The Meaning of Must

There is a human tendency to think of life as a grand abstraction rather than as a set of objectives to be completed in definite hours. In her book, 168 Hours, Laura Vanderkam suggests:

If you want to be a writer, you must dedicate hours to putting words on a page…
To be a mindful parent, you must spend time with your child….
If you want to sing well in a functioning chorus, you must show up for rehearsals…
If you want to be healthy, you must exercise…

Children Must Be Taught

It is interesting to me that I so easily accept that children must be taught formal subjects like math, writing, or art, but that they should somehow know on their own, how to have good behavior.  I had this experience happen just last week.  We invited some friends over for dinner; I was busy cooking and preparing.  My husband reminded me that we ought to talk with the children about what is expected behavior for our children when their friends arrive.  I was too busy at the moment and didn't want to take the time to sit down with them and discuss appropriate behavior, so I casually called

Support and Encouragement

Tonight I just finished reading a few chapters in Mona Brookes' book, Drawing with Children.  I was reminded and enlightened by her comments and suggestions towards teaching children.  Although, her focus is on teaching children how to draw, her ideas are foundational and are consistent with valuing children as persons.  I was inspired and reminded of my role to encourage and support my children in their struggles both in and out the schoolroom.  I sometimes see my youngest freeze up when asked to copy an art print, my son struggle to pay attention in Sunday School or my oldest shed tears w

Building Joy

In the six volumes of her Home Education Series, Charlotte Mason speaks of joy over 270 times.  This is not surprising, for the consistent experience of joy is essential to a child's well-being. Through experience, parents and teachers know how difficult it is to help the sullen child move forward. Ms. Mason would take it a step farther, arguing that “The happiness of the child is the condition of his progress.” Thus, “his lessons should be joyous and that occasions of friction in the schoolroom are greatly to be deprecated.” 

What is in the Air?

Ideas may invest as an atmosphere, rather than strike as a weapon. The idea may exist in a clear, distinct, definite form, as that of a circle in the mind of a geometrician; or it may be a mere instinct, a vague appetency towards something, . . . like the impulse which fills the young poet's eyes with tears, he knows not why: To excite this 'appetency towards something'––towards things lovely, honest, and or good report, is the earliest and most important ministry of the educator. (Charlotte Mason)

Educating for a Full Life

A first grader carefully adds three to four. Third graders diligently journey into ancient Egypt. A student shares with her parents insightful and detailed reflections on Robinson Crusoe.  These are characteristic of students who care.  When it comes to education, the first question parents and teachers must ask is not, “How much does the child know?”  But rather, “How much does he care?”

Speaking of God


“Do not talk down to children.”

To a prior generation, the religious education of children consisted of indoctrination and memorization. Today, it’s likely to be silly games, treats, and a video of animated Bible stories. Our children are sold short. An insightful hearing of Scripture, a delight in the Creator, a deep communion with the living God, all are deemed beyond a child’s capacity or interest.


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