All posts filed under: History

Owning the Middle Ages: Teaching History CM Style! – Revised by Mary Gildersleeve

[this is a revision of my original post where I mistakenly stated that Charlotte Mason recommended a four-year cycle through history.  This is a later development that CM proponents have used to balance history for grades 1-12, especially in homeschools.  I apologize for any inconvenience this caused.   – MCG, May 8, 2014] In a post a little over 2 years ago, I mentioned my deep love for history, especially American History.  I mentioned how, had I learned history the way I teach my homeschooled kids, I probably would have majored in history, possibly even going on to a Masters and Doctoral work. Yes, I love it that much. My kids, on the other hand, aren’t quite as enthusiastic.  But they still understand the great benefit to learning history: Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. Edmund Burke, English Statesman/Philosopher (1729-1797) Ancient World (Greece, Rome – we would add Asia and Meso-America) Birth of Christ, later Roman to early Middle Ages Middle Ages through the Renaissance (again, adding in America and other continents) …

Nurturing a Love of History in the Home and School by Mary C. Gildersleeve

“Education is the Science of Relations”; that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of– “Those first-born affinities that fit our new existence to existing things.” from the preface of Charlotte Mason’s Towards a Philosophy of Education [emphasis added] I’ve always loved history.  I’ve always loved reading historical fiction of all different periods.  I’ve always been fascinated by the history in whatever area I am currently living.  Even when I was younger, say upper-elementary age, I would browse the 970s in the public library, pulling books that looked interesting, fun or provocative to take home and read.  I immersed myself in historical fiction and non-fiction of many eras and especially reveled in understanding the who and why of things.  I didn’t love history class.  …

Shared Culture and Citizenship by Timothy Laurio and Hannah Hoyt

The perspective of two graduated Ambleside Online students, happily engaged, both currently studying abroad in Europe. (All page numbers refer to A Philosophy of Education.) The two of us started reading through Volume 6 together this summer, the first time for us both. We didn’t get very far; life, especially the part called School, caught up with us. One thing that struck us in what we did read, though, was that amid all the talk about narration, nature study, furnishing the mind with ideas, and forming a habit of attention, Charlotte keeps bringing up the idea of citizenship. We were surprised at how visionary she was. She was not thinking just about teaching the material, or even of helping students to form relationships with their studies—though that is important—but about how to shape great men and women to make the world a better place. She wanted to educate people of character who would help to create a healthy society: people who could be leaders and servants for their fellows, people who would be knit by …

Charlotte Mason Undercover: An Attempt to Implement Mason’s Ideas in a Traditional Homeschool Co-op Setting by Jeannette Tulis

In general I have learned to steer clear of traditional homeschool co-ops as they tend to drive your homeschool schedule, and not where you want it to go! For a number of years I organized a CM style early elementary class for the “extras,” those subjects which all too often get short shrift in a busy homeschool curriculum: picture study, poetry recitations, composer study, hymn singing and nature study.  The moms who have been part of my little enrichment class have learned how these lessons are not at all as intimidating as they once feared. In teaching these lessons to other children I have ensured that my youngest son will be getting the benefit of those lessons as well. If I commit to teach others, that means I will have to teach my own! But this year I agreed to teach the early elementary history class for a local co-op. It was time for me to do my part in the group I was using to furnish my sons with high school level science classes …

The Book of Centuries Revisited Part II by Laurie Bestvater

It has been several months since I first wrote about my experiment with Mrs. Bernau’s Book of Centuries. ( https://childlightusa.wordpress.com/2010/08/15/the-book-of-centuries-revisited-by-laurie-bestvater/)  Since then I have made a template and printed several versions with slight adjustments ending up with a three ring binder filled with 67lb cardstock punched pages.  This has given me and my son something to start with as we become familiar with this “new” model. Overall, we are very pleased with our books and are finding more and more occasions to use them. The one drawback still is the weight and awkwardness of the book—in hindsight, cardstock was heavier than necessary and I have recently printed the template on good quality paper (“Resume paper” with 100% cotton content for longevity but other papers of the weight of sketch paper and suitable for double sided printing would do) and had it  hardbound to try and imitate the Book of Centuries s the P.N.E.U. ultimately sold. (Bernau, 1923) Also since that post, the Charlotte Mason Digital Collection housed at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario has …

Two Points of View: A Mother and Daughter Look Back by Dr. Donna Johnson

I wish I could devote two uninterrupted years of my life to read, reread, and absorb the six volumes that contain Charlotte Mason’s original writings. It’s embarrassing to constantly be faced with all the things others know about Charlotte Mason that I don’t. I read, see, and hear quotes from various volumes in presentations, writings, and blogposts and wonder how I could be so ignorant. Beyond the embarrassment, I also harbor regret. I claim to have home educated my daughters using Charlotte Mason’s methods. At the time, though, I was basing my teaching on second-hand sources: authors who had read the six volumes and then written how-tos. There wasn’t time to stop, read, learn, reflect, and then start up again. I know that it’s never going to happen. Even if I did have the luxury of some sort of sabbatical, my brain is either too old or too unable to absorb and apply the depth and breadth of Charlotte Mason’s ideology.  In every opportunity I have had to be an educator, I have done the …

The Book of Centuries Revisited by Laurie Bestvater

If I could go back to the early days of my cm discoveries, I think this would be the quote I would most like someone to have impressed upon me: “…there is no part of a child’s work at school which some philosophic principle does not underlie.” (Home Education, 240)  In which case, one thing is not as good as another.  It took me too long to learn that if Charlotte Mason said it or did it, there was a particular reason.  If I looked closely enough, I wouldn’t see a cobbled together hodgepodge of educational practice and ideas but a cohesive philosophy, unity and elegant practice that supported human learning in the most profound ways.  In passing seemingly unimportant phrases in her works or in reading others about her rather than Mason herself, I have often missed treasures. A case in point: I shared at the recent Charlotte Mason Education Centre’s conference my research on the Book of Centuries.  I had read many times in the programmes  that she desired children* to keep a …