The CMP Review — Week of March 13

The CMP Review — Week of March 13

March 13, 2023

“A book may be long or short, old or new, easy or hard, written by a great man or a lesser man, and yet be the living book which finds its way to the mind of a young reader. The expert is not the person to choose; the children themselves are the experts in this case. A single page will elicit a verdict; but the unhappy thing is, this verdict is not betrayed; it is acted upon in the opening or closing of the door of the mind.” — Charlotte Mason (vol. 3 p. 228)

📷 @aolander

March 14, 2023

Of all the elements that make up a Charlotte Mason education, habit training may be the one where there is the biggest gulf between theory and practice. It all sounds so good on paper. Just form some habits in my children and then family life will run on smooth and easy rails off into the sunset. But wait… how exactly do I do that again?

When it comes to the practical side of forming all those wonderful habits, there are a lot of places parents can turn to for tips — or hacks. There are some great new books, some neat testimonials, and some interesting advice floating around. Much of it is helpful, for sure.

René du Plessis is a contemporary homeschooling mother who wanted to bridge that gap between theory and practice. She decided to look an an interesting place for advice: Charlotte Mason’s own writings. There in the volumes she found the hacks she needed — three of them, in fact. And now she’s been kind enough to write them up and record them for us. Tune in to get some help in the form of three habit hacks drawn directly from the Home Education Series. Find it here.


March 15, 2023

The metric system was given the motto, “For all the people, all the time,” because working in tens is so logical that it can be used and understood by everyone—not just scientists and engineers.

Irene Stephens, who headed up the teaching of math in Charlotte’s schools, states that children take to the metric system as “ducks to water” and both children and teachers “are always delighted when metric measures are involved.” As an American who didn’t learn the metric system in elementary school, its inclusion—beginning in Book 4 of the CMEA series—is a real highlight for me.

See what else is included in Book 4 of The Charlotte Mason Elementary Arithmetic series from @simplycharlottemason and download a free sample here!


March 16, 2023

Charlotte Mason did not live to see her final volume published. But she left behind plans for it. She originally conceived that it would be composed of three “books” each with multiple chapters. But when the volume was finally published, it didn’t quite turn out that way.

Instead of three “books,” the volume ended up with only two books and a “Supplementary.” And the Supplementary contained only a single (but a very fine) chapter. Not included was the chapter meant to follow “Too Wide a Mesh.” A chapter taken from a paper Mason had written in 1910. A paper she carefully edited for volume 6 and left in her files. A paper that Elsie Kitching preserved.

Three years after the publication of Towards a Philosophy of Education, the ever-faithful Kitching applied Mason’s edits and published “Two Educational Ideals,” first in the Parents’ Review and then as a standalone booklet. For years the booklet appeared in PNEU book lists, just a few titles after volume 6, its originally intended home. It was reprinted again in the 1940 Parents’ Review, and then was gradually lost to oblivion.

Or so it seemed. But some papers are too good for oblivion. For the first time in history an edition of Towards a Philosophy of Education has been published that fulfills Mason’s original vision. Instead of a “Supplementary” there is a “Book III,” and instead of ending with “Too Wide a Mesh,” it includes “Two Educational Ideals.”

Mason wrote and edited her paper so it would be remembered, not so it would be forgotten. I am so thankful to @smidgenpress for bringing the past back to life. Find out about all the lovely versions of this new edition here.


March 17, 2023

Serafina and I spent a lovely afternoon at the @manitobamuseum. Our highlight here was The Nonsuch gallery area.

The actual Nonsuch was a merchant ship built in 1650. It sailed to Hudson Bay from England in 1668 and was instrumental in the establishment of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

This full-sized sea-worthy replica was built in England in 1968, from whence it sailed 14,000 km of salt and fresh water. Once it arrived in Winnipeg in 1974, they built the Museum around it! How cool is that?!?

You get to walk on the ship to explore it. We got to get a closer look at the sails and rigging, the cargo holds, and even the captain’s sleeping quarters.


March 18, 2023

We’re currently experiencing Redbud Winter here in Tennessee—a cold snap when the Redbud trees are in bloom. It follows warm spring temps that trick non-natives like me (and this ornamental pear tree) into packing our sweaters away too soon.

One down, five more Tennessee “Little Winters” to go!


March 19, 2023

“In the deep of winter, Herman looked at a barren tree, stripped of leaves and fruit, waiting silently and patiently for the sure hope of summer abundance. Gazing at the tree, Herman grasped for the first time the extravagance of God’s grace and the unfailing sovereignty of divine providence. Like the tree, he himself was seemingly dead, but God had life waiting for him, and the turn of seasons would bring fullness. At that moment, he said, that leafless tree ‘first flashed in upon my soul the fact of God,’ and a love for God that never after ceased to burn.”

That burning love prompted Herman to join the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Paris where he forever became known as Brother Lawrence.

“Men invent means and methods of coming at God’s love,” he wrote; “they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God’s presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him?”

Perhaps it was simple for him. But is it simple for us? Perhaps the key lies in the words of his second conversation in The Practice of the Presence of God: “We ought to make a great difference between the acts of the understanding and those of the will; that the first were comparatively of little value, and the others all.”

Those words found their way into a poem by Charlotte Mason. And they find a home deep in the heart of her method. Do you believe in with your understanding, or do you believe with your will? For Brother Lawrence, it made all the difference in the world. And it did for Charlotte Mason too. Read or hear her poem here.

📷 @aolander


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