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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.

Feasting on Intellectual Food Every Day of Our Lives

Just as the body needs physical nourishment, so the mind needs its nutriment.  It is hungry not only on special “feast days,” but every day of our lives. Charlotte Mason exhorted us to “eat” ideas so we might live everyday.

Many questions come to mind: What does my everyday living look like? What nutriment did I take in throughout the day? What was the nature of this food?  Was it hearty and plentiful, or processed and meager?

The Holy Spirit is Our Teacher

One of the most encouraging facts that Charlotte Mason draws out about education is that the Holy Spirit is our teacher.  All knowledge is revealed by God to human minds.  I believe this, but instinctively I find myself thinking that I need to "dress up" the well-chosen text with some creative sparks of my own.  I check this instinct and remind myself that a well-chosen text will carry with it ideas that will nourish my students' minds without any extra table decorations by me.  In fact, my "clever" decorations really would only get in the way between the text and the Teacher.

The Home School and Classroom Air

Ideas may invest as an atmosphere…'The idea may exist as… 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.[1]

Ideas to Ponder

Ideas to Ponder was written by an Ambleside Teacher

At Ambleside we often discuss our “paradigm shift’: from textbooks, grades, and stickers to “living books,” “narrations,” and “habits.” It’s difficult, for many of us. We’re not just learning about a method of education; we’re learning again how to learn. Often I hear a parent say, “I’m glad my kids are getting this kind of education.” You ought to be glad. I would know. I was one of them.

The Order of Bringing Up Children

The Order of Bringing Up Children

We often distinguish the order of things by considering the importance of their ends.

I’m reminded of a story that a colleague shared. One of her first-grade students had already identified the end of education. He announced, all in one breath: “We-go-to-school-to-get-good-education-to-go-to-a-good-university-to-get-a-good-job-to-make-good-money!” 

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