Category Archives: LDS Charlotte Mason Homeschool

A collection of ideas, Charlotte Mason Methods, books, LDS resources, curriculum, and other homeschooling things that I have an opinion about.

“Only a great soul can teach another soul to be great.”

In Charlotte Mason educational circles, we talk a lot about reading great literature, looking at beautiful art, and listening to beautiful music in our search for Truth, Goodness. and Beauty. That’s because Charlotte Mason had a lot to say about it, especially about reading great literature:

“Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education.”     ~ Charlotte Mason

‘It is a sad fact the we are losing our joy in literary form. We are in such haste to be instructed by facts or titillated by theories, that we have no leisure to linger over the mere putting of a thought.”     ~ vol 2 pg 263

“To introduce children to literature is to install them in a very rich and glorious kingdom, to bring a continual holiday to their doors, to lay before them a feast exquisitely served. But they must learn to know literature by being familiar with it from the very first. A child’s first course must always be with good books, the best that we can find.

“Ideas must reach us directly from the mind of the thinker, and it is chiefly by means of books they have written that we get into touch with the best minds.”     ~ vol 3 pg 177

“The mind is capable of dealing only with kind of food; it lives, grows, and is nourished upon ideas only; mere information is to it as a meal of sawdust is to the body.”     ~ vol 6 pg 105

“There is no education but self-education.”                                                                                                                          

“We probably read Shakespeare in the first place for his stories, afterwards for his characters…. To become intimate with Shakespeare in this way is a great enrichment of mind and instruction of conscience. Then, by degrees, as we go on reading this world-teacher, lines of insight and beauty take possession of us, and unconsciously mould our judgments of men and things and of the great issues of life.”                                                                   

“Having found the book which has a message for us, let us not be guilty of the folly of saying we have read it. We might as well say we have breakfasted, as if breakfasting on one day should last us for every day! The book that helps us deserves many readings, for assimilation comes by slow degrees.”     ~ vol. 4, Ourselves

“The only vital method of education appears to be that children should read worthy books, many worthy books…We owe it to every child to put him in communication of great minds that he may get at great ideas.”     ~  vol 6 pg 12

I saw a post from the blog Glory to God for All Things called “Food for the Soul”. I appreciated his thoughts, especially this quote:

“Growing the soul is not at all an obvious thing. Plato, in his Republic, suggested that musical training be required for all children precisely for the formation of the soul. The soul is ever so much more about who we are, and the character of who we are than what we are and what we know. 

As the traditional “canon” of literature continues to come under withering attack in the American academy, more and more people are simply “ignorant” souls. It is not so much that they lack the information gained from such literature (though they do), but that they lack a depth and the ability to reflect that is only made possible through engaging with the greatest ideas, the greatest music, the deepest beauty. Only a great soul can teach another soul to become great.”                                                                                                                    ~  Fr. Stephen Freeman

This is why Charlotte Mason encouraged us to read the best literature – only a great soul can teach another soul to become great.

To read the entire article by Fr. Stephen Freeman, click here. It is excellent and some of the comments have interesting recommendations as well.

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What are we talking about in our CM homeschools when we talk about scaffolding?

I love reading about what my role as a CM teacher, mentor, and friend with my students should look like. Sometimes its’s a bit daunting, but most of the time I find it exhilarating and motivating!

There are new words that float about in CM circles occassionally, and scaffolding is one of them. I first heard it at the 2016 CMI Conference from a Dr. Jen Spencer presentation. I concluded that it is basically what Sonya Shafer at Simply Charlotte Mason has been teaching for years…that you ask children what we read/learned about in the last lesson before beginning another lesson. Then asking for another narration and discussing it. But I didn’t pursue it beyond that. Recently, though, I recognized that it means more than that if we look at it from a different angle.

