CMP Review 2023-08-24

CMP Review 2023-08-24

August 24, 2023

“Our principles are like leaven and have been spreading all this time,” wrote Charlotte Mason near the end of her life. “It is not because we are clever, not because we know more, but because it has been our good fortune that a philosophy of Education has come our way,” she added. But was this good fortune meant only for English-speaking people? Are these principles only to bless those who have had the good fortune to be connected to Charlotte Mason by culture or country?

A year ago I had the privilege to meet with the core team of Lilies of the Valley (, a Christ-loving, Charlotte Mason based community of mothers in Indonesia. They wanted my advice on living books and curriculum. All of their questions and suggestions had one thing in common: all the books they asked about were written in English.

Gently but persistently I reminded them of Mason’s own words. “Every tie that we are born to is necessary to our completion,” wrote Miss Mason. “Loyalty to country, Patriotism, is a noble passion.” Some of you left Indonesia only to return again, I pointed out. Why did you do so? Because there is something precious to you about your country, your culture, and your language. Who are your poets? What are your living books?

The team of Lilies of the Valley accepted my challenge to not fully rely on an established English curriculum but rather to develop their own. For months they have searched the riches of their own people to identify a curated list of living books ranging from narrative history to historical fiction to general fiction, all written in Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia). They selected artworks of classic Indonesian artists to form a new picture study rotation. And these selections are just the beginning.

Principles are indeed spreading like leaven. Principles such as “Children are born persons.” Persons who delight in their heritage, their heroes, and their language. When these children begin to read their living books in Indonesian, I am sure that Mason will be looking on from heaven and smiling again at her good fortune that a philosophy of Education came her way.