Month: August 2014

For the Children’s Sake-Please Stand Aside! by Shannon Whiteside

Implementing Charlotte Mason’s principles into my homeschool in the past several years has been a journey of releasing educational ideas that I once held dear. As I learn more through conferences, books and blogs, I fine-tune my practices to be more in line with Mason’s philosophy and methods. The most recent principle that I have been applying more intentionally is the art of standing aside and letting my children take responsibility for their education. This has been hard for me because I was a classroom teacher for seven years and my job was to be the talking head. I remember the first time I read the following quote, “Whereby teachers shall teach less and scholars shall learn more” (Vol. 6., p. 8). That did not make sense to my educational paradigm. How am I supposed to leave the analyzing, summarizing and thinking to the children? What if they miss something? What if they don’t make the connections? Mason said that “wise and purposeful letting alone is the best part of education” (Vol. 3, p.128). This …

Meeting Mason: Baptism into Relational Education (Part 3 finale) by Kara M. Stalter

Two words spring to my mind as I recall my first experience at the Charlotte Mason Conference this past June: nourishing and harmonious. Having finished my second year of teaching and started my third graduate class, my physical body boasted exhaustion throughout the conference week while, on the contrary, my mind was revived with life-giving words from the presenters—snippets from Mason’s works and other like-minded texts, such as our conference poem by Emily Dickinson: He ate and drank the precious words, His spirit grew robust; He knew no more that he was poor, Nor that his frame was dust. He danced along the dingy days, And this bequest of wings Was but a book. What liberty A loosened spirit brings! The words from this particular poem continue to penetrate my heart as I am reminded that I imbibed, chewed, and digested living ideas. I was brought closer to LIFE, surrounded by persons united in purpose. What an incredible growing experience! The first year following my initial baptism in 2012—or Cathartic Leap as I like to …

My First Year at Gillingham Charter School by Olivia Groody

Life is a strange, unpredictable thing. It took me longer to figure this out than it should have. Even so, by the time I was seven years old, I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up: I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to have a classroom with monthly bulletin boards and stacks of textbooks. I wanted to grade papers with glitter stickers, star stickers, any stickers, really. I thought the idea of standing before a group of students and giving them a list of nouns versus verbs sounded perfect. Had people come to me and told me I would one day be teaching in a classroom where these things were all but nonexistent, I would have told them right away that their idea was just crazy. With life’s twists and turns, though, I eventually found that this wasn’t a crazy idea at all. From 2008-2012, I spent my time learning how to teach. I learned that children respond well to motivational rewards, that they thrive with hands-on learning, and that …

Adventures with Birds by Ursula W. Brighouse (Parent and ex P.U.S.)

I can’t remember when my adventures with birds began, but they seem to have been going on all my life.  Everything a little out of the ordinary was an adventure.  I have a vivid recollection of my first baby cuckoo, in a hedgesparrow’s nest . . .the hideous creature, rearing up and puffing itself out to an enormous size, opening that vast red mouth until it looked big enough to swallow me!  It was revolting and fascinating.  Then there was the thrush that built a most decorative nest of flowers out of the rockery, the pied wagtail that built between two seed-boxes in the greenhouse, and the hedgesparrow that lined its nest quite unmistakably with my aunt’s red hair. To this period of early childhood, too, belongs the memory of the blackbird’s evening song, which I shall carry in my head and heart for always.  I associate it with the drowsy feeling that comes just before sleep, the rustle of the heavy curtains as the breeze sucked them to the open window and let them …