Saturday, March 17, 2018

Little One, Sing Praise!

     A priest went forth in the early dawn. The sky was clear, and he watched the grass and the flowers wave in the breeze that rose as the sun threw its beams over the earth. Birds of all kinds vied with each other, as they say their joy on that glorious morning. The priest stood listening.
    Suddenly, off at one side, he heard a trill that rose higher and clearer than all the rest. He moved toward the place whence the song came, that he might see what manner of bird it was that could send farther than all the others its happy notes. 
     As he came near, he beheld a tiny brown bird with open bill, the feathers on its throat rippling with the fervor of its song. It was the wren, the smallest, the least powerful of birds, that seemed to be most glad and to pour out its melody to the rising sun its delight in life. 
     As the priest looked, he thought: " Here is a teaching for my people. Everyone can be happy; even the weakest can have his song of thanks." So the priest told his people the story of the wren, and it has been handed down from that day - a day so long ago that no man can remember the time.

                                           - From Our Birds and Their Nestlings

I can see by my last entry that it's been a long while since I put my thoughts out to you. In our house, winter is time of slow goings and small outside commitments. A form of "human" hibernation seems to be what we seasonally practice. But as the calendar ticks away the days and the chill of the winter air seems to have diminished, it is more evident that spring is nearly here. 

But the coming of spring is not a time to suddenly burst forth with overdue praise of Our Heavenly Father for finally releasing us from the strains of the blasted cold. Oh no, truly no matter the season whether it be the glorious new life seen in spring or the gentle ease of summer days or the bluster and brimming color of autumn or the chill and the bitter cold of winter, SING HIM PRAISE. And no matter our season of life as well; easy or hard, tender or callous, fatigued or rested, SING HIM PRAISE. And it doesn't have to be big praise. In the midst of many a challenging moment, give over to this notion even as we are yelling in frustration at some malfunction of life, say even in a stained and weak voice with gritted teeth; Thank you, God. 

Aren't we are all like little wrens, weak in many regards from our fallen nature, beaten up and down by the strains of living, yes. But aren't we also strong enough to sing our song of thanksgiving to our Heavenly Papa. Of course. He deserves and loves our praise to Him who has loved us so well. 

So when the snow has made it's final appearance and you spy a little wren outside your window or hear his call in the quiet of the early morning, join in on his song of praise and thank him, that dear little friend, for the reminder. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Charlotte Mason Study Guild Meetings for 2018

Hello Everyone 

 Please find below 2018’s meeting schedule. Please mark your calendars for the following dates: (we meet the 2nd Thursday of the month except for January's meeting, note the change below.)

Thursday, January 18th: Real Learning Chapter 5: The Art of Language Arts p. 55-63
Thursday, February 8th: Real Learning Chapter 6: Math with Meaning  p. 75
Thursday, March 8th: Real Learning Chapter 7: Blowing the Dust off History and Science p. 87-94
Thursday, April 12th: Real Learning Chapter 8: Religion p. 119
Thursday, May 10th: Real Learning Chapter 9, 10, 11: Creativity, Special Blessing, Sports p. 145-175
Thursday, June 14th: Real Learning Chapter 12: Practical Side of Atmosphere p. 187-194
Thursday, July 12th: Real Learning Chapter 13: Battling Back from Burnout p. 205
Thursday, August 9th : Real Learning Chapter 12: A Final Thought p. 227

New Book Study Begins in September: Teaching from Rest or The Outdoor Life of Children or Awakening Wonder. We’ll look at all three and decide during the summer which one to pursue.

Please feel free to contact me at with any questions. God Bless You!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Home is Where the Haven Is

John Constable (1776–1837), An Autumnal Landscape at East Bergholt (1805)

So often we forget that home is to be a haven from the outside world being so full of stress and pressures and worries and fears. Our home is to be a place to retreat to and find our rest, an island of calm from the tense world. But as we homeschool, this often is not the case. Home becomes an extension of the world instead of a retreat. Be watchful for this and if this is your state; repent, get back on course, ask forgiveness by your Heavenly Father and your family and begin again.

