Month: October 2013

Beyond Dust Particles: An Experiment in Sunday School by Amy Fiedler

Perspective is a curious thing.  I find that mine seems to be in a constant state of change as I grow older, add to my family, explore new ideas, and continue to know the Lord in a deeper way. C. S. Lewis wrote an essay entitled “Meditation in a Toolshed” (read it here) that speaks about perspective in such a beautifully descriptive way.  He tells of an experience where he was standing in a dark toolshed observing a sunbeam, shining in through a crack in the door.  He saw the beam of light, with thousands of dust particles floating through it and nothing else.  He was looking at the beam.  But, when he physically moved and allowed the sunlight to shine on his eyes, he was able to see something completely different; he saw the green leaves of the trees outside the shed and the sun itself.  He was now looking along the beam. Lewis goes on to examine the tension in our modern world between “external accounts” and “inside experiences”: looking at versus looking …

The Danger of Safe Reading by Liz Cottrill

Convincing families to venture into the world of living books as the heart and soul of their children’s education has had some challenges, but there is one challenge I can honestly say we were not prepared for. Evidently there is a deep mistrust of books, especially if they are not included on some well-known book list. The unknown content potentially holds ideas children’s minds and hearts are not prepared for, can’t cope with. The desire is to keep life as free from unpleasantness as possible as long as possible. Let me share three little stories from my life and library as examples, true ones about true children who read about some true things in the lives of make-believe people in the pages of fictional children’s literature. When I was a child, I was caught unaware by a major life event when my parents divorced and remarried. Strange to imagine in these times, I knew no other child in my neighborhood or school to have this experience. I had this monumental life change going on and …

The Habits Pendulum by Nancy Kelly

 Habits are important in a Charlotte Mason relational education.  They are mentioned as the second item of Ms. Mason’s educational trifecta, “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life” and emphasized under principal #7 which states, “By Education is a discipline, is meant the discipline of habits formed definitely and thoughtfully, whether habits of mind or body” (Mason, 1954. p. xxix).  The recent discussions on this topic online and in meetings show just how concerned parents and teachers are about habits.  I have noticed the swinging of the pendulum to one side – that of external application. While Mason does mention choosing a bad habit to work on, I don’t see her picking a character trait or habit and turning it into a unit study by defining it, reading books to point the moral and talking about it ad nauseum.   I know this doesn’t work because that is exactly where I started 20 years ago. Yes, we wrote “Attentiveness” on the board, defined it, looked up verses on it, and read stories that highlighted …