Ancient Paths Schoolhouse

"This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls."

(Jeremiah 6:16)


by William Bouguereau
"Charity" depicts a woman caring for and protecting young children- giving them her nurturing and knowledge. The nurturing is represented by her bared breasts...illustrating her willingness to give of herself for their well being. Under her left foot is an overturned jug with gold and silver coins flowing out of it. This symbol reveals that there is no cost too great for their happiness. By her right foot a boy is leaning on a pile of books, showing her intent to educate them and give them the gift of knowledge. (Interpretation from the Art Renewal Site)

Let us so care for, nurture and educate the little ones entrusted to us. Remember Charlotte's words: "For the Children's Sake".

"For the Children's Sake"

"For the Children's Sake"
Miss Mason

The Rule of the Home School

"Brisk work and ample leisure and freedom should be the rule of the Home School. " Miss Mason, Vol. 3, pg. 297

My AO Year 1 Scholar

True Education- Every day children should have:

*Something to Love: through knowledge of their Creator by listening to the Holy Scriptures and Bible Stories, they may develop an intimate relationship with and love for God, who loved us first; love from mother through focused attention and affection; schoolroom "pets" to care for.

*Something to Do: worthwhile, meaningful work: household chores (which are meaningful because they make life more pleasant for everyone) and academic/ disciplinary work (arithmetic, piano practice, etc); opportunities to create or produce beautiful things through art and handicrafts; imaginative play with open-ended toys and ample leisure and freedom.

*Something to Think About: whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy, think on these things. (Phil. 4:8) The child shall think about such things through the ideas found in the books they read; through God's attributes as seen in His artwork- the majesty of nature; and through the beauty in man's art-music, pictures and words.

If a child has had all three of the above during his school day, he has been educated that day.

"Life should be all living, and not merely a tedious passing of time; not all doing or all feeling or all thinking- the strain would be too great- but all living." (Charlotte Mason)
"The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next."
-Abraham Lincoln

School Motto: "I am, I can, I ought, I will"

This was the motto CM used in her schools.

"I AM"- I am made in the image of God, the greatest thing in His creation. I am His workmanship and created in Christ Jesus to do good works. (Ephesians 2:10)

"I CAN"- I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. God has given me abilities which make me capable of doing the good works He has created me to do. (Phil 4:13)

"I OUGHT"- I ought to love the Lord with all my heart, soul and mind and love my neighbor as myself.
I ought to do what is right. It is my sense of duty — a sense of what is right and wrong. My conscience can be numbed by continuous wrong thinking. (Mark 12:30-31)

"I WILL"- I will forget myself and do what is right. Realizing my infinite worth, God given capabilities and the right actions God desires for me, I am assured that I can “will” myself, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to do what needs to be done. (Psalm 119:30-32)

God has created us and He has equipped us for every good work. He has given us a moral conscience and His Word to know right from wrong and He has enabled us to choose to follow His commands.

Print out CM motto cards here

Click on picture

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

First Grade Curriculum

Bible, Literature (Tales, Fables, etc), Phonics/Reading,
German, World History, American History, Arithmetic, Singing (Hymns, Folk Songs, German), Character Stories, Habit Training, Geography and Mapwork, Handwriting, Picture Study/Art Appreciation, Science/Nature Stories, Poetry, Recitation, Scripture Memory, Read Alouds (Children's Novels), Sol-fa/Music, Timeline Notebook, Nature Study/Journal, Handicrafts (Clay Modeling, Doll Making, Sew/Knit, Woodwork), Art Lessons, Hero Admiration /Saint Stories, Life Skills (Chores, Home Economics),
Ballet, Drawing, Music Instrument Lessons (Piano, Recorder), Drill/Exercise, Composer Study/Music Appreciation.

How do we fit all these subjects into our year? Short lessons (10-20 minutes for most lessons) and we school around the whole year.

Why have I planned so many areas of learning for my scholar? Read Charlotte's own words:

"Because the relationships a child is born to are very various, the knowledge we offer him must be various is a mistake to suppose that the greater the number of 'subjects' the greater the scholar's labor; the contrary is the case as the variety in itself affords refreshment...not the number of subjects but the hours of work bring fatigue to the scholar; and bearing this in mind, we have short hours. (V 6, p 157-8)

We wish to place before the child open doors to many avenues of instruction and delight...he is eclectic; he may choose this or that; our business is to supply him with due abundance and variety and his to take what he needs...we never know just where a child's talents lie, until we give him a variety of opportunities and a wide curriculum...we owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests. The question is not,-how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education-but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?" (Charlotte Mason)

Charlotte advocated short lessons for younger children: fifteen or twenty minutes at the most. These short lessons are part of training children in the habit of attention. Children can get a lot accomplished in fifteen minutes of complete attention (so can adults). Along with the short lessons should come a large variety of subjects, alternating the quieter, concentration-intense subjects with the louder, less-concentration-intense subjects and those that allow for physical movement and exercise. (SCM Website)

"A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six"

A reprint of a curriculum outline from a CM school in the 1890's.

