Episode 200

Episode 200

Today is a huge milestone for the Charlotte Mason Poetry team. It’s our two hundredth podcast episode! Can you believe it? It seems like only yesterday when we launched the podcast in August of 2017. But here we are more than three years later, and we’re excited about the next 200 episodes to come. But before we plow forward with a new year of episodes, we thought it would be a good time to look back at the history of the show.

Our team keeps track of how many downloads each episode gets. Taking the long view of all the downloads that have occurred since our podcast launch, we’ve identified the ten most popular episodes we’ve released since day 1. We wanted to share that list, but also to give you a behind-the-scenes idea of what went into the development of each episode. And in most cases, we’ve been able to get the perspective of the original author.

Let’s jump right in…

10. The God of Living Ideas, by Amanda Kunzeman
Release date: September 11, 2018

I wrote this paper as a final project for my Master’s in Educational Ministries at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. My interest in this topic sprang from my work with the elementary children’s ministry at my local church and also as a Charlotte Mason homeschooler. At a regional Charlotte Mason conference, I attended a session on Charlotte Mason and children’s ministry and I heard a lot of Montessori-based programs recommended. This surprised me, for I knew Miss Mason had some disagreements with Maria Montessori’s methods, so I thought there must be a better way to incorporate Mason’s philosophy into my ministry.

I began to look for information on Charlotte Mason in Christian education research, but found shockingly little. Miss Mason has been largely overlooked in the Christian Education community. So I approached my advisor, Dr. James Moore about my desire to do my final paper on how Mason’s philosophy could be applied to educational ministries in the church. He enthusiastically agreed, and the following paper is the result. I am pleased it has sparked interest and dialog in both the Charlotte Mason and Christian education communities and I am honored it is included at Charlotte Mason Poetry. May God get all the glory!

Amanda Kunzeman

When I heard about Amanda’s paper, I immediately asked if we could share it here at CMP. She graciously agreed, and I am also thankful for our top-notch reader Jennifer Talsma who recorded this 56-minute episode!

One of the great attributes of this paper is that it assumes the reader has no prior knowledge of or experience with Charlotte Mason. That makes it a great resource to share with pastors, church leaders, and family members to give them a concise overview of Charlotte Mason and her ideas. Another strength is that the paper shows how Mason’s ideas relate to several contemporary ideas about ministry and Christian education. This makes her ideas even more accessible to people outside of the core Charlotte Mason homeschooling community.

If you haven’t read or heard this article, be sure to check it out. Or better yet, send the link to your pastor and the leader of your church’s educational ministries!

9. Mason’s Program for Bible Lessons
Release date: July 3, 2018

This episode is unique in this top 10 list since it was released as both a video and an audio episode. Furthermore, the slides are available for download as well. I first gave this presentation at the Charlotte Mason Soirée Summer Mountain Mini in 2018. I am thankful for Jessica Lovitt and her husband who provided the great tech setup for the video.

In the two years since producing this episode, I have received various questions and corrections from listeners. In response, I have updated the slides several times. So if you have already heard or watched this episode, you can still go to the shownotes page and download the slide deck. It was last updated just this past September!

8. Charlotte Mason and Your Heritage, featuring Amber Johnston
Release date: June 30, 2020

When Art first asked me about speaking on the Charlotte Mason Poetry podcast, I was excited at the opportunity to share with a community I have loved for years. And at the same time, I was terrified at the idea of showing up authentically in a beloved space where I was not sure my voice would be welcomed. It was important to me to represent what I see as a growing segment within the Charlotte Mason community: families who wholeheartedly believe in Mason’s principles but are not sure they apply to all homes. I knew there were families, like mine, who wanted to swim in the beautiful waters found within her volumes but felt stifled by strict inclusions or exclusions that they picked up somewhere along the way. I wanted every mother to hear me say that she could be a “Charlotte Mason mom” and still have plenty of room for the unique manifestations of her heritage and collective family culture. I wanted her to know that the feast is not a cookie-cutter fast-food meal but is, in fact, a slow-cooked homemade meal seasoned exactly right according to the cook, the kitchen, and its customs. I had no idea whether the message would resonate, but I know now that it did, and for that, I am thankful.

Amber Johnston

This interview was a high point for me in 2020 and it turned out to be our most popular episode of the year. I found the discussion confirmed my ideas in some areas but challenged me in others. I hope to have the opportunity to further explore these topics. Really, I think the conversation has only just begun.

