All posts tagged: Beauty

Listening with the Eyes by Rebekah Brown Hierholzer

My daughter, 3 years old, is crazy about favorites.  I mean crazy in the sense that she walks around endlessly asking me what my favorites are about Everything.  All the time. “Yes or No.  Is that your favorite?  Yes or No?”  she asks, and if an answer isn’t forthcoming in a nanosecond, she repeats herself.  “Yes or No, I said, Mommy.  Is that your favorite?  Yes or No?”  And then, because I understand the definition of favorite as preferring one over another, I think about it.  I ponder my choice, thinking about which one actually is my favorite, because really, isn’t she just trying to learn more about me?  Doesn’t she want to know what I really think?  Isn’t she trying to relate to me and know me better and don’t I want to foster that kind of thing? So, I think about it.  I tell her that yes, I think G just might be my favorite letter.  After all, her name starts with G and so does God and about a million other words that …

A Tale of Two Galleries by Dr. Jennifer Spencer

A lady walks in to the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. with a group of high school students. She is confident because, although she knows her kids are itching to get to something super-exciting like the Air and Space Museum, she has spent time preparing. According to her National Gallery Companion Guide, this museum has original artwork by every single artist that these students have studied in the last three years, and this teacher has a map that will lead directly to them. In fact, her book is filled with sticky notes marking the pages where she can find the history of many of the works. The group enters the West Wing. There should be some paintings by da Vinci here. Sure enough, there they are! The students are wowed. The teacher notices that they are not the same paintings in the guide, but she thinks that they probably couldn’t fit pictures and explanations of all of the works in the book. As the group continues to look around, the teacher becomes confused by the map. She …

Grandparents as a “Living National Treasure” by Linda Fern

Japan has a popular term for persons who are certified as “preservers of important intangible cultural properties.” They are called Living National Treasures.  The term isn’t stated in the law, but it has become familiar to all.  The “intangible cultural properties” in Japan include mastery of artistic skills in art, drama, music, and crafts. It is a bold proposal, but couldn’t grandparents aspire to the title?  Years of experience, growth in all areas of life, developing and honing mastery in one or more specific areas that enable us to share with our grandchildren must surely qualify as holding “intangible cultural properties.” Perhaps your childhood mimicked that of our children—camping trips, hiking, learning to fish and hunt, visiting historical sites, museums, engaging in nature—wildflowers, birds, trees, animals—and because of that a Charlotte Mason education is an extension of ‘normal’ for you.  Perhaps you didn’t experience most or any of the above, and that’s what you want—a relational environment rich in knowledge and experience—and you want your parents (the grandparents) to affirm and enlarge that environment and atmosphere. …

Golden Nuggets and the Grand Conversation by Dr. Jennifer Spencer

This blog was originally posted by Dr. Spencer for the Willow Tree Community School. I have written before about how all of the pictures that we post here can be a bit misleading. Of course, we do stay busy with activities that keep our hands and bodies working, and we do spend a great deal of time outside compared with other schools. A picture can capture all of those things very well. What it cannot capture is the inner-working of the mind. Anyone who has looked at our book list knows that we read. Copiously. Widely. And the books we read are challenging. We cover a lot of ground in a term, but the word “cover” can also be misleading. That word could imply that there is simply a list of “stuff” that the students have to read and do–answer a question here, write a paragraph there–and that is the end of it until we finish (and forget?) that list of “stuff” and start the next one.  This is what many people think of when they hear the …

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 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 …

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 …