Dawn, author of the ladydusk blog, has been reading and thinking about this concept for a while. She is now sharing what she is learning about this concept through a series of articles on her blog. They are excellent in their reminders of our goals and roles. Take a few moments to read them. You won’t be sorry. 🙂

http://ladydusk.blogspot.com/2017/08/scaffolding-and-homeschool-mom.html

Essential Read Charlotte Mason posts by Karen Glass

These are wonderful, encouraging, helpful articles written by Karen Glass. The first one was March 20th 2017, and the others since then. I have read them all and enjoyed them, pondered them, and even re-read portions of them. Then today I saw them linked together on an AO forum thread and realized that many of you would enjoy them too, so I am posting them here as well. I appreciate Karen Glass’ contribution to the Charlotte Mason community, and especially to my attempts at self-education. She has such depth and breadth to her knowledge! 

http://www.karenglass.net/the-quote-and-the-context/ “I really do invite you to see for yourself what principles and practices Charlotte Mason considered vital—indispensable—in order to make her philosophy work. But I’ll give you a hint—there aren’t that many of them, and none of them are as specific as “have school in the morning” or “do this for history.” 

http://www.karenglass.net/some-practices…es-part-1/ “Do you know which of the 20 principles are the “new ones,” that CM added later in her life, after many, many years of experience?”

http://www.karenglass.net/some-practices…es-part-2/ “Because education is the science of relations, all the relationships in this relational method of education matter—the relationship between you and your children, and between your children as brothers and sisters, and between each child and the lovely enticing knowledge that is there for him to find in math, science, literature, art, music, and more. Bearing in mind each and every day, as a teacher, that “Education is the science of relations” will keep us mindful of what we are doing.”

http://www.karenglass.net/some-practices…es-part-3/ “We’re looking at the practices that Charlotte Mason considered important enough to make into principles. Basically, these are the practices that define what is and what is not “a Charlotte Mason education.” If your educational efforts line up with these educational practices, you can feel confident that you are giving your students a “CM” education.”

http://www.karenglass.net/some-practices…es-part-4/ “Remember that education is the science of relations? Well, narration is a relationship-building exercise. That is its very reason for existence—to create an emotional tie between a learner and knowledge.

 

Charlotte Mason Original Series Free Study Guides

Have you ever read Charlotte Mason’s Original Series and wanted to take your comprehension levels of her philosophy and methods, have time to ponder ideas, and take action on the things you are learning? Then I have some things to help you! Read on!

CM Study Guide Collage

I have been participating in a virtual CM reading group for about 10 months now. We meet once a week via WebEx and discuss our reading assignment, which averages about 10 pages each time.  Slowly and surely {and thoroughly} we have completed volume 1 and are in the middle of volume 3. As we have studied, we’ve tried to use the questions in the back, but they are so inconveniently located for good discussion. I decided to do something about it (actually, I’ve wanted to do it for a long time) with the end result that I can now share with you:  Study Guides for every single one of the six Original Homeschooling volumes.

Each guide contains a schedule of weekly readings of 10-15 pages and provides the questions for those pages in easy to use format. The questions can be used to help guide your study and/or discussions by taking you deeper into the topic. After the questions, I included spaces to jot down your “Things to Ponder” and “Actions to Take”.  This allows you to always have the thoughts and ideas you felt were important at your fingertips – providing yourself with both accountability and recordable progress.  By using the guides, you take your study into the more effective range and begin to improve your relationships and homeschool.

Simply download, print, use your choice of binding (staples, paperclip, 3-hole punch – I prefer to spiral bind mine) and start your journey. Miss Mason’s ideas are too valuable to miss!

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Download Volume 1 – Home Education here.

Download Volume 2 – Parents and Children here.

Download Volume 3 – School Education here.

Download Volume 4 – Ourselves, Book I here. (This is the first half of the book.)

Download Volume 4 – Ourselves, Book II here. (This is the second half of the book.)

Download Volume 5 Formation of Character here.

Download Volume 6 – A Philosophy of Education here.

These guides are free for you to use as individuals and as study groups. Please link to my blog if you are re-posting, though.