7. A Dangerous Adventure
Release date: November 7, 2017

My Charlotte Mason journey has had two phases, with a dark valley between them. In early 2017 my friend Jennifer Stec encouraged me to share my story publicly — a story of great optimism followed by equally great disillusionment. The episode was recorded at the 2017 Living Education Retreat. As I shared those words before that audience, I relived some of the hardest moments of my life. When I finished the talk that afternoon, I went straight back to my room and collapsed on my bed. All I could do was sleep, because my heart was spent.

When it came time to prepare the recording for the podcast, I asked permission of Jordan Sramek of The Rose Ensemble if I could include a portion of their performance of “Maria Magdelene.” He kindly agreed and I am so glad I could include that piece that once spoke to me so deeply. And then my friend Leif Olsen created a brand-new recording of the Hosanna just for this podcast. It was a labor of love and a gift of love that I will never forget. If you haven’t listened yet, I hope you get a chance to hear him sing and play.

6. Habits for Life
Release date: July 23, 2019

I developed this presentation because I felt that something wasn’t quite right with how the Charlotte Mason community was thinking about habit within the context of the overall philosophy. I was determined to read William Carpenter’s massive 720-page tome. Read it I did, and found that it changed my life.

I presented this talk several times, and each time I refined it a bit based on audience feedback. A special moment for me was the last time I presented it, at the 2019 Gospel Vision for Children conference. I had the honor of opening the talk with a demonstration by the supremely talented Kaley Koo. If you haven’t heard the recording of our interaction and the power of (what I call) habit in her life, be sure to have a listen.

5. Nature Study, by Christine Cooper
Release date: May 1, 2018

Number 5 on our top-10 podcast list is “Nature Study” by Christine Cooper, who was an ex-student of the House of Education. It was published in the 1909 issue of The Parents’ Review and shared with you through the work of the Charlotte Mason Poetry transcription team. It’s a lovely piece, you should go and re-read it!

But I’d like to tell you a story.

One fine day in April of 2017, Art was flying over the other side of our planet while he and I were chatting about getting CMPs first ever transcription on to our website.

As we discussed our lengthy process (Art had spent a few hours fixing up an OCR scan, and then I spent another couple of hours proofing and correcting his document, comparing it line by line with that same scan), I felt that there had to be a better way!

So I typed a page of it myself, just to see how long that would take, and I realized that it would be quicker for me to type the article rather than trying to proofread it visually. But my single transcription would most likely still have some typos in it. How would we go about finding those?

Art told me about a word processing comparison feature which would allow us to compare two transcriptions to catch any discrepancies. We immediately realized that it would be quicker, better, more efficient, and more precise to have two people type it and then compare their transcriptions.

Me and Art. Two typists…

Well, I considered that for about a whole minute.

I knew what we needed. We needed others to join us in our endeavour! We were unsure if we would find any typing volunteers. Art suggested asking some of our CM friends directly, but, somehow, I just knew that there were other people out there who would enjoy such a challenge, who wanted the opportunity to dig more deeply into Mason’s legacy and to join in on a community project like this.

A few weeks later, we posted a “calling all volunteers” request to our Charlotte Mason Poetry Readers Facebook group, hoping and praying that even just a couple people would be interested in giving of their time.

The response there floored us and, well, the rest is history!

Today, just over 3.5 years later, we have dozens upon dozens of typing friends from right around the globe who give selflessly of their time and effort to bring these vintage PNEU artefacts back to life for you!

And if you are interested in joining this lovely team of keen eyed, keen hearted, attentive to detail volunteer transcriptionists, send me an email. We’d love to have you join us!

Antonella Greco

4. Highest Thinking and Simplest Living, by Mary Beuving
Release date: June 12, 2018

Public speaking really isn’t my thing. I get terribly nervous. When Nancy Kelly asked me to share our story at the Living Education Retreat, I was sure I couldn’t do it. But I remember that as I thought about the journey our family had taken in bringing more children into our home and giving them a truly beautiful education, the stories began to come. I felt the Lord to be showing me that I did have something worthy of sharing. At the time of the talk it did not feel like it went very well but I decided to just let it be what it was and trust the Lord to use it as he would.

