I have been leading a Charlotte Mason reading group for almost a dozen years. It’s hard to say if I should count 2020 — California shut down in March of 2020 and we weren’t able to meet again until March of 2021 (and even then our meeting was at an undisclosed location). But here we are. A year later than planned, we finished Charlotte Mason’s Parents and Children. (Yes, there will be a study guide eventually.)
I debated over whether or not to take our usual summer break and read or do something different. After all, we didn’t meet for a year. But summer is still summer, and we’ve also always taken a break and read something different between volumes as a refresher (and a chance to search out principles at work in a different context). I’ve often called this “relief reading” to myself because just like we practice alternation in our homeschools, mixing up volume reading with something else provides the same sort of relief and refreshment.
I chose Louis L’Amour’s Education of a Wandering Man not because I’ve read it (I haven’t) but because a sweet friend of mine kept reading passages aloud to me whenever we had our regular ghetto coffee dates. (Kicked out of Starbucks, we tailgated in the back parking lot. It was classy, trust us. Eventually, we wised up and brought our own chairs.) The passages were compelling, and I could see a number of Charlotte Mason principles at work, most especially the necessity of wide reading.
Warning: she says it “gets earthy” at the end. Not sure what that means yet. 😉
Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite (keep in mind that by “power” he means electricity):
I have delved deeply into the literatures of the world, yet what is available is scarcely a dusting of what must have been. Great libraries have been destroyed, and books or manuscripts are vulnerable.Education of a Wandering Man, pp. 120-121
Books as books must be preserved. There is an effort now to preserve everything by mechanical means, but of what use will they be to a man who has no power? No means of reproducing the sounds or the words? A book can be carried away and read at leisure. It needs nothing but an eye, a brain, and the ability to read.
In my library of some ten thousand selected books, I have the means of reproducing much of our civilization. I have the five volumes of Singer’s History of Technology, which have much on the means of construction. There are other books other on the building of watercraft, books on all manner of crafts and how they were done. From there alone, if all were lost, one might start again.
Our Summer Discussion Plan
This is what we’ll be doing, and I figured you might like to know, too. I simply broke the book up into three parts and we’ll read it over the summer and discuss at our monthly meetings:
- June: chapters 1-8
- July: chapters 9-17
- August: chapters 18-end
As usual, we’ll take September off to focus on getting our homeschools in order, and then in October we’ll jump into School Education.
Need a study guide for your Charlotte Mason group? Just click here.
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