The CMP Review — Week of January 30

The CMP Review — Week of January 30

January 30, 2023

“I know that all good teachers have some study each day in preparing for the next day’s work, but, besides this, study some two or three subjects, definitely on your own account. Do not think this a selfish thing to do, because the advantage does not end with yourself.” (Charlotte Mason, L’Umile Pianta, January, 1896, p. 4)


January 31, 2023

Winnifred Laurence was just doing what she had been trained to do. She had studied at the House of Education under teachers who had known Miss Mason herself. Now she was running her own small school for Forms I and II. Just like she was supposed to.

Then suddenly everything changed. One morning a person showed up. The only thing was, this was a little person. She was only four years old.

“I shall never forget my own dismay on the first arrival of this minute person,” she recalled. “Whatever does one do with her? I thought; such a contingency had never before come my way. However Miss 4 was perfectly composed, said farewell to her mother without a tremor, and marched into the schoolroom and into our hearts, where she still remains a very definite entity.”

Miss Laurence realized that to handle this new crisis she needed to “fall back with relief to the stableness of Miss Mason’s teaching.” Her story of how she expanded her school to include a playroom for little ones is deeply inspiring and informative. Certainly it is required reading for anyone organizing a Charlotte Mason homeschool co-op or school.

But the value of Laurence’s story goes further. “Our class is a comfortable size to be run as a large family,” she wrote. That was the brilliance of her plan. Since she modeled her school on a family, her discoveries apply to anyone whose school is, in fact, a family.

When you’re doing your formal lessons with your big kids, does a four-year-old ever poke her head in the door? Let Miss Laurence tell you what to do. Listen or read her story here.


February 1, 2023

One of the sagest pieces of PNEU advice I’ve received is never to announce a “nature walk,” but to give a purpose to going out.

“Let’s check the progress on the beaver dam” or “Let’s see if the blackberries are ripe” was always sure to elicit my boys’ excitement.

So, if your kids balk at nature walks, try giving a purpose to the going out. Once outdoors, their natural curiosity and nature’s surprises will often lead to enjoyment and learning.


February 2, 2023

In 1895 Emeline Steinthal published her “Complete Course of Brush-Drawing.” At the time she was the Secretary of the PNEU and a close friend of Charlotte Mason. Shortly after its publication a notice appeared in the Parents’ Review:

“Perhaps most readers of the Parents’ Review have been inspired by Mrs. Steinthal’s lectures on Brush-Drawing, and will rejoice to have a definite course of lessons from her hand,” wrote Miss Mason. “We hope all our readers will get the Course.”

As with many handbooks and courses, the spirit of Steinthal’s work is timeless but the presentation reflects a particular time and place. With the care of a historian and the flair of an artist, Richele Baburina has painstakingly brought forward the spirit of Steinthal’s course in a form that speaks to a new generation. The second edition published by Simply Charlotte Mason even includes companion videos to demonstrate the lessons, something Steinthal could only have dreamed of.

Awash with nature and history, this beautiful course is the efflorescence of the PNEU. It brought our family closer together as we enjoyed brush drawing lessons every Sunday. And I have to wonder. If it could teach an old software engineer to paint winter weeds, imagine what it could teach your children to do.


February 3, 2023

Our daughter has never really taken part in any kind of organized sport before, but this year she decided to try out curling.

It’s an extremely popular sport here in Manitoba Canada and we have this quaint curling rink right in town. It’s a beginner-friendly sport and the kids are having so much fun!

Has your family ever curled? Do you have a curling rink nearby?

Do you know what curling is?

“Hurry hard!” 🥌


February 4, 2023

Did you know the way you mount your nature specimen can actually help your painting?

  • Using paper the same shade as your nature journal pages aids in determining color.
  • Mounting the object upright will help with perspective.
  • Placing it a few feet away allows you to consider its form and gesture without being overly distracted by minute detail.

I hope these tips help with your next nature journaling session. Happy painting!


February 5, 2023

Isaiah “should be called an evangelist rather than a prophet,” wrote St. Jerome, “because he describes all the mysteries of Christ and the church so clearly that one would think he is composing a history of what has already happened rather than prophesying what is to come.”

When Charlotte Mason read Isaiah 55, she saw not a prediction of the future but an account of the past. She saw the day that Christ stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”

J. Paterson-Smyth reflects on how Christ continues to call out even to this day:

His voice still comes as we tramp on,
With a sorrowful fall in its pleading tones:
“Thou wilt tire in the dreary ways of sin,
I left My home to bring thee in.
In its golden street are no weary feet,
Its rest is pleasant, its songs are sweet.”
And we shout back angrily, hurrying on
To a terrible home where rest is none:
“We want not your city’s golden street,
Nor to hear its constant song.”
And still Christ keeps on loving us, loving all along.
Rejected still, He pursues each one.

Charlotte Mason’s poem captures the voice of the One who rejected still, still pursues each one. Read or hear it here.


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