A Grand Vision of Building Communities
We at CM Soirée have a vision of creating a nationwide and international network of support for parents through providing continuing education resources and through providing a structure and framework for Charlotte Mason communities called CM Soirée Societies.
While our goal is not to recreate Mason’s P.N.E.U., we are inspired by this organization in so many ways. Creating community and continuing our education was important to Charlotte Mason. It was a part of her vision. She didn’t just publish the volumes and say, “Best of luck!” No! She had a complete support system that provided encouragement and resources for those parents.
We think we have no better model or example than Charlotte Mason herself as we endeavor to build communities through studying her volumes together in local Reading Groups and then after the Reading groups are solidly established, expanding those relationships through Natural History Clubs and Learning Communities.
We have the ability to influence an entire generation by investing in the families in our communities. The network of support that we are seeking to create would serve in setting up guidelines and structure that fall under the CM Soirée “umbrella” while giving local Society leaders autonomy to serve the specific needs of their communities while following the CM Soirée guidelines in place for Societies.
Here is what we envision this structure to look like:
-Continuing Education Courses and other resources for parents and teachers
-Training for parents interested in facilitating local CM study groups
–Charlotte Mason Soirée Retreat
–Online Reading Groups that study Mason’s Volumes together
-Charlotte Mason in a Year, A Personal Study with gentle accountability through exams
CM Soirée State Society
-Connect Regional Societies within state as well as connect with neighboring states
-Host Statewide Charlotte Mason retreats and events
-Help facilitate Regional retreats
CM Soirée Regional Society
-Host local workshops and retreats
-Arrange Mother Culture Gatherings for multiple local Societies and other general CM groups
-Charlotte Mason Information/Interest Meetings
CM Soirée Local Society
-Reading Group (as it grows, it will multiply out new Societies)
-Natural History Club (optional for those active in RG)
-Learning Community (optional for those active in RG)
-Other local community opportunities
-Local workshops and teacher training
-Mother Culture Gatherings
–Charlotte Mason Information/Interest Meetings
A Grand Responsibility
CM Soirée is inclusive of people from ALL backgrounds and faiths, and we HIGHLY encourage local CM Soirée Societies to invite and welcome people from all backgrounds and faiths.
Soirée happily offers free online courses, such as A Proper Introduction and the Society Leadership Training Course, to everyone no matter their faith tradition.
Leaders of CM Soirée Societies have a special responsibility because they will be representing the name, vision, and purpose of CM Soirée as well as Charlotte Mason. In order to effectively represent CM Soirée and its vision, Soirée Society Leaders must embrace Mason’s historical and confessional view of the Holy Spirit.
In 1888, Mason wrote:
“With deep reverence be it said that the Holy Spirit Himself, the Lord and Giver of Life, when he undertakes the education of a human being, operates according to law, works out those very principles of education which are proposed to parents, in fact, plays the part of parent to the willing and obedient soul.”
By quoting the phrase “the Lord and Giver of Life” from the Nicene Creed, Mason is tying her understanding of the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit to the doctrine of God in Three Persons as confessed by the historical church, east and west. In continuance of this tradition, we require that all Soirée Society Leaders sign a statement within the Leader Application that they, too, confess the Nicene Creed as a trustworthy expression of the self-revelation of the Triune God.
*NOTE ABOUT SOCIETY MEMBERS*
- This view is NOT a requirement for members of Societies. We encourage Society Leaders to welcome people from ALL backgrounds and faiths to join their Society!
- It is NOT a requirement that members of Societies be fully implementing a CM education!
While it IS a requirement that Society Leaders NOT mix educational philosophies in their homeschools, this it is not a requirement for their Society members.
Everyone’s journey in learning about and implementing the CM philosophy looks different!
Societies should welcome anyone interested in and committed to reading Mason’s volumes no matter how much of it they currently implement at home.
A Few Grand Goals
The first order of business for a CM Soirée Society will be to set up a monthly Reading Group that studies sequentially through CM’s Volumes. Establishing a Reading Group is foundational for Societies and offers a way to build community in a unique way. You will find that is a very rich time to learn more about her philosophy and methodology, to develop deep and meaningful friendships with others who are on the CM journey, and to have some gentle accountability by committing to short reading assignments and monthly meetings.
Local Societies will remain small in numbers so as to best facilitate frequent and healthful multiplication. While there is no hard and fast rule, the “magic number” is usually 7-10 people. When more want to join, a new Society multiplies out so that growth is continually encouraged. A new Society can be multiplied out with as few as 3 people! It is a time of celebration when a Society multiplies! Regional Societies may then be formed and can get together in large groups for times of fellowship, support, and camaraderie. But local Societies are kept small for maximum growth both in width and depth.
Societies will agree that their Reading Group will use only resources that have the narrow focus explained best by the statement, “We at CMS help parents in their homeschooling journey by equipping them with resources relevant and authentic to the Charlotte Mason philosophy”.
