Get the exclusive (almost) Weekly Digest.

    Other Thoughts

    Thoughtworthy (Gifted Kids, Leading Well, In Memoriam Giveaway, and MORE!)

    November 17, 2017 by Brandy Vencel



    :: 1 ::

    I can’t tell you how many times I tried to write a post this past week. It was another in my series on Charlotte Mason and gifted kids, and it’s harder to write than I expected. I feel like I’m naming so many caveats that the whole thing becomes unclear. I hope that another week or two of simmering will solve this problem, but we’ll see.


    :: 2 ::

    Here’s the latest Scholé Sisters episode:


    :: 3 ::

    Speaking of Scholé Sisters, we had so many people asking for replay access to the Leading Well Retreat (from this summer), that we’ve made it available once again!

    Whether you’re in need of some individual inspiration and refreshment, or you want to plan an event for your local group, the Leading Well Retreat is for you. ♥


    :: 4 ::

    Want to win a copy of In MemoriamCharlotte Mason IRL is giving away two copies! It’s not too late to enter, but you better do it ASAP.

    One favorite thing all of your curators share in common is learning about Charlotte Mason and her philosophy. We often chat about questions or issues we’re facing (or #bookemergencies). We enjoy chatting, encouraging, and discussing as we continue to learn and grow. It’s a blessing to take what we’ve learned in those discussions into our own homeschools. Learning is another one of the Favorite Things we have in common. . In that vein, we are so excited that Brandy Vencel, @brandyvencel, has offered us two copies of her recently published edition of In Memoriam as a G I V E A W A Y ! ?? . In Memoriam is a collection of essays and letters written to honor the memory of Miss Mason and her work. It’s a beautiful tribute and chock full of lessons different people learned from her during her lifetime. As such, it’s a wonderful supplement to the 6 volume series she herself wrote. . Here’s how to enter for a chance to win: . 1. Make sure you’re following both @charlottemasonirl AND @brandyvencel . 2. Tag a friend in the comments. You can tag as many as you’d like- just enter each as a separate comment. . 3. We’ll announce the winner in our Saturday, 11/18 post. You’ll win a book for yourself and for the friend you tagged! . The promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram. Shipping to US addresses only. #charlottemasonirl

    A post shared by Charlotte Mason IRL (@charlottemasonirl) on


    :: 5 ::

    This month in 2016:

    One of the zillion times I’ve written about Charlotte Mason’s concept of masterly inactivity, this post gives you a taste of the talk I gave at the Leading Well Retreat.


    :: 6 ::

    This week’s links collection:


    Get the (almost) weekly digest!

    Weekly encouragement, direct to your inbox, (almost) every Saturday.

    Powered by ConvertKit


  • Reply Monique Laura November 18, 2017 at 7:54 am

    I am not sure if this is the place to post this question. I am trying to resolve something in my mind. Ms. Mason had her students read 3000 pages in year 1. The qualifier for a good eduction is reading a vast amount of living books. I agree. But, if these principles are universal and inspired by the scriptures why would many children not have access. I live in a country of 30 million. There are no libraries. Books can only be afforded by the rich and even if you have money, living books are essentially non existent. Why would something so vital such as education be scarcely available? I grapple with this dilemma. Is it plausible that a CM education is a luxury for those who have access but not essential to live fully? If a CM education is God’s way why would so many be held back from access to the feast? In my corner of the world, I import living books to make them available. That’s the best I can do but what are your thoughts?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel November 18, 2017 at 9:05 am

      Oh my goodness, this is such a great question! I have a few initial thoughts on this.

      The first is that when CM was working with the poor, those PNEU schools sometimes took desperate measures. They might have had one copy of a book for a class of 50 students, and so the teachers had to read a lot aloud. My guess is that this DID lower the page count. Reading aloud is always slower than reading silently. But it still kept up that criteria of allowing the children to encounter original minds and great ideas.

      My second thought is that when we look back even further in the history of education, a lot of the teaching was done by memory. Still original thoughts by great minds (and maybe that is the principle here: original thoughts and encountering great minds and ideas), but NOT from books, at least not directly. The teachers often memorized the material and recited it. It wasn’t uncommon for an educated Greek to be able to recite entire volumes of his nation’s great literature, or for a Jew to be able to recite entire books of Scripture. So I wonder if that sort of oral resource is preferable for a nation that is just starting its educational journey?

      My third thought is that this is generational work. I think, for example, of how CM would have me teach my children Latin and multiple modern languages, but I only KNOW English. That’s a huge disadvantage. So I have to get creative. This has meant having my children take walks with a native Spanish speaker. It has meant me studying in my spare time. It’s meant hiring tutors. It’s not been easy, nor has it always been successful. But I think about the future and I think that my children and my children’s children (if they continue what I’ve begun for our family) will have it much easier. Likewise, a country without many books has much hope for its future as its children become more educated. When we look at history, it wasn’t just the printing press that changed the West — it was also an increase in literacy and an interest in learning. The culture of scholarship that a CM education breeds should, over time, demand more books (and more affordable books). The hard part is what to do in the meantime. I know that the PNEU schools in the mining districts of England often had a difficult time — and I really don’t think that their students were doing 3000 pages. We are told elsewhere that the reading assigned in CM’s curriculum didn’t fit into the time table — that the parents needed to read aloud to the students at home, or encourage them to read. But we are also told that those in the poorer districts only had the school hours and that was it. Even if they had books, they didn’t have literate parents to read aloud to them. But still, the impact was HUGE!

      I think what you are doing is remarkable, Monique!

      With that said, I think we need to be careful about saying that CM’s methods are “God’s way.” The Church has been involved in education from the moment of its birth, and while she recognized the centrality of words — the logos — to education, there weren’t always 3000 pages available, and that was okay. ♥

      • Reply Monique November 18, 2017 at 9:54 am

        Thank you Brandy for your thorough reply. Understanding how things were done during Ms Mason’s era helps me see the latitude with this kind of education. She herself would probably be surprised at the abundance of books that there are now but knowing that a few, well chosen books are also preferred over none at all.

        When I think of books like seeds to plant in the hearts of children, it gives me the inspiration to make them available to the poor. I think Charlotte would be delighted to know what she started is reaching remote areas of the world.

        • Reply Brandy Vencel November 18, 2017 at 1:10 pm

          Monique, is there any way that any of us in the US can help? Do you take donations?

          • MOnique November 18, 2017 at 1:44 pm

            Help? Oh my yes. It would be a dream to create a program like Ms Mason did for parents that taught at home. It would be used like a subscription in which the parents would use the books on a weekly basis throughout the year to home educate. We have started a small library already out our church.

            A bigger vision for a CM education is starting a cottage school. This has been considered in the past and may be possible in the future but what we need is BOOKS. What I have prepared so far is using Mind to Mind in spanish to help the moms and I have early year picture books (around 36 titles). I hope to roll this out by the new year. I will email you with donation info.

  • Reply Celeste November 17, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    Looking forward to what you have to say about giftedness.

    And your talk for the Learning Well retreat was fantastic!

  • Reply Anne Lawson November 17, 2017 at 4:43 am

    I’d love to read another post about CM and giftedness. Please keep trying – you have so much wisdom to share! And I have a lot to learn!

    • Reply Catherine @ A Spirited Mind November 17, 2017 at 9:57 am

      I second that. I really think that one brief caveat up front is enough. Giftedness is not about being a good student, it’s about brains that work a little differently. Any time we are dealing with difference it’s helpful to hear from others in the trenches!

    Leave a Reply