All posts tagged: nurturing the mind with great thoughts

An Overlapping, Interlocking Experience by LeAnn Burkholder

Recently, after three particularly dark and difficult years, the writings of Charlotte Mason took on a whole new level of meaning and depth in my personal life. I had just walked through great loss and was fighting hard against depression. I needed to feed my soul, to be inspired by the heroic, and the beautiful and to rediscover hope through the lives of others. I began reading to myself, reading for the sheer pleasure of reading, and reading to nurture my heart and soul. I was also drawn outdoors and I began taking more outdoor walks with my kids and soaking in the sun, feeling the wind in my hair, observing a world alive with new life and exquisite beauty. Many times this beauty was a stark contrast to the dark emotions that I was battling. This is not to say that I went on a mothering vacation, although that would have been lovely. There were still normal daily mommy duties, and homeschooling responsibilities didn’t evaporate, however all extra outside activities and responsibilities were cut …

The Danger of Safe Reading by Liz Cottrill

Convincing families to venture into the world of living books as the heart and soul of their children’s education has had some challenges, but there is one challenge I can honestly say we were not prepared for. Evidently there is a deep mistrust of books, especially if they are not included on some well-known book list. The unknown content potentially holds ideas children’s minds and hearts are not prepared for, can’t cope with. The desire is to keep life as free from unpleasantness as possible as long as possible. Let me share three little stories from my life and library as examples, true ones about true children who read about some true things in the lives of make-believe people in the pages of fictional children’s literature. When I was a child, I was caught unaware by a major life event when my parents divorced and remarried. Strange to imagine in these times, I knew no other child in my neighborhood or school to have this experience. I had this monumental life change going on and …

Bushels of Information by Dr. Donna Johnson

In the weeks since attending the 2013 Living Education Retreat in Minnesota, I have returned to my preparations for the fall academic semester at Dakota Wesleyan University.  While doing so I’ve reflected on the pedagogy of Charlotte Mason and the conclusions being reached by her 21st century devotees as they delve deeply into the resources available to them.  More than one retreat attendee thanked those who have done the research needed to thoroughly understand Mason’s ideas and then pass on what they have learned. Charlotte Mason’s methods have withstood the test of time.  This is not news to those who attended the retreat or regularly read this blog. I mention it only because I frequently find evidence of the durability and longevity of Mason’s philosophy in my current teaching setting.  For example, one of the slides in my presentation at the LER about CM and struggling learners (based on information from a 1997 edited book about students with disabilities) includes some decidedly Mason-ish ideas and even wording: While not included in my presentation, other information …

Narration According to G. F. Husband by Carroll Smith

Over the next several weeks I want to write blogs on narration.  Narration is supposedly that simple little pedagogical tool that Mason used and that she called the act of knowing. Some educators wonder what all the fuss is about.  Narration simply cannot do what she claimed. I hope to convince otherwise through these blogs. I intend to start this series by looking into the past a bit in hopes that this will give us some grounding into why narration is important.  There are many reasons and this blog will show a few of those reasons.  To look back I begin with an article written by G. F. Husband in the Parents Review in 1924 soon after the death of Mason (1923). In this article Husband (1924) begins his discussion of narration by bringing the reader’s attention to a comment made by one of “His Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools” who said, “The art of questioning is the whole art of teaching and if you persist with Narration methods your teachers will lose the ability to question.  You must …

Self Education in the Art Museum By Amber Benton

I was a freshman in college the first time I ever set foot in an art museum.  My prior art knowledge was limited to posters – Van Gogh’s Starry Night and a couple of his self portraits, Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory (though I did not know the name of the piece), and da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.  If I listed more than that it would be an exaggeration. My husband, David, will never let me forget that first evening in Charlotte’s Mint Museum of Art.  He loves to tell about a guard coming up to us and asking me not to touch the paintings – my ignorance really did abound!  That evening I wandered room and hall until my mind was saturated. At the end of my freshman year I left the college of engineering at UNCC and through a labyrinth of events and choices eventually settled into an Art Education major (which through an even more complex labyrinth I have yet to finish).  Since that very first evening I have sought out the art …

“The Higher the Fewer” by Laurie Bestvater

“People are naturally divided into those who read and think and those who do not read or think…” CM Vol.6 p.31 The day I graduated high school from a small south eastern Ontario village, my drama teacher took me aside and very seriously told me, “Remember, the higher the fewer.”  Puzzled though I was, he would give no further explanation. He was a little “weird” as teachers go (he once won a school-wide bet with another teacher over who could resist washing his person for the longest period of time…I’ll leave you to extrapolate!) so I wasn’t terribly worried not to understand his advice but I do have to admit that it has stayed with me all these years. Beginning with the university graduation address which assured the class of ____ that we were in the top 1% of the world intellectually, over time this saying began to take on a personal meaning somewhat akin to: the higher your education, the fewer people you will find as peers. While I can not condone the elitism …