1. Possessing life: famous living painters; transplanted living tissue. 2. In active function or use: a living language. 3. Of persons who are alive: events within living memory. 4. Relating to the routine conduct or maintenance of life: improved living conditions in the city. 5. Full of life, interest, or vitality: made history a living subject. 6. True to life; realistic: the living image of her mother. 7. Informal Used as an intensive: beat the living hell …