All posts filed under: Mason Co-op

What Could Be: Reflections on Beginning a CM Community by Amy Fiedler

  When I was first introduced to Charlotte Mason, just over a year ago, it didn’t take much to draw me in.  As I began to consider her philosophy, I found myself letting go of many of the ideas and methods that had previously defined me as an educator.  Despite my degree and my previous training, my beliefs about education began changing, and in turn, began changing me.  In many ways, it was (and still is) a spiritual experience.  I guess one might say I’m a convert of sorts. As often happens after a conversion experience, I had a hard time keeping quiet.  Charlotte Mason soon became a household name to my family and friends.  Not only was I devouring as much information as I could get my hands on, I was talking about it.  A lot. I recently heard someone refer to this idea with language that has stuck with me.  Lisa Cadora, in an email to CLUSA educators, expressed her desire to create a space where people could share about “how we are …

Regional Retreats and National Conferences by Lisa Cadora

“I think the (Charlotte Mason) philosophy and methods sell themselves. They just need an EVANGELIST, someone to introduce them to others.” These are the words of Jenn  Stec written to her mother, Linda Fern, who lives in Boiling Springs and helped with registration at the 2012 ChildLight USA Conference held this past week at Gardner Webb University. Jenn and her family moved to Lexington, Kentucky last July, away from family and friends and their CM community. She was at first hesitant to shine her CM light in her new surroundings, but a fellow CM-er who told her to go ahead and start a reading group because “at the end of the day, the Lord will draw whom he wills.” She did, and Jenn found that families were hungry for Charlotte Mason’s ideas and practices. This year’s conference filled me to overflowing. When Linda shared Jenn’s words with me, I was moved to act. It was the word “EVANGELIST” that got me. “Evangelist” means “one who brings the good news.” An evangelist is someone who brings a …

Beginning a Charlotte Mason Education (Or How to Begin Your Journey Into Delightful Living) by Gladys Schaefer

Inquiries Angel, a beautiful young mom, very pregnant with their second child, caught me after class to ask me about homeschooling.  I started gushing about Charlotte Mason. Their first child, a five year old, is one of the delights of our church. His joy in life and his easy ability to make friends with any age always puts a smile on my face. The Wonderful Aiden Another Sunday brought me similar inquires from Jodi, a mom of three lively preschoolers, and my own daughter, Samantha, the mother of our beautiful grandchildren and I are in a long standing discussion of the pros and cons of homeschooling vs. public schooling vs. private schooling.  We do agree on following, as closely as possible, the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason.    My Granddaughter Zoe This article is an attempt to provide a reference point for those searching for information on this educational journey and to a path that leads to a wonderful way of life. Directions “It may be that the souls of all children are waiting for …

Living Ideas in Living Books: Choosing Worthy Books for Home and School Libraries by Jeannette Tulis

This is the working title for our upcoming workshop for this summer’s ChildlightUSA Conference, June 6-9. Choosing books with living ideas is a daunting task but one that Charlotte Mason identified as a key principle. Children are to be nourished with ideas and many of these ideas come from the books read aloud to them and from which they read. It is the task of the mother and the teacher to be sure these books are readily available and a part of the child’s life. If we had a week, the four of us could easily fill it talking about all of our favorite books in every subject. Alas, we have only an hour or two at most during which time our aim is to equip you with inspiration from Charlotte as well as practical tools to help you and your students list, locate and love these literary treasures. What happens to a child when inspired by a living book? “The ideas it holds must each make that sudden, delightful impact upon their minds, must …

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 Large Room by Sandy Rusby Bell

Three years ago I received an email from a woman named Sandra Zuidema who had just started attending our Charlotte Mason study group. “Did you and Jennifer really mean it when you said you’d love to have more people join you at the ChildLight USA conference?” she asked. Well, of course we meant it but I must admit we had some reservations about spending fifteen hours driving with a virtual stranger. We needn’t have worried. Within moments we knew we had met a kindred spirit. For two full days we never stopped talking about Charlotte Mason, our dreams for our children, and how we were trying to give them a rich and beautiful life. By the time we drove home, we knew we needed to plan a way to spend time together regularly. We decided to start a co-op. We met together every other week for a full day. Sandra taught the children art. We went hiking, did nature study, went caving (no self-respecting caver would call it spelunking!) with a geologist, visited a sugar …

A Mid-Year Reflection in Middle School Field Biology and Natural History by Beth Pinckney

Half of the school year has passed.   We’ve had our Christmas break and, barring a snow storm this week, we’ll get back to our co-op classes.  I am in the middle of a year of teaching field biology and natural history to a group of 6th-8th graders.  In an earlier post written back in July, I talked about preparing for this year of teaching biology.   Prompted by my blog post deadline this month, I want to look back at the last few months of learning with this group of students and examine our progress.  Am I teaching science as Miss Mason might have done it?  Are my students developing relationships with the objects of their study and do they care more widely and deeply now for the natural world around them than they did at the beginning of our study together? Our journey, thus far, has been delightful and challenging.  We began the year studying the trees and woodland habitat around us.  We went for walks, gathered leaves and did bark rubbings.  We learned to …