The CMP Review — Week of April 24

The CMP Review — Week of April 24

April 24, 2023

“It is helpful to remember that we don’t have to do everything or have everything. … Today we have so overcomplicated and stressed our lives, minds, and bodies with the “too much” that we’ve lost a “pearl of great price”: the basics of wholesome everyday life at home. A balanced life.” (Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, For the Family’s Sake)


April 25, 2023

There’s always a temptation to reduce the Charlotte Mason method to a curriculum. (Or to a curriculum and a time-table.) You’d think that when you’ve got the right books, at the right time, and used in the right way, then you’ve got a Charlotte Mason education…

…. but as we read the volumes, we find that Charlotte Mason also gave guidance to parents for a kind of education that takes place outside of lesson time. And it’s not just habit formation — it’s another kind of learning.

One of those special kinds of learning is the “education of the senses.” I confess that many times I’ve read the chapters that discuss this activity, but I’ve struggled to understand exactly how and why to put it into practice in our modern world.

Thankfully, some contemporary parent-teachers have incorporated the “education of the senses” into the lifestyles of their families. One such parent is sharing her story today. If you’d like more of the Charlotte Mason method outside of just lesson time, check this out. Very inspirational and very practical, it may help you give your children a gift they will cherish for life. Find it here.


April 26, 2023

You guys! I don’t know which I’m more excited about—this Dover Thrift edition of Willa Cather’s O Pioneers, or the adorable mobile art and bookstore where it was found!

Imagine the rear door of an average-looking moving truck rolling up to reveal a place of whimsy and wonder! The loading ramps are replaced by wooden steps with a turquoise bannister and, as I climbed them, I felt the magic of Jemima Potts climbing into Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

It is so wonderful to see the traveling wonder and people behind Books & Cleverness!


April 27, 2023

In 1911, Charlotte Mason wrote to Henrietta Franklin about the Parents’ Review: “When you and I are gone, the P.R. will be long quoted and made much of in the annals of Education.” Sometimes I get a strange feeling that our community is playing a part in the fulfillment of this prophecy. There is so much to quote in the P.R. — it’s filled with living ideas!

But I like to dig behind the ideas to find the people who wrote the articles. I try to penetrate the fog to find something about the story of the mother, father, or teacher who wrote a particular article. And at occasional moments another strange feeling comes to my heart.

I start to think that these parents and teachers were in many ways like us. Yes they loved their children and their students. But they also felt they were part of something bigger. That perhaps in some way, they were fulfilling a prophecy too. They poured their hearts and their time into this journal because they believed in the vision that Miss Mason had put before them.

Lurking in the recesses of those pages, I find more than ideas. I find dreams. And that motivates me to keep working, to do my part to bring those dreams to fruition. To make the P.R. forever quoted and made much of in the annals of education.

One evening the rest my the family was away and I was determined to record a 27-page P.R. article for the podcast. I was only 2 or 3 pages in when the power went out. Night fell and I wondered how I could complete my task. But then I reasoned that I didn’t need electricity for light. And so there I was in the darkness recording by candlelight deep into the night.

That’s the way it is with dreams. They don’t need power. They only need a flame.


April 28, 2023

Sound on for a spring symphony of song! (Well, it’s Manitoba, so let’s call it a getting-towards-the-end-of-winter symphony.)

Anyone you recognize?


April 29, 2023

Yesterday I got to experience birding with world-class ornithologist Dr. Fred Alsop and my fellow Tennessee Naturalist Program students.

We had a once in a lifetime encounter with a white-breasted nuthatch defending his territory. He was indeed chivalrous and brave.

Volume up to hear the warning call of this beautiful bird amidst the chatter of large vocal vertebrates.


April 30, 2023

Readers of Charlotte Mason recognize John Ruskin as the author of “Mornings in Florence,” the book that illuminated the fresco in the Spanish Chapel of Santa Maria Novella, the fresco that is forever linked with Charlotte Mason’s “Great Recognition.” Ruskin was certainly qualified to write about art; he is widely held to be the leading art critic of the Victorian era.

How many great works of art did Ruskin behold in Florence and beyond? Across a gallery of galleries, Ruskin said that one painting was “for him the greatest work of sacred art ever produced.” Was it perhaps a glorious fresco? A renaissance masterpiece? A holy treasure in Rome?

No. It was Holman Hunt’s 1854 “The Light of the World,” now held in the chapel of Keble College. For Hunt, the work began with the lantern. “The windows and openings had to be carefully studied in relation to the rays they would emit from the central light,” he explained. Hunt wrote up a design and asked an artisan to craft it. The copper model still exists.

Aurélie Petiot explains that “the lantern … illuminates the door at which Christ has just knocked, thus symbolizing salvation.” This light is the subject of Charlotte Mason’s poem which we share today. Mason chose Holman’s painting to accompany this poem in her book. In the light of Holman’s carefully-crafted lantern, we see that the door can only be opened from inside. In her poem, Mason notes that some choose to keep their door closed. And so outside remains a lantern shining more brightly than the sun.

Read or hear it here.

source: The Pre-Raphaelites by Aurélie Petiot

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