Month: March 2013

Observation Number 3 by Carroll and Anna Smith

My daughter, Anna and I batted around ideas about observation and why it is one of the foundational principles of a Mason education.  This blog is the result of that conversation. The past couple of blogs I have written have focused on the practice of observation as key to a Mason paradigm.  The first engaged with the organic nature of observing on a farm.  The second considered a few ideas regarding nature study and observation in an urban setting.  This blog is part 1 of 2 that continues to explore observation as a key component of a Mason educational paradigm.  In today’s writing, I explore the nature of ‘observation‘ as defined by Mason.  In Part 2, I build on that exploration to consider the implications of that understanding of ‘observation’ in an educational paradigm.  Unusual though it may seem, today’s blog does not mention the classroom at all – and barely mentions children.  Today’s blog lays the philosophical foundation upon which in Part 2 we consider the concrete building blocks of Mason’s educational paradigm. Let …

Nature Study in the City by Carroll Smith

The focus of my last blog began with the importance of observation in the Mason educational paradigm.  However, it quickly evolved into the natural, organic way that observation can occur while growing up on a farm.  Eventually, I would like to get back to the topic of the power of observation and why it is so crucial in the Mason paradigm, but first I think it would be helpful to respond to some of the comments that were posted by readers of my previous post. First, let me say how much I appreciate those comments and how helpful it is to all of us that people are willing to post them.  I think it is particularly helpful when individuals mention concerns or problems they are having that we can all respond to.  It can sometimes feel easier to refrain from commenting out of fear that other people will think that we are not “Mason” enough, but that shuts down the conversation.  I do not have all the answers.  I don’t even know all the questions.  …

My First Year at Willow Tree by Wendy Wilson

Trying to find the words that I want to say about the experiences of my first year at Willow Tree Community School is very hard because it requires me to express my emotions about my family, my students, and to reflect upon my past teaching experiences. I must start at the beginning. Four years ago, I was introduced to Charlotte Mason and ChildlightUSA through Dr. Jennifer Spencer. She was my mentor and co-worker during this time.  As I began to read Charlotte Mason’s books and to listen to speakers at the ChildlightUSA Charlotte Mason Conferences, I knew that I was not instructing my students in a way that was either best for them or respectful of their personhood.  The more I read Mason, the more I knew I had to make a change. There were several factors that were causing increased anxiety for me.  My husband and I had been praying for a school for our children.  We wanted them to be in a place where they were accepted as persons and not for their …

What Could Be: Reflections on Beginning a CM Community by Amy Fiedler

  When I was first introduced to Charlotte Mason, just over a year ago, it didn’t take much to draw me in.  As I began to consider her philosophy, I found myself letting go of many of the ideas and methods that had previously defined me as an educator.  Despite my degree and my previous training, my beliefs about education began changing, and in turn, began changing me.  In many ways, it was (and still is) a spiritual experience.  I guess one might say I’m a convert of sorts. As often happens after a conversion experience, I had a hard time keeping quiet.  Charlotte Mason soon became a household name to my family and friends.  Not only was I devouring as much information as I could get my hands on, I was talking about it.  A lot. I recently heard someone refer to this idea with language that has stuck with me.  Lisa Cadora, in an email to CLUSA educators, expressed her desire to create a space where people could share about “how we are …