Friday, March 29, 2013

a Charlotte Mason anchor

A small portion of our wall timeline.

Last summer, I wrote about how my first introduction into Charlotte Mason and the classical style was through borrowing friends' books written about Charlotte Mason, her methods and ideas.  I enjoyed those books as they were so different from any educational philosophy or methodology I had encountered while earning my teaching degree or perusing any mainstream homeschool catalog.
I read countless articles, blog posts, forum posts, blog comments, product descriptions, and product reviews.  I pored over Ambleside Online, familiarizing myself with the book suggestions, learning the concept of narration, written and oral, understanding the ideas behind composer and artist studies, nature study, and living books.
It was all very helpful and it still is, but in more recent years, since I started reading Charlotte Mason's own writings in her own books, I have found a more complete understanding, inspiration and motivation to finish what I've started in our lessons or correct a misstep that has crept in.  She provides a Christian understanding that encompasses the whole of the Christian family, not just what happens during so-called school hours.  I have quoted her in worldview posts alongside Francis Schaeffer, Douglas Wilson and others.  I have copied out passages of her writing into my notebooks and found theological implications in her examples and exhortations.  I have made an effort to incorporate her ideas into my Sunday School lessons in recent years.
Now after reading that previous paragraph, you might conclude that I am a Charlotte Mason groupie or fangirl who has a "read the book, bought the t-shirt and coming back next year" type of mentality.  Or worse, you might imagine that I consider myself some sort of Charlotte Mason guru.
Hopefully I avoid both mischaracterizations and rather present myself to be someone who believes that I have found in Charlotte Mason's writings(and others of course) a biblical anchor that provides steadiness and instruction in discipling our children and growing in maturity myself.  I believe that she is included in the body of Christ and I have come to consider her gifted to teach God's people and provide nourishment for the teaching and training of children.
The apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 4, the following exhortation to the believers:
It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
I feel that I have gained confidence that by having Charlotte Mason as an anchor, I no longer feel tossed around in the tricky world of homeschool curriculum.  She has provided me with a rubric for what I am looking to accomplish and how I should be accomplishing that with our children and while I may choose to stray occasionally from her recommendations, I am so thankful for her wisdom and knowledge imparted even to this day.


  1. "I feel that I have gained confidence that by having Charlotte Mason as an anchor, I no longer feel tossed around in the tricky world of homeschool curriculum." That's exactly how I felt when I discovered CM. I was so insecure about all my homeschooling choices, and read dozens of catalogs and blogs to find help. When I found CM's writings, I knew more of the why and how of our home school. I completely relaxed.

  2. Thank you, Hope for sharing your experience with me! I'm so glad to know that others, like you, have gone before me on this path.

  3. Yes, there is so much of value in CM's writings. You can tell that she spent her life working with and studying children and how to teach them, and that she did so from a Christian point of view.


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