Remember the beat of our heart goes as this, A-gain, A-gain, A-gain, A-gain. Repent, a-gain, begin, a-gain...This is the human condition. We will never perfect our behaviors, but are more to continue toward having the occurrences happen with less frequency. (Don't worry you'll get it right about 10 minutes after you die. 😊)

So make your home a retreat, a haven, an island and when we don't, begin A-gain!

"Expectation is the root of all heartache."

Monday, October 9, 2017

Education is an Atmosphere

Just a quick reminder that the Guild meeting is this Thursday, Oct. 12 at 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at the Belmar Lakewood Panera Bread at a little south of Alameda and Wadsworth. Please bring paper and your copy of Real Learning by Elizabeth Foss if you have it. (if not copies will be distributed during the meeting) Please read Chapter 2 , the learning of education being an atmosphere, and if you could please highlight areas of interest or where the Holy Spirit moved your heart to take notice of this. Please also RSVP to this email you will be able to attend.

Also as you know the Charlotte Mason Study Guild  has recently changed to two meeting times a month. One meeting on the second Thursday of the month for the moms and the fourth Friday of the month for the children.

Who: Charlotte Mason Junior Study Guild of Denver
Date: FRIDAY Oct. 27, 2017
Time: 1:30 – 2:30 pm
Location: BELMAR Public Library, Lakewood
In the meeting room just inside the library’s front doors to the right all the way down hall
Theme: Nature Study and the Changing of the Seasons with Read Aloud, nature study and cool craft.
Ages: Pre K-8th grade (older children are asked to attend to assist littles as needed)

 Thank you all for your patience with me as I work out the kinks for locations and times.  Hope to see you there. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Come Wonder and Delight!

Hello everyone! Can you believe we are finishing up summer break and beginning another school year? Well, time doesn’t stand still and we must embrace the movement of it. But often there is anxiety at the pace and quality of the movement of life, don’t you think? Well, you are not alone, we all feel this way, and that is how the Charlotte Mason Study Guild of Denver came into existence. It came from a need to slow things down and notice the wonder, beauty, and goodness of the life we have been so graciously been given by Our Heavenly Father. In our guild, we take time to ponder and savor the loveliness of our lives and the lives we share with our families in our homeschool and in our everyday practices through studying the methods and philosophies of a 19th century British educator named Charlotte Mason. Our meetings are twice a month; the second Thursday evening for a moms’ book study and the last Wednesday of the month for a study/play time for our children. Below is the information for our upcoming meetings for September.

Our moms meetings will begin on Thursday, Sept.14th here in Lakewood at our local Panera Bread at Alameda and Wadsworth in the Belmar shopping district from 6:30-8:00 pm. We will be studying "Real Learning" by Elizabeth Foss once a month to continue a journey we started into Charlotte Mason's methods and philosophy six years ago when the guild came into existence. (*We realized that the book is very hard to find so moms generously donated a few books making so that we should have copies for everyone to share borrow for the year.) Our time together will be full rousing discussions and questions and answers as we better understand the methods and lifestyle Charlotte's work truly reflected and how to implement these desires to our homeschooled and to our everyday life. It's really a good time.

There will be no need to read the book ahead of time for the first meeting. I have attached a file here with the first chapter of Real Learning for us to begin our work. Oh, and if you have your own copy, please bring it. If you have a copy you would like to sell, donate or lend, please let me know at We are still looking for a few copies.  

Now for our children, we will be meeting on the last Wednesdays of the month which for September is September 27th at 1:30 pm to 2:15 pm at Lakewood Library in their front meeting room for a nature study read aloud and a hands on activity for all ages. RSVP is strong suggested to have enough supplies.

So that's it. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. God Bless! 😊

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Challenge Them, I Say!

