Month: July 2012

Knowledge by Dr. John Thorley

‘Knowledge . . . is the product of the vital action of the mind on the material presented to it’ (CM, School Education, 224) Once again I am writing this blog just a day or two after returning from Greece, where each July for many years now I have had the pleasure (and it really is a pleasure when you have enthusiastic students) of teaching Homer in his original Greek to an international group of students from all over Europe. I now have the help of a Greek teacher, Antony Makrinos, who actually works at London University. This year we all read parts of Iliad book 6. From the whole Iliad this is the one book where for a while Homer pauses from the war raging on the plain of Troy, and he describes Hector’s return to the city to see his mother Hecabe, his brother Paris with his wife Helen, and his own wife Andromache and his little son Astyanax. Now all Homer is great stuff, but I didn’t fancy a whole week and …

Savage or Manly? by Art Middlekauff

A few years ago when I was preparing a presentation for a Charlotte Mason conference, I surveyed the covers of books about Charlotte Mason. Most of the covers had a picture of a woman teaching a girl – presumably a mother and a daughter. Some of the covers skipped the mother and only showed the girl. But I can only recall one book that had a male of any kind on the cover. An early and well-known book about Charlotte Mason was subtitled, “Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning.” Judging these books by their covers, one might conclude that a Charlotte Mason education is a “soft” alternative to other forms of education, designed primarily for gentle mothers to teach gentle daughters. Now I have nothing against mothers and daughters – I am married to one and the father of the other – but what does that leave for me and my boys? I was pleasantly surprised recently to find that this perception of a Charlotte Mason education is nothing new. It turns out …

Sowing Living Book Seeds by Liz Cottrill

Charlotte Mason was fond of pointing out the untold possibilities of one life. Her own life is a perfect example. Certainly it has profoundly influenced mine. When I first read about her method of education, the idea of living books immediately took root. I loved them and was delighted to begin educating my children with living literature. At the time, I thought I was sowing good seed in their lives alone. A fruitful garden my children and I took nourishment from was Children’s Preservation Library in Traverse City, Michigan, where a homeschool mom with a background in library science had a collection of 20,000+ volumes of mostly out-of-print literature. Whereas at the public library we were accustomed to spending hours combing for something worthy amidst the mediocre towers of twaddle, in this living library we were offered the cream—books from an era when children were considered capable of comprehending fine ideas. There our choice was only between better, best, and excellent. When our family relocated to a small town with a meager selection of quality …

Twaddle Dee Dee by Rebekah Brown Hierholzer

In the grocery store checkout line I recently overheard a harried mother resignedly talking about the books her daughter was reading – not very inspirational, not very informative. . .  As a matter of fact, a bit disconcerting, and then she said, seemingly mustering up a modicum of hope, “ Well, at least she’s reading!”  I don’t think she truly believed that was good enough, and I found myself wondering if there were some socially acceptable way I could interject myself into a conversation I wasn’t a part of and offer unsolicited advice.  It took me way too long to try and concoct a plan, and even if I had, I wonder if I would have had enough self-assertiveness at that particular moment to carry it out. (In case you are conjuring up images of me going around as Miss Busy Body, eavesdropping on random private conversations, imagine a jam-packed checkout line.  And did I mention she was on her cell phone?) Those of us who have thought a great deal about books and have …

Notes From the ChildLight USA Conference, June 2012 by Bonnie Buckingham

Keynote Speaker:  Makoto Fujimura “Ideas must be incarnated; ideals must be embodied.”  (Refractions, p. 82) You  need to pinch me  to wake me up from this dream.  I was in a surreal painting.  Better yet, one that had  layers of minerals and gold (nihonga).   It was an idea which started with a thank you gift. .  I gave Makoto Fujimura’s  Refractions to Dr. Carroll Smith after  a workshop he gave in Charlotte in 2010. You  have to be careful when you give a book.   It will be read.  One thing leads to another  and  the idea incarnated:  Dr. Smith asked Makoto to speak for this year’s conference. For me, it started with his writing. I use  The Five Hundred Year Question (Refractions 19: http://www.makotofujimura.com/writings/refractions-fra-angelico-and-the-five-hundred-year-question/)  in teaching Literature and  Aesthetics for high school students. Then the domino effect happened. I  was literally put  in NYC  for  IAM’s Encounters 2011: Be Generative . Then we had to see his Four Gospel paintings at MOBIA in NYC six months later.  You must see paintings in museums or …