The Burgess Animal Book Study Guide

Burgess Animal BookI’m excited to offer a new FREE study guide for the Burgess Animal Book! We’ve been using it for the last year or so and really enjoying it, so I decided to clean it up and share it with you!

This new guide features lessons that have a variety of options to pick and choose (or use them all) to take the topics deeper and to incorporate more learning styles. Each lesson includes:

  • single chapter readings (either you read or listen to it on audio)
  • introduces the new animal(s)
  • has both the original illustration and/or an updated color photo of the animal
  • additional readings from the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock (optional)
  • suggested Nature Study Journal entries
  • optional coloring pages (available in separate download or links)
  • and contains additional book suggestions for further enjoyment

The large color pictures and nature journaling have made a big difference in our enjoyment this year. Recording what we remember about each reading has been a fun way to track the differences in families like the rabbits and squirrels. Here are a couple of our journals of the same readings on squirrels:

BAB Journal Pages

Click here to download the free guide: Burgess Animal Book Study Guide

Click here to download the coloring pages: Burgess Animal Book Coloring Pages

Click here to get my free Burgess Bird Book guide/resources: Burgess BIrd Book Study Guide

Morning Time: In Pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty

Morning Time Basket

Have you ever just gone through the motions after a while of doing something??

Me, too.

We have been having successful Morning Time for 5 years…only we called it our Family Studies (a la SCM). We cover many subjects on a regular basis and totally love it – poetry, Shakespeare, Plutarch, music study, picture study, nature study, hymn study, scripture memory (and all the other memory work), history, bible, geography, creative arts, handicrafts, Greek/Latin words, sign language,literature, map drill, exercising daily, etc.  I have a really successful checkoff/record sheet that has all these subjects spread out over the 5 day week, complete with the time to be spent on each one so that we spend about 2 hours a morning doing them together. Only, after a while, it started to become just another check-off list. Yep, I was going through the motions! Not good!

While listening to Cindy Rollins on the Edsnapshots Morning Time Basket podcast, Cindy talked about how her family would all gather round and do these things together on the couch and she made it sound so desirable, lovely, and something to strive for, that I knew I wanted that experience for us this term. I really appreciated her comments on the fact that it isn’t the skill subjects that she wished she had spent more time on, and how the morning time subjects are what fed her family culture – and continue to do so today, even though her youngest is in school. I think that is what I was looking for – encouragement to more fully focus on the relationships and less on the “just do it because it is on the check-off list”.

Then I finally had the chance to read Pam Barnhill’s Morning Time book and after reading about her 4 R’s of Morning Time, I had a mental “A-HA!” moment. I began to consider our subjects in context of how they fit into our family rituals and relationships. And I think I’ve found a delicate balance that can be flexible depending on our days. 😉

I’ve decided that our upstairs Morning Time is going to consist of our Hymn, Prayer, Memory Work, and our selected poem. On alternating days, we will read a history, science, math, geography book. All of this can be done as we eat breakfast and tidy up. Often while I read aloud the girls will color in their beautiful adult coloring books to keep their hands busy and their minds listening. (In my opinion, this is a crucial step to a successful morning!) 

Morning Time Secrets

Then we move downstairs for the School Room Morning Time subjects around the school table – ASL, picture study, composer study, handicrafts, map drill, creative art – because all the supplies are there. As we finish the Morning Time subjects, we have a snack and go right into our skill subjects. On Thursdays we end with Poetry Tea Time, which is also new this year and is such a lovely addition to our day.

Morning Time nourishes our relationships. It motivates us to aim our ideals for finding beauty, truth, and goodness in the world around us. It provides calm in the midst of the storm, connects our family with shared culture, gives us noble ideas that stretch us in many ways, and prepares us to confront the darkness around us with light.

For more information and further reading on Morning Time, check out Pam’s website: edsnapshots.

Seeking Virtue

I recently joined the Ambleside Online forum. Those women are stretching me to think and grow as we read and participate in book studies. I love it!  

