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    A Glimpse at Charlotte Mason’s Commonplace

    January 15, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    Karen Glass took a trip in 2014 to Ambleside England where she met up with one of my favorite people and visited the Charlotte Mason archives. One of her big goals was to locate Miss Mason’s commonplace books. She doesn’t know if they were all like this, but she’s sure that she found a commonplace book, at least. Karen was kind enough to send me some photos during my December notebooking series, but I ran out of time to share them before my blogging break commenced.

    So here they are … better late than never, right?

    A Glimpse at Charlotte Mason's Commonplace Book

    Oh, c’mon. You know she was an Afterthinker.


    So, first we have the cover:

    The Cover of Charlotte Mason's Commonplace

    I love that this isn’t anything fancy because, while I like fancy notebooks, there was a time where such a thing was cost prohibitive for me. Knowing that any notebook will do is important.

    Now, here area a couple pictures of the inside:

    CM Commonplace Inside 1
    CM Commonplace Inside 2

    Karen tells me that she took photos of every single page in hopes of deciphering all the quotes. Won’t it be interesting to find out what Miss Mason was reading, and what parts of what she was reading were important enough to make it into her commonplace?

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  • Reply Commonplacing for Moms: 10 Tips to Get Started | Simply Convivial November 30, 2017 at 2:50 am

    […] A Glimpse at Charlotte Mason’s Commonplace by Brandy Vencel […]

  • Reply KarenG January 24, 2015 at 4:01 am

    We’ve been speculating about this…it certainly is a little commonplace book, but it doesn’t seem like a finished product. When they wrote with pen back then, they had to use fussy little bottles of ink, and blotters. If you weren’t reading at your desk where you kept those supplies, you wouldn’t be able to write in a permanent way. This little pocket-sized notebook, with entries in pencil, might have been used while reading in bed, or outdoors, and (assuming the handwriting could be deciphered later), the entries entered more permanently in a another book. In pen-and-ink. No way to know for sure of course, but it’s possible this little book was one step in the process. Do we think Charlotte Mason disciplined enough to write them later? I’m going to say yes, and I’ll tell you why.

    At the Armitt, they had records from the local lending library–the kind you paid a subscription fee toward, and also *fines for overdue books*. In the library records for several years, there is a list of all the patrons, and how much they paid in overdue fines. Charlotte Mason had *absolutely no fines*. Anyone who could get every library book back on time would be disciplined enough to put the quotes in another book later, if she intended to. (And now you see how my mind works…)

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 24, 2015 at 8:03 am

      I wonder what she would have been on MBTI…

      I’ve never had a library fine, either, but that’s because I buy all my books. 😉 {No library nearby anyhow.}

  • Reply Tammy Glaser January 17, 2015 at 8:13 am

    Thank you Karen Glass and Brandy! I’m looking forward to studying these pages and sharing them with our Harvest teachers.

  • Reply Melissa January 16, 2015 at 5:42 am

    Wow…this is incredible! Funny thing is…today, I was quoting Charlotte in my Commonplace Book, then I clicked here and saw this post. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Rebecca January 15, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    Note to self,
    Be sure to write legibly and to write where the quote comes from!

  • Reply MA F. January 15, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Oh how wonderful…and you have know idea what a relief to see her slightly indecipherable writing…a perfectly human Charlotte Mason…inspiring us all.

  • Reply Catie January 15, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    Oh man! This is so cool! THANKS for sharing! 🙂

  • Reply Virginia Lee January 15, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    This makes me feel so much better. Her handwriting is not pretty or fancy or colored pens or… !!!!!

    I see all these glimpses of Common Place notebooks and everyone comments on the beautiful handwriting, the pretty color coding and the artistic headings or words written in artistic ways. I know it’s all in my head and it’s silly, but it always makes me feel like my Common Place is messy or plain. Mine is in ink pen and written in a straightforward manner, sometimes a bit sloppy if I am thinking while writing. 🙂

    Now I will just tell myself that I keep mine just like Charlotte Mason did. Ha!!

    But really, it is nice to see that our hearts can be captured in a Common Place even when it’s done with plain old pen and some plain old written words.

    I love Charlotte more each day!

    • Reply Carol January 15, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      I agree, Virginia. It was encouraging to see that CM’s book was just ordinary.

  • Reply Nelleke from P.E.I. January 15, 2015 at 11:44 am

    This is so neat! And I love the first quote (the only one I can decipher from here…). “It is what we think about and what we love that matters most. “

  • Reply Celeste January 15, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Thank you for linking this up, Brandy–this is great! A deciphering of these notes would be such fun to read. I imagine that quite a few of the quotes she added to her commonplace turned up in her volumes, of course, but to see those that didn’t… It’s true that a look into a person’s commonplace is a look into not just that person’s reading life, but his or her very mind in many ways. I bet Karen and Jeanne were just giddy poring over this little notebook! 🙂

  • Reply Jen Snow January 15, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Wow. This is so very cool. Thank you Karen for taking the pictures and thank you Brandy for sharing them!

    (I kinda love that she used a plain notebook too…I love fancy notebooks, but usually have to make do with what I can find in Africa which are usually plain ol’ composition books too.)

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