CMP Review 2022-12-29

CMP Review 2022-12-29

December 29, 2022

Two years at Charlotte Mason’s House of Education must have been a life-changing experience. The women who attended developed a special bond that they wished to preserve. To meet that need, in January 1896 L’Umile Pianta was born. The alumnae asked Mason herself to write the opening article. She chose the form of a letter to address her beloved graduates, and among other topics, she commended them on their choice of a badge.

“Your deliberate choice of the ‘humble plant,’” she wrote, “as best expressing your aims gives me a cheering sense that you realize the meaning of our work.” Then Mason wrote something very remarkable: “To us, who take the Rush for our Badge, there are no little things, no things that do not matter. We know that every letter a child forms is a detriment or a gain to his character.”

How extraordinary that of all the living lessons she could have cited, she chose to mention handwriting. It is fitting, however, when we remember that for Charlotte Mason, no aspect of education is utilitarian. Even handwriting is a means to express beauty.

Perhaps that is why Mason seized upon Mrs. Bridges’ “A New Handwriting” as the course to teach “a system of beautiful handwriting.” This system has been elusive for modern Charlotte Mason educators, but now @michelejahncke has carefully restored it for our use. Published by @simplycharlottemason, “Beautiful Handwriting 1: The Basic Course” is now available.

But it’s not just for children. At the Gospel Vision for Children conference in October, @nancy_kelly_sage_parnassus invited attendees to do their own “slow and beautiful work” right in the middle of her talk. She invited a room full of adults to copywork. Why did she do that?

Mason reminded her beloved graduates that “we work at things both great and small without any thought at all of our own honour and renown.” My fifteen-year-old isn’t too old for handwriting lessons, nor is his fifty-something-year-old dad. But with kids or without, why not labor in a small thing? The result just might be something great. Check out “Beautiful Handwriting” at this link.