One of the ladies recently started a thread asking how she should define virtue – a valid question since the goal of a classical education is to instruct a person in virtue and wisdom by teaching them truth, goodness, and beauty. Defining virtue will actually help us develop our educational plans because as we understand WHAT we are aiming for, our choices of HOW to accomplish that goal will naturally become more focused and selective as the path we’re on becomes clearer. After reading the thoughts on the forum, I decided to do a bit of research myself.

Karen Glass, in an article posted at The Well Trained Mind, said:  

“David Hicks, in Norms and Nobility, reminds us that the primary goal of the classical educators was to instill virtue in their pupils—not merely to provide them with rigorous, intellectual training. He discusses the ancient’s “Ideal” — the hero, the man of virtue, whom they aspired to imitate at great length. This was an education of the spirit — not a practical, utilitarian education by any means, but an education intended to teach man to serve something other than self. This kind of education does not teach a man how to fulfill his desires — it teaches him what he ought to desire. Intellectual development was only a part of the process.

The goal of classical education was the attainment of virtue. David Hicks asks the question, “Can virtue be taught?” and he tells us that all of the notable ancients answered, “yes.” It sounds remarkably like Charlotte Mason’s contention that the chief end of education is the formation of character. David Hicks says, “The sublime premise of a classical education asserts that right thinking will lead to right, if not righteous, acting.”

I liked the definition my church gave virtue:

“Virtue is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards.”

I’ve decided that the dictionary is my friend lately so I looked up the definitions of virtue and moral – because I think that often I “know” the meaning of something – but then with a clearer definition I realize I am missing a bit of the bigger picture. Sort of like looking at a picture and thinking “that’s nice” and then finding out the title and all of a sudden it fills you with all sorts of emotions and ideas from the artist. wink

Dictionary.com defines VIRTUE as:

noun
1. moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.
2. conformity of one’s life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness; rectitude.
3. chastity; virginity: to lose one’s virtue.
4. a particular moral excellence. Compare cardinal virtues, natural virtue, theological virtue.
5. a good or admirable quality or property: the virtue of knowing one’s weaknesses.
6. effective force; power or potency: a charm with the virtue of removing warts.
7. virtues, an order of angels. Compare angel (def 1).

The definition of MORAL from dictionary.com:

adjective
1. of, relating to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.
2. expressing or conveying truths or counsel as to right conduct, as a speaker or a literary work.
3. founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom:
moral obligations.
4. capable of conforming to the rules of right conduct: a moral being.
5. conforming to the rules of right conduct (opposed to immoral ): a moral man.
6. virtuous in sexual matters; chaste.
7. of, relating to, or acting on the mind, feelings, will, or character: moral support.

So, virtue could be an effective force relating to, or acting on the mind, feelings, will, or character (Will) that is founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom; however a virtuous person would certainly live within the boundaries of good moral laws.

As Charlotte Mason taught, we as parents and teachers are to help our children learn the fundamental principles of right conduct through their personal relationship with God, by letting them read the books that let them experience virtuous living and the results of non-virtuous living, teaching them those good habits, by prayer, etc. A pattern takes time to follow, which is  why we will always pursue virtue as a worthy goal. Since none of us are perfect and we all make mistakes, forgiveness and grace will play a big part in this – both from us as parents and from the Lord (for us as the parents and His children). I am, I can, I ought, I will.

We’ve all read books where the main character did something he knew was right, usually at great personal cost, especially for the good of others. Sometimes it is a matter of faith, sometimes it is a matter of earthly cares, but it’s those kinds of characters that I think of when pursuing virtue, usually because I end up hoping that I could be like them when faced with those dilemmas. Probably why Charlotte Mason wanted us to let a child connect with the ideas themselves, right? wink

As I woke up this morning still thinking on this subject, I thought of the 13th Article of Faith, which states: 

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

Doesn’t this sound exactly like what a Classical Christian Education is all about?