Month: June 2012

Living Mason’s Ideas at VBS by Tammy Glaser

Vacation Bible School usually follows on the heels of ChildLightUSAʼs conference for me. The stark contrast between Masonʼs philosophy and typical VBS fare hits me every year. Like most churches, mine offers flimsy crafts, loud music, much-needed gym time, kid-appealing snacks, and time-tested themes. I like that our curricula lives with one person or section of the Bible for a whole week and makes time for the pastor to share the Gospel from sin to salvation. The programʼs delivery system is the stumbling block: a workbook that awards points and stickers to children who memorize verses, complete worksheets, and perform good deeds. I kept quiet about my concerns until God gave me a Mason study group. Last year, another CM mom and I conspired to expand woodcrafting for 5th-6th grade boys to all 3rd-6th graders. The men prepped enough lap desks for kids to sand, decorate, varnish, and tack on a cushion. The woodwork was so popular that our men followed up with birdhouses this year. A few months ago, I talked to our pastor about scrapping the workbook system in my class. My weekly after-school …

Regional Retreats and National Conferences by Lisa Cadora

“I think the (Charlotte Mason) philosophy and methods sell themselves. They just need an EVANGELIST, someone to introduce them to others.” These are the words of Jenn  Stec written to her mother, Linda Fern, who lives in Boiling Springs and helped with registration at the 2012 ChildLight USA Conference held this past week at Gardner Webb University. Jenn and her family moved to Lexington, Kentucky last July, away from family and friends and their CM community. She was at first hesitant to shine her CM light in her new surroundings, but a fellow CM-er who told her to go ahead and start a reading group because “at the end of the day, the Lord will draw whom he wills.” She did, and Jenn found that families were hungry for Charlotte Mason’s ideas and practices. This year’s conference filled me to overflowing. When Linda shared Jenn’s words with me, I was moved to act. It was the word “EVANGELIST” that got me. “Evangelist” means “one who brings the good news.” An evangelist is someone who brings a …

Reflections Upon the Completion of the First Year in a New School by Dr. Jennifer Spencer

 As many of you know, this year marked the start of a new adventure for a handful of families in Boiling Springs, NC, as Willow Tree Community School opened its doors.  In addition to having new students in a new building and using new curriculum materials, this has been the first time that I have ever been able to implement Mason’s full design for a Living Education with a group of children.  Of course, I had used narration, done nature and picture studies, and taught math conceptually.  But until this year, I never had the freedom to work within Mason’s framework for things like scheduling and assessment. Neither had I seen what happens when students are taught languages using her methods, when they are grouped according to forms instead of grade levels, when there are no grades, or when they really are “never within doors when they can rightly be without.”  Including these things was like filling in the remaining holes in a puzzle, and it has made a great deal of difference in my …