Month: February 2012

Friday Nights With Ourselves by Dr. Deani Van Pelt

Charlotte Mason’s (1842-1923) educational philosophy and especially her ideas for educational practice have been increasingly discussed in the last two decades.  Conferences, blogs, websites, books, discussion groups, curricula, databases, and schools continue to be founded and inspired by Mason’s design for education.  Many adherents and enquirers frequently cite inspiration in the first and final of the volumes in her educational series while the fourth volume is less commonly featured.  Why might this be the case? In the preface to this fourth volume, Ourselves, Our Souls and Bodies, Mason (1905) states that “this volume is intended as an appeal to the young to make the most of themselves, because of the vast possibilities that are in them and of the law of God which constrains them” (p. xx).  Mason optimistically prefaces this volume with the suggestion that “if only half a dozen children in each … school got an idea of what is possible to them and what they should aim at, some elevation of character throughout the nation should be manifest in a single generation” …

A House of the Holy Spirit by Art Middlekauff

Although I grew up Episcopalian, I spent most of my adult years attending independent and non-denominational churches. My return to the Anglican church in 2007 was directly linked to my study of Charlotte Mason’s writings and my reflection on her ideas. In the fall of 2007, I discovered a small Anglican church plant in my community. The church was affiliated with the Anglican Mission in America and was under the authority of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. The first few Sundays that I visited the church, people would ask me how I had heard about the church, and why I was there. One person who asked me this question was a priest named William. William did not normally attend our church, but he had been involved in the process of planting it. When I answered his question, I made a reference to Charlotte Mason. “Have you heard of Charlotte Mason?” I asked. He smiled and stared off into space. “Have I heard of Charlotte Mason,” he mused. It turns out that many years before, William’s …

A Shifting Paradigm: The First Year at Gillingham Charter School by Nicolle Hutchinson

On June 7th of 2011, a charter was approved by the Charter Appeals Board of the Pennsylvania Department of Education. On that momentous day, Gillingham Charter School was born in Pottsville, PA, and the paramount paradigm shift in the education of Schuylkill County’s families started to shake!  On June 8th, the directors, planning board and countless volunteers got to work, walking door to door to advertise and setting up the school offices in the old convent house across the street from the old St. John the Baptist Catholic School building, which is Gillingham’s schoolhouse today.  From the very beginning, it was clear to all that this was going to be a different school. Why?  All that we did- the way we set up the offices and the way we treated those who walked in- was designed to create relationships and an atmosphere of respect, beauty, simplicity and order. Several of us brought in old wooden desks, wooden chairs, an armchair, flowers in vases, table clothes, oriental rugs, framed prints, baskets and lamps (as well as …

L’Umile Pianta: The place of “The Humble Plant” from 1897 to 1923 in nourishing and supporting Charlotte Mason educators – ChildLightUSA Conference 2012 Plenary Session

New Information coming out of the Charlotte Mason Digital Collection A Plenary Session at the 2012 ChildLightUSA Charlotte Mason Education Conference By Meghan Van Pelt and Deani Van Pelt             The early volumes of L’Umile Pianta are becoming available this year through the Charlotte Mason Digital Collection.  For the first time ever, “The Plant”, as it was fondly called, will be readily accessible to readers using digital formats worldwide.  In this session several of the persons who worked with the documents preparing them for the digital collection will share and discuss various aspects of this magazine that has served for over a century to connect graduates of Charlotte Mason’s House of Education.  Although it continues to be published to this day, the emphasis of this talk will be on contents of L’Umile Pianta in its first quarter century of publication.  The original purposes for the magazine will be considered and an overview of its various components and how they changed over time will be offered.  We will introduce the people that were important to the …