We have created two types of beautifully designed study guides that Reading Groups may want to purchase as they begin their studies. These study guides come already printed and bound, and they are available to Society Leaders and their group members. For more information about the study guides, please click here.
One mom has said,
Having a study guide helped me find focal points and to glean important information. It also provided reference points to help me find information again after reading it.
Natural History Club
After the Reading Group is solidly established and the Society’s “mom community” is thriving, a Society Leader may consider starting a Natural History Club. Active participation of attending 2 months out of 3 months in the local Reading Group will be a requirement for Society members to have the opportunity to participate in the Society’s Natural History Club. We will have more exciting information and training resources about NHC coming soon!
Another option a Society Leader may consider after the Reading Group has been established for a good length of time (this is taken on a case by case basis) is for families to gather and enjoy learning a couple of subjects alongside each other. Active participation of attending 2 months out of 3 months in the local Reading Group will be a requirement for members to have the opportunity to participate in the Society’s Learning Communities.
This year there are a few CM Soirée Societies in different states that are beta testing CM Soirée Learning Communities. These Learning Communities are distinctly different from general co-ops or CM “enrichment days” in that they follow certain guidelines that are designed to prevent fragmentation of the learning that should be enjoyed at home during morning lessons. The projected plan is for Learning Communities to follow the suggestions that are discussed in Episode 68 of the ADE podcast.
Some of the subjects offered may include Shakespeare, handicraft, singing, drawing, sloyd, drill, Plutarch, or modern foreign language, but not all of those at one time! Because Learning Communities are not designed to serve as a substitute for what should happen at home, only a couple or few of the subjects will be offered at a time. CM Soirée Learning Communities will not offer picture study, history, geography, or composer study (others to be determined).
Ongoing Support and Education
We are committed to offering support and guidance to you as a CM Soirée Society Leader.
You will have the opportunity to:
- Join the CM Soirée Society Leaders Facebook support group;
- Receive personal discounts on select future materials and resources offered;
- Set up private consultations with the CM Soirée Hostess Team for support and troubleshooting;
- Receive discounts on registration to the CM Soirée Retreat and other Soirée events;
- Have access to personalized graphics for your local and future regional and state Societies and graphics/fliers for events hosted by your Society;
- Possibility be invited to join in on some of the “behind the scenes” work of CMS online;
- Attend occasional Zoom meetings for support and community building among Society Leaders from different regions;
- Be connected with a Society Sister who will partner with you in prayer, be a springboard for ideas, and be an outside set of eyes to give you a fresh perspective when things may be challenging.
Being in a position of influence is a great responsibility and one not to be taken lightly. It is necessary for leaders to continue their own education, and Society Leaders will have required, ongoing monthly CEs (continuing education) that should take no more than about one hour of time to complete.
- Read one article included in The Dispatch;
- Listen to one episode from the A Delectable Education podcast;
- Submit the Monthly Message with written narrations from The Dispatch article and the podcast episode you chose OR submit a written narration from the alternative resources that will be occasionally assigned.
If you desire to apply for a position as a CM Soirée Society Leader, the following is required:
- complete the prerequisite course A Proper Introduction;
- apply to enroll in the next available CM Soirée Society Leadership Training;
- upon completion of the training course submit the Society Leader Application which includes the Leader Covenant;
- agree to complete required monthly CEs (continuing education) and submit the Monthly Message;
- adhere to the guidelines set up for CM Soirée Society Reading Groups, NHCs, and LCs.
If you have a currently established general Charlotte Mason group and wish to switch over to a Society, let us know. But be aware that we do require strict adherence to the guidelines for Reading Groups, Natural History Clubs, and Learning Communities that have been prayerfully set forth.
So in a nutshell, what is required to be a Society?
The Society Leader:
– Agrees to the Leader Covenant (please note that this is NOT a requirement of someone wishing to become a member of a Society);
– Understands that the Society’s Reading Group will only use books/materials/resources that are CMS approved.
At this time the only CMS approved resources are Charlotte Mason’s volumes and any optional study guide offered by CMS.
If you are using a different resource or book, you can finish that book before applying to establish a Society or you can drop the study of any books outside of the Volumes and apply now;
We are working on approving other books and resources and will update this page when that information is available.
– Is aware that any future Society Natural History Club and/or Learning Community will have very specific guidelines that must be followed
(please refer to above section about Learning Communities for specific info about what a Soirée Society will and will not offer);
– Knows that active Reading Group attendance will be a requirement of any Society members wanting to participate in those optional, future NHCs and LCs.
Should you have any other questions about becoming a CM Soirée Society Leader, please contact Morgan and allow 3-5 business days for her to get back to you. She’s got 5 girls under age 11 to keep schooled, fed, bathed, and clothed 😉 So please be patient in waiting for her response!
Bridgett and Morgan