Have you ever read Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s For the Children’s Sake? I read it for the first time seven years ago when I was testing an early version of my Start Here study guide with my local Charlotte Mason reading group.
I really liked Macaulay. I hadn’t read much outside material (other than blogs, of course) on Charlotte Mason. I began with, and have always preferred, Miss Mason’s volumes and the Parents’ Review articles. My perception was that a lot of books on Mason’s philosophy (at the time, at least) make out this type of education to be either overly gentle (meaning not rigorous and almost student-led) or overly Victorian (lots of pinks, flowers, and making of embroidery samplers).
Not that I’m against samplers.
Macaulay, however, seemed so true to Miss Mason. She wasn’t too pink or too easy or too … anything. Her thoughts just were in the way that Miss Mason’s own work always has been. And so I appreciated that.
One of the things I still remember from the second chapter was the emphasis on the mother:
[T]he child puts all his little books and papers away, and turns his full attention to the adult. She will now be the medium through which he can “read” real books (not second-rate books).
Perhaps she reads a short portion from Pilgrim’s Progress. She must, of course, be a person who wants to understand and enjoy this herself. (p. 37)
There is only one problem that I can see. The adult, whether teacher or parent, has to be able to enjoy and understand what he or she is reading with the children. (p. 39)
It is really easy to think that all we need to do is organize a great curriculum. We can buy all the supplies and books, format a perfect schedule, and execute it in good time, being done-by-lunch-of-course.
Macaulay reminds me of the Apostle Paul here. Without love, all of these things are a clanging gong.
And love comes from the inside, and love is something we can’t organize into existence. We can’t fake it, and we can’t manufacture it.
We can’t buy it.
For me, at least, the love often disappears when I get caught up in the hustle in bustle of life. For all the temptations to indulge and enjoy in this world, I find I really can’t savor anything if I don’t slow down first. This includes school hours. How can I think deeply or enjoy a book when my soul is racing at 100 miles per hour and thinking more about my list of things to do than the reality right in front of me?
Each autumn, slowing down (for me) takes the form of Charlotte Mason Boot Camp. This is where I commit time to study. To walk this philosophy well, we need two things:
- We need to know it.
- We need to love it.
Both of these things take time.
Charlotte Mason Boot Camp is organized in such a way that by investing six weeks diligently, you will definitely come away knowing it, and I think you’ll be hard-pressed not to love it once you’ve spent so much time with it.
Whether you’re a newbie trying to execute a Charlotte Mason education in your homeschool without really understanding what that means, or whether you’re a seasoned Charlotte Mason homeschooler in need of revitalizing ideas and encouragement, Charlotte Mason Boot Camp is for you.
I invite you to come and join me! Six weeks is an investment that will pay you big dividends by helping you become the teacher for you children that you long to be.
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