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Christmas Reflections

I have before me a six year old's rendering of a giraffe. Its body has the shape of a large tennis ball, yellow with streaks of orange. Its neck reminds one of a long rigid cane cut from a Louisiana sugar field. A banana seems to serve for a tail, and four large green tree trunks for legs. It is all together delightful. Even more delightful were the smile and kindness with which it was presented to me. It is a wonderful piece of play and even more wonderful that a bright-eyed child would, without vulgar display, freely present such a gift to her former principal.

Gorging on the Fruits of an Ambleside Education

After studying early American history, including the American Revolution, this semester, it was an especially meaningful experience to visit Boston this past week as a family.  We were intrepid historians as we "braved the elements" in December.  We were rewarded with having the Freedom Trail, and other historical sites, largely to ourselves.  This allowed us to linger and savor, which we did.  The Nutcracker by the Boston Ballet enchanted us as well, and was especially alive to us after studying Tchaikovsky this semester.  At various times during the performance my ten -

Thanksgiving Proclamation

I hope and pray this season of Thanksgiving brings warmth and the many blessings of Providence to your family. I recently knocked the dust off a collection of speeches and writings by Abraham Lincoln to take my annual look at his Thanksgiving Day Proclamation. It is always good to read as it tends to reorient my mind to the meaning behind this American tradition.

Specialized Brain Training

The last fifteen years have seen a revolution in neuroscience. Central to this revolution is the recognition of brain plasticity. The brain is plastic. It molds, changes as we learn. Though lacking the benefits of modern technology, one hundred years ahead of her time, Charlotte Mason recognized the importance of neuroplasticity, "Physiologists tell us that thoughts which have become habit make somehow a mark upon the brain substance" Philosophy of Education.

The Child's Estate

Having recently become a third-time grandparent, I am drawn to the writings of Charlotte Mason on the development and training of children, particularly infants. Seeing little Adam, and considering the person of him, I am strongly reminded of her cautionary words that the “parent begins instinctively by regarding his child as an unwritten tablet, and is filled with great resolves as to what he shall write thereon.”1 What a temptation this is, yet what an erroneous vision! An unwritten tablet, innocent, pure, transparent, vulnerable.

The Child in the Midst

The Child in the Midst

The Child in the Midst.––And first, let us consider where and what the little being is who is entrusted to the care of human parents. A tablet to be written upon? A twig to be bent? Wax to be molded? Very likely; but he is much more––a being belonging to an altogether higher estate than ours; as it were, a prince committed to the fostering care of peasants…

The Education of a Person

The Education of a Person[1]

We take Children as Persons.––In the first place, we take children seriously as persons like ourselves, only more so; the first question that comes before us is––What do we understand by a person? We believe the thinking, invisible soul and acting, visible body to be one in so intimate a union that––

   "Nor soul helps flesh more now than flesh helps soul."

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