I believe that in every age, in every society, women have faced challenges and circumstances that were far from ideal. The 21st century is no different. We are all so busy. Our hands are so full. And in the midst of that we are told that Miss Mason expected hours out of doors, over 20 subjects to be taught each week, and to top it off—a mother must make time for herself for Mother Culture. Did Charlotte Mason assume mothers had governesses and could therefore accomplish all of these tasks? Does that mean Miss Mason’s method must be changed in order to work today?Read More >>
Archives for July 2017
I have been in planning mode for a month now. If you follow me on Instagram (@cminthenaturalstate) you already now this. I have posted a lot of photos of my planning process.
School for us begins TODAY. Miss Mason tells us in Volume 1: Home Education
“…as mothers become more highly educated and efficient, they will doubtless feel the more strongly that the education of their children during the first six years of life is an undertaking hardly to be entrusted to any hands but their own. And they will take it up as their profession––that is, with the diligence, regularity, and punctuality which men bestow on their professional labours. That the mother may know what she is about, may come thoroughly furnished to her work, she should have something more than a hearsay acquaintance with the theory of education, and with those conditions of the child’s nature upon which such theory rests.” Vol. 1, pg. 2-3
These words have been on my mind for months and I knew I wanted to enter the new school year “thoroughly furnished” to my work. I wanted to treat planning the way I would if I were teaching other people’s children. I wanted to “take it up” as my profession. Many wonderful lists were created in my bullet journal. Having been “whole hog” for a year I knew my strengths and weaknesses. I wanted to go a little farther than I did last year. I had my consult, ordered books, listened to webinars & podcasts, printed maps and recitation passages, organized our binders…whew! It was a lot of work but also fun in many ways. I love to learn and grow.Read More >>
At Charlotte Mason Soirée, we are all about parents taking ownership of their education and reading for themselves the primary source for a Charlotte Mason education: Mason‘s six volumes. If you have not already begun this process, it is never too late to join Bridgett and friends over at The Dispatch, as they read through the volumes. Short weekly assignments keep you accountable without being overwhelmed! Check it out!
Second to the volumes, the Charlotte Mason Digital Collection is a fascinating supplement to Charlotte Mason’s volumes. Though physically housed at the Armitt Library and Museum in England, we have access through Redeemer College University, to digital copies of Mason’s programmes (lesson plans & exams), manuscripts, The Parent’s Review (teaching advice & encouragement), nature journals, photographs, etc. It goes on and on! The beauty of this collection is that it enables you to see Charlotte Mason’s philosophy and ideas in practice, making it an invaluable tool for today’s CM educators!
But there’s a catch…
Before giving you the simple step-by-step guide, it’s important to consider factors which limit how we interpret and others interpret Charlotte Mason’s works. Within the archives, you will find articles by Mason and her associates (Henrietta Franklin, Elsie Kitching, and H.W. Household), which we consider reputable. However, you will also find works, though present in the archives, that do not conform to Charlotte Mason’s philosophy. Many of these were published decades after Mason’s death in 1923. We need to know how to discern the differences.
In Art Middlekauff’s, Towards an Authentic Interpretation, he offers six questions we must ask when considering whether an idea holds true to Charlotte Mason’s philosophy. Though I will include them below, I highly recommend you read his post complete with case study in order that you have a solid understanding.
- Does the practice have a logical connection to the twenty principles, Mason’s “short synopsis” of her educational philosophy?
- Is the practice consistent with Mason’s writings, whether in her six educational volumes, her six poetry volumes, her Scriptural meditations, and her articles in The Parents’ Review?
- Is the practice reflected in the programmes and procedures of the PNEU and the Parents’ Review Schools?
- Is the practice consistent with the thought expressed by other writers in The Parent’s Review during Mason’s lifetime?
- Is the practice consistent with the thought expressed by Mason’s close associates, such as Henrietta Franklin, Elsie Kitching, and H.W. Household, in the years after Mason’s death?
- Is the practice consistent with the thought expressed by other advocates of Mason’s philosophy who wrote in the years after Mason’s death, whether in The Parents’ Review, or more recently, in other online and printed publications about Mason’s method?
…that a practice affirmed by questions 4-6 but not affirmed by questions 1-3 cannot lay claim to being an authentic interpretation of Mason’s method. On the other hand, a practice affirmed by questions 1-3 but not affirmed by questions 4-6 may fairly be considered an authentic Mason practice.”
Have you gone and read his entire post? If yes, then let’s dig in…
HOW TO DIG IN THE CHARLOTTE MASON ARCHIVES
Click on ‘Go to the Charlotte Mason Digital Collection’
Once here, explore the many interesting and helpful tabs providing a wealth of information and troubleshooting tips for searching the database.
When you’re ready to search, click on ‘Search the Database,‘ right next to the highlighted ‘Welcome.’
Click on the hyperlink ‘http://worldcat.org‘
It’s finally time to search!
In the search bar, be sure to preface your search with “CMDC.” Here you can see my search for “parents review.”
The results are in! You will see many choices. Select whichever you’d like. I chose ‘The Parent’s Review (February 1894?).’
Once you’ve made your selection, you will see the title and date (if they have it). Beneath that, under ‘Find a Copy Online,’ you will see page numbers and titles of articles within that selection. I have chosen the article called “Children’s Books.”
Here she is, digitized in all her glory for you to read! Wasn’t that fun?! Dig in and enjoy!
This search for ‘Parent’s Review’ yielded very broad results. To help in narrowing your search, you can include subjects such as:
- Nature Study
Or authors such as:
- Charlotte Mason
- Henrietta Franklin
- Elsie Kitching
Another useful search is “Programmes,” in which you see exactly what Mason prescribed to her P.N.E.U. schools. The programmes, to me, give life to Mason’s ideas outlined in her volumes. Fascinating!
Be aware that your searches are limited to the titles of the books/pamphlets (The Parent’s Review, L’Umile Pianta, Programmes) and articles. The search does not scan every word on the digitized pages. As a result, you might miss articles that apply to your interest if your search does not match the exact words in the title. For example, in my research on foreign languages, if I had searched only “Spanish,” I would have missed an article written by Frances Epps, called “Nursery French,” which was very useful in my understanding of teaching foreign language. Experiment and don’t limit your searches! Have fun and let us know what you dig up!
(If you’re like me and appreciate efficiency, you might have noticed you could actually skip the first few steps I’ve given, and just go straight to http://worldcat.org. Though it’s more efficient, you miss out on all the lovely details and information provided on the previous pages. Do take time to look at them—I especially enjoyed the ‘Charlotte Mason Timeline.’)