Month: April 2012

Authority in Perspective by Tara Schorr

I have been giving considerable thought lately to the administration of authority.  I have been grieved by some of the things I have seen done in it’s name, and have been pondering questions and Scriptures.  What is a healthy expression of authority?  How is it that Scriptures are employed to back up practices or systems that are clearly abusive?  Where is the balance between boundaries and anarchy?  How can Truth be proclaimed to set captives free from both slavery and rebellion? As it so often happens, while I considered these things I realized how much it correlated with Charlotte Mason and the way she described the treatment and training of children.  Mason hit the nail on the head when, discussing a mother who mishandled her role, she wrote, “She confounded the two principles of authority and autocracy” (Vol 3 pages 13-14).  Certainly autocracy, having absolute rule, domineering and controlling another human being created in the image of God, is wrong.  Yet, to various degrees, that is often the presumed understanding of how authority is implemented.  …

Some Thoughts on The Sabbath of Learning by Carroll Smith

I think that many of us who study the works of Charlotte Mason understand that her founding principle of education was the personhood of children. She says in the preface to the Home Education Series, “The central thought, or rather body of thought, upon which I found, is the somewhat obvious fact that the child is a person with all the possibilities and powers included in personality.”  The little phrase “ body of thought” aptly conveys that  there is much to say about personhood.  Understanding who we are as image bearers of God is truly a “body of thought” and cannot be easily defined or stated in a few words. However, one idea about personhood that I wish to introduce to you and explore briefly in this blog is the “Sabbath of Learning,” a term I’ll use to describe the need of children, as image bearers, to have time to process their learning. The “Sabbath of Learning” idea came together as I was reading the work of two writers:  the Jewish Rabbi, Abraham Heschel and …

The Literary Form: Friend or Foe? by Carroll Smith

I have been interested in understanding why Mason was so insistent on the story or the narrative. The narrative was one of the bedrocks of her educational paradigm but in most of today’s education, the narrative is not central and in some spheres is almost nonexistent.   Perhaps many educators today would think of the story as fluff or nonessential and certainly not rigorous enough.  I want to posit here a few ideas that might help us reconsider the importance and power of the narrative as essential to education. Mason (1989/1925) frequently refers to the story, the narrative, the literary form. It is a non-negotiable in her educational paradigm. She says the mind, “has a natural preference for literary form; given a more or less literary presentation, the curiosity of the mind is enormous and embraces a vast variety of subjects” (p. 15) and that, “Like the body, again, the mind rejects insipid, dry, and unsavoury food, that is to say, its pabulum should be presented in a literary form” (p. 20).  “Everyone likes knowledge …