Month: November 2013

Picture Talk: A Child’s Perspective on Bible Stories by Lori Lawing

Sadness.  Heartbreak.  Remorse.  Agony.  Regret.  Anguish.  Despair.             Pictures speak!  The children have viewed a painting called The Expulsion from the Garden by Masaccio c. 1424.   After a few minutes of silence, the children identify who the people are – they know by the title and their familiarity with the Bible.  Then one by one they describe Adam and Eve:  Lamenting. Wailing.  Grieving.  Sorrowful.  Doleful.  Saddened.  Naked.  Frightened.  Crying.  Dead.  Struck.  In trouble.  Left out.  Kicked out.  Pictures do indeed speak! And this one by Masaccio has spoken volumes to the children. What went through their minds as they considered the way Masaccio has portrayed Adam and Eve?  Did they feel the impact of having disobeyed God?  In the time of silence, did they ask Why did they do it? or How are they feeling now?  One of the beauties of picture study is the opportunity for a child to answer his own questions, not his teacher’s.  In the July, 1901, issue of The Parents Review, edited by Charlotte Mason, Miss K.R. Hammond wrote the following in an article she called “Picture …

A Visit to Lithuania by Dr. John Thorley

At the end of September I spent a week lecturing at the University of Vilnius in Lithuania. Now unless you have Lithuanian ancestors (and quite a few Americans and Canadians do) it may be that you are not sure where Lithuania is. Very roughly, from the north of England fly to Denmark and then keep going about the same distance again and stop just before you reach the Russian frontier. Lithuania is one of the small Baltic countries that freed itself from the Soviet Union in 1991. There are only around three million Lithuanians (less than the state of Connecticut), and their capital city is Vilnius, a really beautiful old city with an ancient university housed partly in the same grand baroque buildings where it started in the 16th century. I was there to lecture on Homer and Greek history, not on education, but educational topics were constantly on my mind. As ardent students of Charlotte Mason you may remember that on several occasions Charlotte stressed the infinite capacity for learning among young people if …

Art with a Daughter by Cheri Struble

When children have begun regular lessons (that is, as soon as they are six), this sort of study of pictures should not be left to chance, but they should take one artist after another, term by term, and study quietly some half-dozen reproductions of his work in the course of the term …We cannot measure the influence that one or another artist has upon the child’s sense of beauty, upon his power of seeing, as in a picture, the common sights of life; he is enriched more than we know in having really looked at even a single picture (Mason, 1955, p. 305). As I have struggled over the past year with feeling overwhelmed and worrying that I’m not “doing”enough with my eight children at home, this spring a visit with my married daughter really did encourage me that spreading a feast and letting the Holy Spirit do the work is where I need to rest. Who knows what book, painting, piece of music will be instrumental in making our children more fully alive? How …

“A thousand thoughts that burn come to us on the wings of verse.”* by Bonnie Buckingham

Did you know a great poet passed away in late August? No more poems from his pen. No more translations of epic Anglo-Saxon poetry. He was the greatest Irish poet since W.B. Yeats.  I mourned the 1995 Nobel Prize winner, Seamus Heaney. His funeral was broadcasted from Donnybrook, south of Dublin. I sat in my living room transported to St. Mary’s Parish to pay my respects along with the world and recognized the famous Bono and Downton Abbey’s  Mrs. Bates, the first one who was killed, well, you know that story. The actress who played her: Mary Doyle Kennedy attended. Irish children memorize his poems, especially Digging.  He will be read for hundreds of years, perhaps five hundred. So, I had to put more of Heaney in our readings for my high school class in September before we started Beowulf, Seamus Heaney’s translation. The first day of class each student brought a poem by Seamus Heaney. They discovered how he brought the extraordinary to the ordinary. For instance, “Blackberry Picking” reminded some of picking berries themselves: Late …

Life in the Real World After a CM Education by Tim Laurio

A little more than a year ago I graduated from college, married my best friend, and moved to a new city. The year since then has been one of transition: from the life of a high school and college student to the life of a married, working adult. It’s been a challenging year, to say the least, but rich and rewarding as well. It’s also been confusing. When I was first invited to write a blog post about life after a Charlotte Mason education, I didn’t have the slightest idea what I could say. Life has moved faster than my ability to reflect on it or make sense of it. And things are still changing. For that reason, most of this blog post will be about the transition itself. In a lot of ways, my transition into adult life has been pretty standard. I graduated from high school, went to college for four years, and got a degree. Now I’m married, I live in the city, and I have a 9-to-5 job at an office. …