I've decided that by the end of this summer I will have read through at least three of the original six volumes on Education written by Charlotte Mason. Why only three you ask. Well, I really want to absorb and savor as much as I can from her writing, so I'm trying to be realistic. (Lets say I'll strive for all six by the end of the year. ) Why read them at all? Well, I've enjoyed our last two years attempting to implement her philosophies of education and I am really at a point in which a connection with her is necessary. If you are familiar with Charlotte Mason you know that connections are an important part of her philosophy. What better way to do this than to read her own words.
Over the last five years I have enjoyed the wonderful interpretations of her works as published by others like Karen Andreola, Catherine Levison, Penny Gardner, Elaine Cooper et al, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, and Elizabeth Foss. Please let me also mention some of the wonderful moms who bless me with their amazing blogs and sites: Wildflowers and Marbles, Shower of Roses, Sweetness and Light, Serendipity, Simply Charlotte Mason, Mater Amabilis, Ambleside Online, Handbook of Nature Study, 4Real Learning and many many others. If there is one constant and recurring theme with all these ladies, it is that they have made Charlotte Mason's philosophies work beautifully in their homes. I certainly strive to do the same with my family. I've learned something different from each one of these sources; I've been able to glean what works well for us so far. They have been a wonderful beginning and I'm sure will continue to inspire me.
I understand that every home and home school looks and feels different. This is, of course, one of the benefits of a home based educational journey; it is uniquely ours. This flexibility becomes evident and necessary when you realize that each child is different. What works well for one might not for the other. As I've mentioned before each of my children is a unique person; blessed and loved. God has entrusted me with their well being and education. Everything I know about Ms. Mason so far shows a kindred spirit attempting to do the very best by these individuals; not just in their education but in their lives.
A recent article on the Childlight USA Blog made me realize that doing things Ms. Mason's way meant you should understand the whys behind the hows to her philosophies. This connection needs to be made in order to implement correctly. I've had a hard time explaining myself when I'm asked what curriculum do I use? Why? How does that work? Why spend so much time looking for books? I have to admit I'm not as articulate as others but I do feel and see the benefits in my home. It does take effort on my part to find the right sources for my children to use as learning tools. However, once the material is available to them, and we stay on track with the basics of CM's learning philosophy, we can really see the results (this in only two years).
I still have a long road on this journey and before I go any further: I am ready for the originals, I am ready for a connection. I hope you'll join me. I'll post about some of my A-HA moments through out the seasons.
Photo: Bir Sur Campground 2005