The Thinking Love of a Guide, Philosopher, and Friend
“‘The mother is qualified,’ says Pestalozzi, ‘and qualified by the Creator Himself, to become the principal agent in the development of her child; ... and what is demanded of her is—a thinking love’...’ We are waking up to our duties and in proportion as mothers become more highly educated and efficient, they will take up [the education of their children] as their profession.”
—Charlotte Mason, Home Education
A “thinking love” is demanded of us, but so often we waiver between two common alternatives: a systematic love or sentimental love, or as Mason describes, between Scylla and Charybdis. If we set ourselves on the path of becoming our child’s “Guide, Philosopher and Friend,” we will safeguard the “individuality implanted in every child’s breast” and delight in our relationship with our child.
The Ladder and Scaffolding of Good Writing
Building upon the first philosophical talk of the retreat, we will see how Mason’s guidance on the role of the teacher extends to every aspect of education, including Composition. According to Mason and the most recent research, you don’t need a separate writing curriculum to achieve good writing and real learning. In fact, what each student needs is a Guide, Philosopher and Friend, rather than “composition lessons.” This workshop will also walk you, Form by Form, up the ladder of good communication. We will also cover the elements of strong writing specified by the PNEU and how they can become a natural and enjoyable part of your child’s life and yours!
Pre-reading as schole: Teaching with the posture of a student
This final talk of the day will consider how these principles and practices have the potential to shape us as mothers. What if the surest way to becoming "guide, philosopher and friend" is by embracing for ourselves the same methods we use with our students? In this session, we will consider how Mason's suggestions can turn teacher prep work into our own self-education, filling our motherwell and banishing burnout. We will walk through the weekly pre-reading process and notebook-keeping habits as examples of how teaching with a posture of a student builds sympathy and relationship between teacher and taught. Through such practices, we will see firsthand how "studies serve for delight."
Mothers and Children are Persons — The Basis of a bright and cheerful homeschool
To mother well we must fully grasp Mason’s first principle: Children are born persons. This principle should shape how we educate our children and, ultimately, how we live our lives.
If mothers and children are persons, "we are limited to three educational instruments—the atmosphere of environment, the discipline of habit, and the presentation of living ideas."
We desire a homeschool that is cheerful and bright, peaceful and orderly, lively and engaging...how can these three tools help us? We will discuss the practical applications of Mason's educational instruments in the home and how the Mason model extends outside of the homeschool right into the heart of the home itself.
Keeping notebooks — Charlotte Mason’s “forms of vitality”
Charlotte Mason prescribed the keeping of all kinds of "paper companions"—notebooks, timelines, maps, journals and more—as both a record of learning and a mode by which the student learns. In this workshop, we'll consider the posture of the notebook-keeper and the principles that shape these tangible narration practices, subject by subject. We will look at samples of student work from all Forms and explore how atmosphere, discipline, and life can help us build a family culture of notebook-keeping and inspire best work. We’ll also consider how Mason’s vision for such practices truly do “fill up” the souls and minds of teachers and students. You will leave this workshop with the boost you need to begin or enliven the keeping in your homeschool with the simplest and yet richest of tools: the blank page.
End of Term REflection: The Mother’s Key to Hope and Growth
This session focuses on one practical method we can use to shape our life, lessons, and relationships with each of our children: end-of-term reflection. We will go through the documents that the PNEU encouraged mother-teachers to prepare at the end of each term and discuss the ways they inspire us to see our students "in the round." We will also consider the tools we might use to evaluate our homeschools, our students, and ourselves, including a detailed look at the Mother's Diary and tips for exam assessment. Walking through plenty of real-life examples, we'll then explore how this careful, consistent process can be a powerful step toward peace and progress. This workshop includes a thorough and heartfelt guide for end-of-term reflection in your home.