Later after Charlotte Mason Poetry posted the talk I listened to it again. I couldn’t believe what I heard. It was as if I was hearing someone else share our stories. The ideas and the words seemed to me as if God had crafted them himself — I could not take any glory for it. I felt myself to be standing on very holy ground. The responses to the talk have been wonderful. It has been a joy to meet some fellow Mason educators who are also on this journey to bring children out of despair and share the love of Christ as they lead them in a living education. I am so grateful to have been able to share a little of our story. Thank you to Nancy, who encouraged me to give the talk, and thank you to all of you at CMP for encouraging us to keep true to this incredible method!

Mary Beuving

And thank you, Mary, for having the courage to share your story and to inspire so many of us!

3. From Classical Teacher to Charlotte Mason Educator, featuring Shannon Whiteside
Release date: January 30, 2018

In my interview with Art, I had the opportunity to share my educational journey from being a classical teacher to a Charlotte Mason educator. Miss Mason gave me a whole new paradigm for understanding the fundamental questions about education: What is the nature of the learner? What is the role of the teacher and what is the meaning of knowledge? For the past 10 years, I have pursued these questions through the writings of Miss Mason and have witnessed how my children as well as many other students have come to view knowledge not as information to be mastered but as a relationship with God, the world and others. This understanding of knowledge is more of a journey, than a destination. And we as parents and teachers have the privilege of being fellow learners alongside our children. As Miss Mason wrote, “Not what we have learned, but what we are waiting to know is the delectable part of knowledge.” I invite you to join me on this journey of understanding Miss Mason’s principles and exploring other educators who value the personhood of the child. You can find me at my website www.shannonrwhiteside.com.

— Shannon Whiteside

I was very encouraged by this interview back in 2018, but I am also encouraged by all the research and writing Shannon has done since that interview. I am looking forward to following her new website and reading the new materials she produces in the years to come.

2. Charlotte Mason’s Call to Parents
Release date: October 7, 2017

I prepared this talk for the 2014 Charlotte Mason Institute Conference. I was scheduled as the speaker for the opening night. I recall arriving on campus for dinner an hour or so before I was to speak. At that moment, I started to feel the weight of what I was about to say. I was about to stand up on a stage and challenge parents in a way that they perhaps had never been challenged before. I was about to tell them to give up their time, their leisure, and their priorities, all for the sake of their children. It was too much.

“If I go through with this,” I thought, “it will be the last time I am ever invited to speak at a Charlotte Mason event.” I weighed the alternatives. I could soften the message, dial it back, and stay in the good graces of the audience and the community. Or I could share what was truly on my heart and then never share again. I chose the latter. It’s a choice that I’ve made many times in the years since, as I’ve said what I believe needs to be said, rather than what the community wants to hear.

In the end, my fears were unfounded. The community wanted to hear this message after all. This episode was recorded at the 2017 Vision for Children event, but it is essentially the same message as from three years before. A Spanish version is also available to read, translated by Nat Leighton.

1. How to Learn the Charlotte Mason Method
Release date: July 31, 2018

One of my great joys for the past four-and-a-half years has been leading men through Charlotte Mason’s six volumes as part of the Idyll Challenge. Month after month with dozens of men I wrestled with their questions and objections, learning and growing with them. Over the months, I began to see that Mason’s vision of education as an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life applies to all forms of learning — even how we can learn the method itself. From the Idyll Challenge, then, this talk was born.

The message was recorded at the 2018 LER. But I thought the “Scale How Song” could be better. So my friends Greg Rolling and Tyson Suemnicht graciously prepared a new recording specifically for this episode. The song is a wonderful and delightful way to remember how to learn the method. If you haven’t heard it yet, I encourage you to listen!

Well, that’s our top 10 list! We’d like to thank every listener who has listened to, enjoyed, shared, and commented on our podcast. What have you enjoyed the most? Did one of your favorites not make the list? Be sure to comment and let us know what you liked best and what you’d like more of. And then we’ll check in again in another hundred episodes or so. Blessings to you all!

4 Replies to “Episode 200”

  1. Congratulations to CMP for this milestone. We are so grateful for your dedicated love to bless this community of educators. Number 2 in the list was a great reflection and encouragement to accept and works towards this High Calling called Parenthood. Thanks.

  2. What a wonderful list! Habits for Life is a special one to me because I was there, listening to the live presentation and being awed by Art! I left the Gospel Vision for Children with a burning heart and a desire to learn more about it!
    Blessings to all of you at CM Poetry!