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The Science of Relations

Charlotte Mason had an idea she calls the ‘science of relations’.  What she meant by this is that in giving children a broad and liberal education, they will naturally connect related ideas by themselves.  This frees teachers from the need to artificially force connections of ideas for the students.  A good example of this artificial or forced connection is unit studies.  In fact, Charlotte Mason was opposed to using unit studies in education because it relieved the child of the valuable effort exerted in making their own connections, something she believed children were quite capable of do

A Lovely Young Lady

I have the distinct privilege of being the friend of a very intentional, loving mom.  We have enjoyed being in relationship since our children were very young.  Her youngest wasn't born when I met her, nor was my youngest.  We have witnessed each other's families grow.  Her oldest just turn twelve years old and is the subject of my musing today.  

Are There Any Ideas In Your Children's Books?

When Charlotte Mason discussed the spiritual life in relationship to ideas, she identified spiritual life as the life of thought, of feeling, of the soul, of that which is not physical. This very human life needs food, and “this life is sustained upon only one manner of diet: the diet of ideas—the living progeny of living minds.” 

She uses this framework—the spiritual life is sustained only by a diet of ideas—to answer the perennial question, “What manner of school books should our boys and girls use?”

Starting Home School

As we have just completed our first full week of school, I am reminded of what a true joy it is to begin another school year with my children.  Their eagerness, excitement and anticipation are simply mirrored by mine.  Last week, we began our eighth year of homeschooling and our fourth year with Ambleside® Homeschool… how time slips by.  Over the years I have realized that our home schoolroom is one of my most favorite places to be, the children are some of my most favorite people to be with and we are surrounded with beautiful and interesting texts, delightful lessons, and a method that is

Learning from the Locals

Today, Saturday, I spent four inspirational hours participating in a guided hike in our area. The hike was arranged by a lady who writes a column about nature in our local newspaper (that's how I found out about the hike). And it was co-led by an author who published a book about the lime kilns in our area (which we saw on the hike) and our new local head of conservation, who served as our plant expert.  The setting was idyllic amidst towering redwoods, an ambling stream and the songs of the winter wren (one of which perched for a rare picture, which my camera didn't seem to save!).

Finishing Well

I came to our school room this Sunday evening to make sure that I have all the materials ready for this week of school.  When I walked into the room, I felt some of my energy drain just thinking of the character shaping that will happen here tomorrow (of my students and of me).  As I sat down to collect my thoughts, I felt uninspired.  I already have my lessons planned and the material is no longer new to me.  My thoughts revealed a mindset that will limit my growth and that of my students if I do not replace it.  

Trust the Method

Trust the Method

I remember three years ago sitting in the Ambleside Summer Institute and hearing Bill St. Cyr tell us teachers in training to “trust the method”.  What he was referring to directly was the Ambleside Method of teaching a lesson, but on a broader level I have come to understand this to also mean Charlotte Mason’s method as embodied in her philosophy of education.

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