The CMP Review — Week of April 17

The CMP Review — Week of April 17

April 17, 2023

“The completeness of the new baby sister is what children admire most, her toes and her fingers, her ears and all the small perfections of her. Her guardians have some understanding of the baby; they know that her chief business is to grow and they feed her with food convenient for her. If they are wise they give free play to all the wrigglings and stretchings which give power to her feeble muscles. Her parents know what she will come to, and feel that here is a new chance for the world.” (Vol. 6 p. 33)

[The pronouns in this quotation were changed from the original text in order to personalize the application.]


April 18, 2023

There is something almost magical about the writings of Charlotte Mason. Her ideas seem to appeal (at least on some level) to almost everyone. But occasionally a nagging doubt is raised about the “realism” of her approach. It is usually expressed like this: “Miss Mason never had her own children. So you need to take what she says with a grain of salt.”

Many years ago a few blessed individuals had the wonderful opportunity to study under Miss Mason herself at the House of Education. Deeply impacted by two years in the Lake District with their beloved mentor, most of these young ladies went on to become governesses and teachers. Many of them never married…

… but some did marry, and some had children. What if we could hear from one of those mothers who learned from Mason in the Lake District, believed the principles with all her heart, and then put them faithfully into practice? A young mother who applied the principles as she raised her own little ones, the principles she heard from Mason’s own lips?

Such a mother would have credibility for sure. Well, thankfully, we can hear from her. Read or listen to what she said here.


📷 @aolander

April 19, 2023

We’d probably all love to attend this year’s Charlotte Mason: Learning Through the Natural World exhibit at the Armitt Museum in Ambleside, England.

We can take a virtual stroll through the Lake District, though, with @thearmitt online exhibit featuring photos and videos on the life and legacy of Charlotte Mason.

In addition to “A Typical Day of Homeschooling” with @modernmissmason, you can listen to an interview with the great granddaughter of Charlotte’s dear friend and colleague, Emeline Steinthal, as well as an interview with Dr. John Thorley—former principal of the Charlotte Mason College, and more!

You can even watch a flip-through of Emeline’s original brush drawing course as I discuss the history of this beautiful watercolor technique used in Charlotte’s schools.

Take a virtual visit to this exciting exhibit and let us know what you loved learning!


April 20, 2023

In Home Education, Charlotte Mason appears to give a somewhat utilitarian purpose for the study of Latin. Some instruction in Latin, she writes, would be useful “if only to help [the child] to see what English grammar would be at when it speaks of a change in case or mood” (p. 295). I was never particularly moved by this argument. I found that our family could learn English grammar quite well without the aid of a classical language, thank you very much.

But when we reach the final of Mason’s six volumes, we find a startling quote from the Latin teacher at the House of Education. She speaks of an approach to the language whereby “both students and children learn what is really Latin and realise that it is a language and not a mere grammar” (p. 213). Indeed, this same Latin teacher would later write that “Miss Mason saw [that] only in the actual literature of a language can the real joy of it be felt.”

Could Latin really be a joyful approach to the literature, hearts, and souls of countless persons across dozens of centuries and cultures? Probably not when it is seen merely as a means “to afford intellectual drill,” as claimed by an anonymous and undated PNEU document from a hundred years ago.

Imagine my surprise when our trusted and familiar tools for the study of English grammar suddenly came in handy as a way to illuminate a construction in Latin. The tables were turned. I sat in wonder, contemplating which language was helping which.

It is to me a parable of a bigger principle. When we study anything for utilitarian ends, we get something less than utility. On the other hand, when we study for the joy of learning, we get utility along the way. But we get something much, much more than that. Something that I burn with desire to share with others.


April 21, 2023

“Madonna and Child, by Serafina Greco.”

Serafina carved baby Jesus from a different piece of wood, and somehow made him fit perfectly in his mother’s arms.

The baby is removable, so we’re all set for next Advent! 💖

Any woodcarving adventures in your family lately?


April 22, 2023

“Spring is here. The warm sun has wooed the bare earth back to life and beauty. Like the tear-stained face of an infant, kissed by a fond mother’s lips, smiles have broken through the gloom at last.” (E.A. Smith, “My Garden”, PR16, p. 200)


April 23, 2023

“Go out now to meet Ahaz,” said the Lord to Isaiah. And so he went and delivered a message of warning: “The Lord will bring the king of Assyria upon you and your people and your father’s house.” But then Isaiah also delivered a message of hope:

“The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.”

Was this also a message for Ahaz and his people? Or was it a message for the whole world?

Cyril of Alexandria said that the law “was likened to a lamp.” It always burned in the tabernacle, but “on account of the shortness” of its rays, its light extended only to those geographically and culturally close enough to the tabernacle to “see” it. “Therefore the Gentiles were ‘in darkness,’ not having this lamplight.”

Isaiah didn’t say that a lamp was coming. He said a *light* was coming. And this light would be for the whole world. Drawing from this prophecy of Isaiah, Charlotte Mason reflects on a world in darkness, hungering not for a lamp but for a light. Read or hear it here.


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