The CMP Review — Week of June 12

The CMP Review — Week of June 12

June 12, 2023

“Consider, too, what an unequalled mental training the child-naturalist is getting for any study or calling under the sun—the powers of attention, of discrimination, of patient pursuit, growing with his growth, what will they not fit him for?” (Vol. 1 p. 61)


June 13, 2023

Laura Teeple had been reading Charlotte Mason’s books for a number of years. She was sensing that there was something more to Mason’s philosophy than the joy of nature study and living books. Then for her Graduate Diploma in Christian Studies at Regent College, she wrote a paper on Charlotte Mason.

In the process of her extensive research for her 2023 paper, she found a dizzying array of interpretations of Mason’s thought. Commentators often seemed to contradict one another. Teeple found that clarity could be enhanced by delving into Mason’s historical and theological context.

But then Teeple realized that “if Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy is to be understood, never mind practiced, more than a historical-theological contextualizing is required.” In a moment of stunning clarity, she grasped that “Mason must be understood as establishing, not primarily an educational philosophy, but a distinct Christian spirituality that … has a unique comprehensiveness and focus—the spirituality of mothers for the sake of their children.”

Charlotte Mason’s wonderful method is enjoying ever-increasing popularity around the world. But as wonderful as narration and habit formation may be, Teeple found something more. At the heart of the method is something exquisitely beautiful that gives it all life. Read or listen to Teeple’s inspiring and challenging paper, a paper which celebrates Mason’s glorious vision for the spirituality of motherhood. Find it here.


June 14, 2023

Emily Dickinson wrote at least a hundred poems containing bee imagery. Whenever I see a bee, this particular correspondence comes to mind:

Bee! I’m expecting you!
Was saying Yesterday
To Somebody you know
That you were due—

The Frogs got Home last Week—
Are settled, and at work—
Birds, mostly back—
The Clover warm and thick—

You’ll get my Letter by
The seventeenth; Reply
Or better, be with me—
Yours, Fly.

Do you have a favorite?


June 15, 2023

When I first heard that @tessakeath was working on an article for Common Place Quarterly on the topic of beauty, I felt no envy. How could one possibly write about a transcendental quality of Being in the short space of a journal article? The thought made my head hurt.

But the mystery of the transcendentals is that some people can understand them intuitively. A person who regularly produces creative and original art can shed bright, clear light on a topic that seems intractable to me. That’s what I found when I read Tessa Keath’s piece for this quarter’s Common Place Quarterly. She makes the profound accessible, and shows how to bring the transcendent home to our children.

Featuring original cover art by @rbaburina, the “Beauty” issue is one to get, read, enjoy, and keep.


June 16, 2023

We are so excited that it is this time of year again.

Last year we had very few monarch butterflies around. It was terribly sad.

This year it seems like there aren’t as many as there were in 2021, but we have found a few dozen caterpillars feasting at our campus milkweed patch.

Here’s hoping that we get to observe the chrysalises and the monarchs emerging!


June 17, 2023

While traipsing through the woods behind our house we found this cool birch tree trunk on the ground.


Isn’t it just amazing how they make holes in straight lines like this?


June 18, 2023

The Gospel of John records some of the sharpest verbal clashes between Jesus and his auditors. In an explosive incident exposited by Samuel Ngewa, Jesus’s listeners “were indignant at Jesus’ suggestion that they did not have the same father as his. They insisted that Abraham was their Father.”

“So Jesus pointed out that sonship to Abraham and a desire to kill Jesus were in contradiction,” explains Ngewa. “Abraham, a friend of God who is the Father of Jesus, would not do that. Their actions showed that they could not claim Abraham as their father… As the Akamba say, mauta ma kwivaka mainoasya [‘oil applied on the body does not make one fat’].”

In Charlotte Mason’s poem on this sobering passage, she calls on readers to “Rise up, come forth; Behave as Abraham’s seed, and quit the place Where sinners be.” Read or hear Mason’s poem and apply oil not to the body, but to the heart. Find it here.


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