Monday, August 18, 2008

Personal Thoughts on CM

(My sentiments are the same so this is a repost from about this same time last year)

All summer I've been reading through The Story of Charlotte Mason. It has been so enlightening. After reading through the Original Homeschooling Series (Confession: I haven't finished reading all of it yet), it has given me tremendous insight into who she was and where her incredible philosophy came from, and, has been instrumental in allowing me to get to know her in a personal way; understand her guiding principles better. I feel like I've spent my summer with CM herself!

I'm just thinking out loud here, like CM says once an idea strikes you you have to communicate it!

I've been gearing up for another year of preschool. Each year I want to move more in line with CM principles. That's why I spend the summer re-reading Home Education. Then, I mull over new ways to implement these methods. Since I'm in a perpetual Year 0 (preschool), I never get to move into teaching formal lessons like copywork, dictation, keeping a Book of Centuries, etc...But, what I have come to believe is that my role and responsibility as an educator is two-fold.
  1. I am teaching the children. (Obviously)
  2. I am teaching the parents! (Not so obvious)

My job is to love the children, and to show their parents how important their parental duty is, as well as encourage them. How do I do that is the BIG question. This responsibility is not something I take lightly. I feel a heavy burden that what I am doing is having an eternal impact on the children and their families. I shall stand accountable for my actions one day. Now, you may think I'm being too serious; it is only preschool, after all. And, I don't think all the families or teachers share that burden. But, for me, what I do, I do for the Lord and by Him. It is only by His grace that I can do any of this anyway. It is my joy to share the love of Christ with these families; it is my sacrifice to train myself and try to be the best role model possible. It is my privilege to gather His little lambs close to me and point to Him. I know I am far from perfect, mind you, but by and through Christ's strength, can this enormous task be accomplished.

Whew! All that to say that what struck me today while finishing the article, 'Children are Persons' is this concept of realizing ideas are like seeds. Once planted, they germinate, recieve nourishment so as to produce fruit in its given time. The preschool years are the ideal time for planting an array of seeds. As those seed which take root grow, one idea will lead to another. Soon new ideas follow along paths already tread. This is why, to me, it is of the utmost importance to present ideas that are noble, good, pure, lovely, virtuous, praiseworthy. Like follows like. We as educators of our own children or someone elses have the duty and porivelge of supplying a bounty of good and noble ideas before our children. We may filter inadequate, insufficient, unworthy ideas; in the long run ,however, the child partakes of those ideas which, given by Divine Inspiration he is interested. Ideas plant themselves in the mind, watered by the Holy Spirit according to the path which was ordained before time began to accomplish the will of God, for His glory!

I am not the planter who plants. I am not the gardener who tends. I am simply a presenter. My responsiblity is to present living ideas leaving the results in God's hands. Journeying along with these young people is a source of true joy. Each year I get to explore and discover along with them the God of the universe! Whether they grow up and remember me is inconsequential. Whether they grow up and remember the One in whose image they were created: essential!

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who
sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
As it is written:

“ He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the
poor; His righteousness endures forever.”

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you
are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through
us to God. For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs
of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God,
while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of
your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them
and all men, and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the
exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

~2 Corinthians 9:6-14

Just me thinking out loud!


  1. Hey Jennie,
    The children in your preschool and their parents are privileged to have such a wise and thoughtful teacher. The older I get, the more I read and experience, the more I see what a woman of wisdom Charlotte Mason was. Her philosophy of education and her thoughts about children and our relationships with them make so much sense and I see them confirmed in the world in so many ways. I think you are doing what she envisioned - providing a "liberal education (in the sense of broad and full of truth and beauty) for all" as you reach out to these families through the preschool.

    God bless as you start a new year.


  2. Thank you, Beth for your kind words. The m ore I read CM the more i find myself saying, "That's exactly what I thought!" I'm thankful to have found her writings which give voice to ticking inside my head!

    May God Bless you and your family as well!


  3. As one who has had the privelege of you teaching my child, I can say that your "thinking out loud" is also how you live. Having the benefit of seeing the seeds grow this year from what was planted last year has been a gift from God and an answer to my prayers. I am so thankful that you are and were a part of Ben's life.

  4. Thanks, Shelley! It has been a sweet pleasure to watch Ben grow since he left my class. He is such a smart, imaginative person! But, he came that way well before me! All your kids are precious to me!