Month: December 2012

Fumbling Toward Composer Study by Dr. Jennifer Spencer

I have always loved music.  Some of my earliest memories involve listening to my mother play the piano.  I started taking piano lessons at age five, I was sight reading by age ten, and at age twelve I sang soprano in the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Beethoven’s Mount of Olives with a youth choir.  Later, I taught myself to play guitar, and I was involved in All-State choirs and University Chorales.  I still love to participate in the seasonal performances of Handel’s Messiah with the Limestone College Community Choir when I can. I have always fancied myself as somewhat of a musician, and yet composer study is one area where I have always really struggled.  In this blog, I am going to try to deconstruct why I think I have been so unsuccessful with composer study in the past.  Then I will share how I accidentally stumbled upon success during the first term of this year and how that will change what I do with composer study from this point forward. First, I think I always …

Mason for All: Gillingham Charter Reviewed by HollyAnne Dobbins

  “Charlotte firmly believed that her liberal education ideas were applicable to all children regardless of class, status, or ability, and she put her ideas into practice, as she always did.” ~John Thorley, Foreword to School Education   After my wonderful trip to England last summer, I have found myself even more attached to the ideas and spirit of Charlotte Mason’s work in education. Thus, when Dr. Nola Stephens, Professor of English and Linguistics at Covenant College, announced to our Advanced Composition class this fall that we would be selecting our own topics for a semester-long research project, I immediately began investigating ways to incorporate Charlotte’s work into my own. With guidance from Dr. Beckman, I decided to research the methods and success of two charter schools: The Classical Academy and Gillingham Charter School. The Classical Academy is a large, established, and successful charter school in Colorado that utilizes some of Mason’s methods such as nature, picture, and composer studies. Gillingham, on the other hand, is located in Pennsylvania and is a small, new school …

Hope Springs Eternal by Rebekah Brown Hierholzer

In this post, Rebekah Hierholzer shares an adventure from the brand new Avenue Kindergarten, which opened in September: Perhaps you heard about our starfish. One morning there suddenly seemed to be a lot of scurrying and bustling about, accompanied by urgent cries for water. Upon investigation I found that one of the children had discovered a starfish in the nature basket and without hesitation a resuscitation attempt was underway. There was not one dissenter in the whole lot. No one brought up the fact that starfish need water to breathe or that perhaps he was already dead, and maybe for a long time at that. I wondered if the children were familiar with the necessary elements of the habitat of the starfish. But before I had even finished wondering, the cries for water soon gave way to, “Get some rocks and shells in here fast! How is he supposed to live without shells? And where’s some salt? The ocean has salt!” Clearly, at least the very basic rudiments of starfish ecosystems weren’t lacking. No, the …

The Beauty of a Charlotte Mason Education by Jeannette and Abigail Tulis

When you assign a post to be written by two book lovers, you invariably end up with a longer post than usual!  Thank you for indulging our inability to edit words that mean so much to us. Beauty can be found in the feast spread before the student in many lessons. Poetry, great literature, nature study, picture study, handicrafts, composer study — all contribute to feed the soul of a child in a Charlotte Mason education. Our God filled the world with beauty and gave us a natural appreciation for it. When we recognize it, we recognize the Creator and His goodness. My daughter Abigail, nearly 21, was educated based on Charlotte’s Mason’s ideas from her first years onward. She graduated from high school, during which time she was apprenticed to a local sculptor. After graduation she moved to New York to study classical figure sculpting at an atelier in Manhattan. It gives me great delight to watch her grow as an artist and as a person in a very competitive environment. I know so …

Adopting a Trail by Tammy Glaser

“We were all meant to be naturalists, each in his degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things.” Charlotte Mason, Volume 1, Page 61 When the school year started in September, a friend of mine and her family adopted a trail in our county. When she posted a photograph of an Io moth caterpillar (Automeris io) to Facebook, I became jealous. You would too if you saw its lime green feathery fuzz that looks like something you would find in a fish tank. In October, my daughter Pamela and I started hitting the trail with them. Once a week, we take two hours to walk a trail that is only a mile long. Along the way, we find so many things to capture our imagination. The boys showed me the best climbing trees and moss growing on the north side of trees, while their sister poked tiny puffballs and released spores. On my first visit, …