The CMP Review — Week of January 1

The CMP Review — Week of January 1

January 1, 2024

Every January 1 my family goes on our annual First Day Hike. Somehow it seems special and set apart from all the other hikes and nature walks we go on throughout the rest of the year. Do you participate in First Day Hikes or have another tradition to kick off the new year?


January 2, 2024

Twenty-two years ago I was a young father with a little boy, my first child, aged two. My father-in-law called me aside. “How are you going to educate your son?” he asked. I had no idea. I had hopes and fears for the future, but I had no vision. I wanted the best for this young soul, but what was the best? And how on earth could I get him there?

My father-in-law told me that homeschooling was the answer. I followed his lead, but every step was an act of faith. Doubts and detractors plagued me every step of the way. Loved ones, strangers, and friends amplified and confirmed the darkest fears of my heart. I was not qualified to educate my own children. I was not able to educate my children. I was risking my son’s future on a hope and a prayer.

In the midst of this cloud of shadows I stepped forward in faith. From faith came a vision. From a vision came a plan. From a plan came a lifestyle. But no matter how crisp the vision became, it never told me exactly the future would hold.

But eventually the future gives way to the present. Eventually our looking forward becomes a looking backward. Eventually we reach our destination.

That little boy is now 24. And he agreed to sit down with me for a wide-ranging interview. Father and son at the microphone, me asking the questions and he giving the replies. What was it like to be homeschooled? What were the highlights and the low points? What was it like to go to college and to start a job? And most importantly, what would you say to the young father like me with a child in his arms and a hope in his heart? Come and listen as a father and a son look back. Find it here.


January 3, 2024

Sonya Shafer and I recently sat down to discuss my takeaways from following Charlotte Mason’s schedule for 30 days. I really appreciate Sonya’s questions as she focuses on the underlying principles of Charlotte’s personal timetable—which is much more than a productivity schedule. It supports a way of life that includes nurturing relationships with the people and things we value most and the new year has brought me to using the schedule once again.

Watch the interview from Simply Charlotte Mason here. And, if you want more of the nitty-gritty details of my experience, be sure to see “I Tried Charlotte’s Schedule for 30 Days” on our site at CMP.


January 4, 2024

When Montenegrin classical guitarist Miloš began planning his most recent album, he knew what the theme would be: music of the baroque. But interestingly, his vision was to make “an album of baroque without Bach.” Why would he leave out the most famous baroque composer of all? “Because originally I felt that Bach is something that I’m going to deal with later,” he explained, “and that deserves its own space and its own time and it just goes into that box.”

So Miloš began his “tour around Europe, … musically searching and picking and trying to find these pearls of the repertoire.” He looked at the music of Germany, London, and France. He hand-selected pieces by Handel, Vivaldi, Scarlatti, Couperin, and others.

And “when that whole process was over,” he recalled, “and when I had the arrangements, when I had the transcripts, when I was ready to sit there, I knew which Vivaldi movements I wanted to do… I felt like, this is so fascinating and is such a wonderful journey of different influences but in the end…”

In the end, something was missing. An album of eight composers and yet something was missing. And then he figured it out.

“The one thing that unites it all is Bach. And the moment I put the Chaconne in the mix, I felt that suddenly my solar system of composers and music had its sun, and that all of the other things were in that system like the planets are around the sun. Bach is the beginning and the end. It’s where it all comes together.”

And so his October 2023 album entitled Baroque includes a ninth composer: Johann Sebastian Bach.

Is your musical appreciation program missing its sun? Be sure to spend time with your children listening to Bach. Then it will all come together.


January 5, 2024

It’s always fun when we can finally skate on the river. This year the river was skatable about a month later than it was the last few years, so the children are extra excited about it!

Does your family like to skate?


January 6, 2024

Do you have New Year traditions? Filling those first days with the things we hope to spend the year doing is one of ours. So, we went on a few favorite hikes and my boys plotted out new trails to explore.


January 7, 2024

“In that Heart where every pain found its pity,” writes Charlotte Mason, “there was none for the three who tasted death—only for the grief that mourned them.”

One of the three Mason refers to, in this poignant passage from Formation of Character, is Lazarus.

In the poem “The Master delays,” Charlotte Mason envisions the moment Christ tells his disciples that Lazarus is asleep. “‘Sleep is good,’ say they, ‘none weeps for such reprieve.’” But Mason knew the Heart where every pain found its pity. She understood this Heart would weep. Read or hear the poem here.


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