1. To recite, beautifully, 6 easy poems and hymns
2. to recite, perfectly and beautifully, a parable and a psalm
3. to add and subtract numbers up to 10, with dominoes or counters
4. to read--what and how much, will depend on what we are told of the child
5. to copy in print-hand from a book
6. to know the points of the compass with relation to their own home, where the sun rises and sets, and the way the wind blows
7. to describe the boundaries of their own home
8. to describe any lake, river, pond, island etc. within easy reach 9. to tell quite accurately (however shortly) 3 stories from Bible history, 3 from early English, and 3 from early Roman history
10. to be able to describe 3 walks and 3 views
11. to mount in a scrap book a dozen common wildflowers, with leaves; to name these, describe them in their own words, and say where they found them.
12. to do the same with leaves and flowers of 6 forest trees
13. to know 6 birds by song, color and shape
14. to send in certain handiwork, as directed
15. to tell three stories about their own "pets"--rabbit, dog or cat.
16. to name 20 common objects in French, and say a dozen little sentences
17. to sing one hymn, one French song, and one English song
18. to keep a caterpillar and tell the life-story of a butterfly from his own observations.

*We are learning German instead of French

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Who Was Charlotte Mason?

"The homeschool movement is gaining momentum all over the world, and many home educators are looking back to the ideas of Charlotte Mason as a compass for teaching their own children. Charlotte Mason was an educator who lived in England from 1841-1923. She established schools to train governesses and parents how to teach their children at home. Her ideas were at the time quite revolutionary. She considered children to be people who were capable of studying advanced topics in science, math, literature, art, and music, even at very young ages. She also had a passion for nature and beauty which is evident in her writings." (CM Headquaters)

"The many people who personally knew Charlotte Mason loved her deeply and were able to describe her in vivid detail...Young and old alike found her to be inspirational, humorous and humble...From the royal family on down, the entire country felt her influence. Sir Michael Sadler wrote, “She threw ‘a shaft of light across the land.’”
Her love of children was so evident that it could not be ignored and was often viewed as her most profound attribute. This love formed into a deep concern that children would develop a lifetime love of learning. She based her philosophy on the Latin word for education, ‘educare’ which means ‘to feed and nourish.’ (Catherine Levison)

“Her face was full of light, of wide sympathy and understanding, of delicate humor and gentleness and love...It is not yet the time to measure up her whole achievement. The full harvest is not yet. But there is enough to justify the confidence that posterity will see in her a great reformer, who led the children of the nation out of a barren wilderness into a rich inheritance . . . the children of many generations will thank God for Charlotte Mason and her work.” (The Story of Charlotte Mason)

“In loving memory of Charlotte Maria Shaw Mason, Born Jan 1 1842, died Jan 16 1923, Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty. Founder of the Parents National Educational Union, The Parents Union School and The House of Education. She devoted her life to the work of education, believing that children are dear to our heavenly Father, and that they are a precious national possession. Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life. I am, I can, I ought, I will. For the children’s sake.”

~Written on Charlotte's gravestone

Favorite Books on Education

Click on any of the books to learn more...
"Great character comes out of great thoughts and...great thought must be initiated by great thinkers; then we shall have a definite aim in education." (Charlotte Mason, V6, p 275)

"Knowing that the brain is the physical seat of habit and that conduct and character, alike, are the outcome of the habits we allow; knowing, too, that an inspiring idea imitates a new habit of thought, and hence a new habit of life; we perceive that the great work of education is to inspire children with vitalizing ideas as to every relation of life, every department of knowledge, every subject of thought; and to give deliberate care to the formation of those habits of the good life which are the outcome of vitalizing ideas."

Nature Notebooks

"As soon as a child is old enough, he should keep his own nature notebook for his enjoyment. Every day's walk will give something interesting to add--three squirrels playing in a tree, a bluejay flying across a field, a caterpillar crawling up a bush, a snail eating a cabbage leaf, a spider suddenly dropping from a thread to the ground, where he found ivy and how it was growing and what plants were growing with it, and how ivy manages to climb." (V1 p54)