Month: November 2011

The Incarnation and Education by Jennifer C. Spencer

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am very thankful to belong to such a wonderful Charlotte Mason book study group in Boiling Springs, NC.  We began our group a little over a year ago with volume six, A Philosophy of Education, and then worked through volume one, Home Education.  We chose to begin with volume six because that was the last book Mason wrote, and so her ideas were more refined.  It is also a good overview of what is dealt with in more depth in the other volumes.  Right now we are about halfway through volume two, Parents and Children. This is my first time reading the volumes in this way—slowly, chapter by chapter, making connections, seeing the context, and taking time to discuss and digest the ideas without giving much thought to the mechanics of implementation.  Those of you who have participated in such a group know the value.  I am beginning to think that it is in this way in which the Holy Spirit is allowed to pass understanding.  As I reread …

Greetings and Salutations by Gladys Schaefer

A Letter of Gratitude Greetings and salutations, my dear friends, This Thanksgiving week I am grateful for the richness and joy that this Charlotte Mason way of life has given us.  Our family has been shaped by the wisdom words that this pioneer of education shared with us almost a hundred years ago.  Truth is timeless. In An Essay Towards A Philosophy of Education, she writes, “Education,” said Lord Haldane, some time ago, “is a matter of the spirit,”––no wiser word has been said on the subject, and yet we persist in applying education from without as a bodily activity or emollient. We begin to see light. No one knoweth the things of a man but the spirit of a man which is in him; therefore, there is no education but self-education, and as soon as a young child begins his education he does so as a student. Our business is to give him mind-stuff, and both quality and quantity are essential (p. 26). I think that her first principle, that children are born persons, is …

What Would You Attempt to Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail? by Hannah Schaefer Ezell

Today, as I write, there is a rain falling outside of my window here in Mission Viejo California. It is finally autumn here, in this world that is so strange from the one I grew up knowing in Birmingham, Alabama, and so very different from the freezing falls of Denver, Colorado where I did my first two years of college. One of the most frightening things about moving anywhere, for me, is that it might not rain. Honestly, I’d lost most of my hope that it would ever rain in sunny California, but here I stand corrected. Maybe it’s a little odd that upon moving to sunny — indeed nearly tropical — California, that I would be sad that I’d lost the rain, but rain has held a personal promise, for as long as I can remember, that God is there, that He loves me, and (especially when I am here where the rain never falls) that I am walking His path. Today it is raining, and I thought of you, my dear family of …

“I Hope My Kids Are Ordinary.” by Jennifer L. Gagnon

“I hope my kids are ordindary.”  A very good friend of mine bluntly came out with this statement when our children were still quite young.  I didn’t know what to say in response.  I had gone through the stage when all the moms were comparing birth weights, growth patterns, and sleep habits. These pointless comparisons seem vital to the ego of the fragile first time mother. Every week there was another tally of whether or not your child was hitting the right milestone at the right time. We pray our children are going to be healthy and know Joy. Did this mean we wanted our children to be ordinary? Were my kids ordinary?  As kids approach school age, new parameters are set in place; learn your shapes and how to get along with other kids by the age of five, learn to recognize and print the alphabet and numbers by the age of seven.  These stages of learning and development have been set in stone by the ‘experts’ of public education. With pride I boasted …