All posts filed under: Handcrafts

Creating a Mason Atmosphere on a Dime by Carroll Smith

Education as an atmosphere is one of Mason’s fundamental pillars for education.  What are the components of education as an atmosphere?  There are two broad categories in my mind:  Spiritual and Physical.  What do I mean? Mason used the word spiritual to describe all that is not corporeal or physical.  Her definition involved concepts of the mind.  In fact she says, “By spiritual I mean that which is not corporeal; and which, for convenience’ sake, we call by various names–the life of thought, the life of feeling, the life of the soul” (Mason, 1953, p. 168).  What might be some examples of spiritual atmosphere in the classroom:  1) relationships, 2) respect, 3) attitudes, 4) dispositions, 5) creative ideas, and many others?  These are not elements you can put your hands on.  These are concepts of the mind and can only be conveyed by persons.  In considering these spiritual components of the classroom the question is:  Does the classroom have an atmosphere of working together, supporting one another, developing habits, developing relationships and others?  These are …

A Handy Boys Lego Club: A Somewhat Surreptitious Attempt at Handicrafts With Boys by Jeannette Tulis

Ok, I admit it. Charlotte may not have approved. After all she encouraged us to inspire with admiration, hope and love. I do not see subterfuge and baiting on that list. But one does what one must do. For many years I have led or helped to lead workshops on handicrafts at the ChildlightUSA Conference (now known as the Charlotte Mason Institute Conference). And now, another confession is in order. I was quite faithful to include handicrafts in my daughter’s lessons. But my track record was less than stellar with my three younger children, all boys. My daughter took to handicrafts like a duck to water. To encourage her I even started a little club of girls near her age. We called it Hearts and Hands and combined teaching a serious handicraft with a Bible study on Christian character. It was a lovely group which met for several years and my daughter and many of her friends learned how to embroider, knit, crochet, quilt, hand sew—all skills which have stood her in good stead in …

What I Learned This Summer by Amy Tuttle

This summer I had the enormous pleasure and privilege to find myself stateside in attendance of several Charlotte Mason retreats, with some shopping and visits on the side. How kind and longsuffering my husband is to have taken care of things back home in Peru so I could have a couple of weeks of ‘mommy break’ as he calls it! Among the interesting gems I have laid hold of this summer are: the importance of the manual hand work of Sloyd in early education; the place and importance of Mathematics, as well as it’s proper instruction; and how to take Science out of the box even in the upper years, getting the student to ask the questions. And perhaps outstanding amongst the others, the idea of being fully present and living fully wherever one is, also struck home once again. Throughout my travels while ingesting all of these ideas about education, I was also taking in How Should We Then Live by Francis Schaeffer via audiobook. It was a perfect compliment to everything I was …

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 …

Living Mason’s Ideas at VBS by Tammy Glaser

Vacation Bible School usually follows on the heels of ChildLightUSAʼs conference for me. The stark contrast between Masonʼs philosophy and typical VBS fare hits me every year. Like most churches, mine offers flimsy crafts, loud music, much-needed gym time, kid-appealing snacks, and time-tested themes. I like that our curricula lives with one person or section of the Bible for a whole week and makes time for the pastor to share the Gospel from sin to salvation. The programʼs delivery system is the stumbling block: a workbook that awards points and stickers to children who memorize verses, complete worksheets, and perform good deeds. I kept quiet about my concerns until God gave me a Mason study group. Last year, another CM mom and I conspired to expand woodcrafting for 5th-6th grade boys to all 3rd-6th graders. The men prepped enough lap desks for kids to sand, decorate, varnish, and tack on a cushion. The woodwork was so popular that our men followed up with birdhouses this year. A few months ago, I talked to our pastor about scrapping the workbook system in my class. My weekly after-school …

In Gratitude by Rebekah Brown Hierholzer

I miss teaching.  I miss reading books together and hearing 16 different ideas about one passage.  I miss washing 32 muddy feet and socks after recess because “we just had to see what it was like to make bricks without straw.”  I miss the conversations about how to forgive someone after she has called you “stupid.  S – T – O – O – P – I – D!”   I miss wiping tears and praying together for the strength to forgive and to learn how to start over and be a friend again. I miss teaching.  But I have the best reason to miss it.  Her name is Genevieve Rose and she will be 15 months on Thursday.  She has an older sister and three older brothers but they are 27, 25, 23 and 20 and though they adore her they are on their own now.  As a child I sometimes dreamed it would be heaven to grow up without siblings, but truly it was a rare thought and most of the time I loved …