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    Exploring With “Small Boys”

    “It is infinitely well worth of the mother’s while to take some pains every day to secure, in the first place, that her children spend hours daily amongst rural and natural objects; and, in the second place, to infuse into them, or rather to cherish in them, the love of investigation.”  Charlotte Mason, Volume 1, pg 71 I can have a tendency to become consumed with the ‘busyness of life’, the ‘to do’ lists, the mundane and then forget to make the time to see the world through the eyes of my children Today I consciously stepped into the world of our younger boys, we headed down to our bush…

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    Living History

    “Imagination does not stir at the suggestion of the feeble, much diluted stuff that is too often put into children’s hands.”  “The fatal mistake is in the notion that he must learn ‘outlines,’ of the whole history…of the world. Let him, on the contrary, linger pleasantly over the history of a single man, a short period, until he thinks the thoughts of that man, is at home in the ways of that period. Though he is reading and thinking of the life time of a single man, he is really getting intimately acquainted with the history of a whole nation for a whole age.”  Charlotte Mason  Charlotte Mason’s principles of…

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    Nature Study Failure? – The Adventurous Years

    One day we invited another ‘town’ friend to join us at the natural ponding on the edge of the hockey fields.  In amongst ensuring my toddler didn’t fall in, sketching the ducks on the pond, finding a bird’s nest and discussing the pond’s flora an idea was born.  An idea that was to change our nature experience, one that was to introduce our children to a whole new dimension, to throw two intrepid mothers into a series of wild nature adventures….. (Part 1) Part 2 – The Adventurous Years Inspired to expose our children to God’s natural world yet limited by the constraints of town living, my friend Margaret and I decided…

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    Nature Study Failure? – The Earliest Years

    Upon introduction to Charlotte Mason her wisdom resonated with me in most subjects, however there were a few that were ‘stumbling blocks’ and we have ‘tackled them’ with varying degrees of success. When Pam was so bold as to publicly admit she was a Nature Study Drop Out I immediately ‘yelled’, “me too”, but over time I began to ponder, was I really?  We haven’t excelled at formal studies and have abysmally flopped at nature journalling, however we have succeeded in imparting to our children a respect for, and an interest in nature itself simply by much exposure. Reflecting upon our nature journey that covers more than a decade I began to see a pattern and decided to share…

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    Quality Literature

    “For the children?  They must grow up upon the best… There is never a time when they are unequal to worthy thoughts, well put; inspiring tales, well told.  Let Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ represent their standard in poetry, DeFoe and Stevenson, in prose; and we shall train a race of readers who will demand literature– that is, the fit and beautiful expression of inspiring ideas and pictures of life.”(Vol 2 pg 263) When I first discovered Charlotte Mason and read her thoughts on living books, I knew I had found a kindred spirit!  Some of her other teachings were harder to implement, some we have never succeeded in introducing consistently, but her insistence on quality literature…

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    Education is A Discipline

    Good Habits the best Schoolmasters.––Not mere spurts of occasional punishment, but the incessant watchfulness and endeavour which go to the forming and preserving of the habits of the good life, is what we mean by discipline; and, from this point of view, never were there such disciplinarians as the parents who labour on the lines we would indicate. Every habit of courtesy, consideration, order, neatness, punctuality, truthfulness, is itself a schoolmaster, and orders life with the most unfailing diligence. A habit is so easily formed, so strong to compel.(Vol 2 pg 174) Charlotte Mason has much to share in regards to “Education is a Discipline.” When reading her writings it is…

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    Education is An Atmosphere

    “Education is an atmosphere-that is, the child breathes the atmosphere emanating from his parents; that of the ideas which rule their own lives” (Vol 2, p247) “Education is an atmosphere” can be a difficult concept to translate into words.  We comprehend the tangible and yet this foundation word for Charlotte Mason’s approach to education is not something so easily concrete. In our search for the tangible we may initially assume that Charlotte Mason could be referring to the physical environment.  Sometimes as home educators we feel if only we had; the perfect room, the perfect circumstances,  a thriving education would ensue.  Whilst it is true that a little organisation can go a long way to…

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    Immersion in Quality Literature

    My childhood home was a home of books; thousands of books, I don’t recall many picture books, but we had shelves of quality novels mixed with twaddle. These surrounds encouraged my own love of reading. Making the decision early on to home educate our children, I began reading about home education approaches and knew our learning would not be reliant on text books. When I first read of Charlotte Mason I was immediately drawn to her love of Living Books, I had found someone whose experience bore out my instinctive thoughts!  The past 17 years of parenting have been filled with reading, books are an integral part of our home…