To the rear march, to the rear march, hut two, three, four. Ok, what's going on you might be asking yourself. Well, I am in boot camp, everyone. Yep, I am in the Charlotte Mason Boot Camp for the next 4 weeks (already having completed 2 weeks) with Brandy Vencel, one of the advisers for Ambleside Online. We have been learning a great deal and really going deep into Charlotte Mason's thoughts about educating our children.

As we were studying last week, we came across this very interesting piece of information from Miss Mason's writings regarding the relationship between media and education. She wrote:

"Children of a poor school in the slums are eager to tell the whole story of the Waverly, falling continually into the beautiful language and style of the author. They talk about the Rosetta Stone and about treasures in their local museum; they discuss Coriolanus and conclude that "his mother must have spoiled him." They know by heart every detail of a picture by La Hooch, Rembrandt, Botticelli, and not only is no evolution of history or drama, no subtle sweetness, no inspiration of a poet, beyond them, but they decline to know that which does not reach them in literary form."

"What they receive under this condition they absorb immediately and show that they know by that test of knowledge which applies to us all, that is, they can tell it with power, clearness, vivacity, and charm. These are the children to whom we have been dolling out the 'three R's' for generations! Small wonder that juvenile crime increases; the intellectually starved boy must find food for his imagination, scope for his intellectual power; and crime like the cinema (movies, tv, computers; my addition) offers, it must be admitted, brave adventures. (A Philosophy of Education p. 63) 

Charlotte is saying in these two paragraphs that we can expose children of any background (good schools, poor schools, affluent financial means or meager) to the rich offerings of the world around us. Great literature, artists, music, and the like keeps the mind rich and engaged and excited for embracing life long learning. But if we just "drill and kill" and regularly expose the children to dry facts, true and false questions, fill in the blanks, or multiple choice we are certain to intellectually starve a child's mind and imagination. Thus the child must look to the "cinema" (movies, tv, computers and such) to aid him (her) on discovering and perusing brave adventures that are more exciting and interesting than that of the dry information he is receiving in his schooling. 

So be watchful... If your child is aching to watch tv or play computer games or can not wait to get his school done so he can get onto the more important things of his day, he/she may need more brave adventures and challenges in his homeschooling hours. So before you give in to those demands for more media, take a look at your books and your curriculum and see what needs tweaking to temper your child's need to look toward the virtual world for satisfaction. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Masterly Inactivity Looks Like a Cardboard Box

Charlotte Mason was very interested and concerned for a child's mind to be preserved in it's natural state of wonder, joy, and love for their life. Charlotte Mason was a great proponent of "masterly inactivity" which allows a child to be gently guided toward certain academic and imaginative ideas and then left to discover. But what does masterly inactivity look like. 

It looks like an eight year old little girl who finds out that her mom and dad have to go straight away to buy a new dishwasher as the old one started leaking into the basement. The little girl discovers that the new dishwasher comes not only with all the wonderful features of cleaning glory, but also with a precious, most magnificent cardboard box. This is the mother of all gifts, and she carefully slides the box into the playroom to become her portal into the world of imagination. Her mom brings her an armful of blankets and clothes and her dolls to leave her for the next bunch of hours while she discovers the wonderful things this box holds. Masterly inactivity also looks like when the little girl's twelve year old brother asks his little sister if he can spend the night in her box, and she is pleased that her brother understands the wonder of the box.  Masterly inactivity looks like a mom and dad who happily agree to him sleeping in the box providing him with a sleeping bag, pillow, lantern and a good night kiss. 

Homeschooling looks like a sleepy little twelve year old boy telling his little sister in the morning that he had the best night's sleep inside that box. :)

Practice masterly inactivity; guide, shape, move in when needed and retreat when you sense the timing is proper. Begin to know when it's time for hands on and when it's time for hands off. Know when to speak and when to be silent, being watchful for perpetual cackle. When to intervene in a child's playtime moment (like when they climb on the roof of the house to see the neighbors rooftop) and when to step back to let the child's imagination grow. (like the cardboard box sleep over) Masterly Inactivity well practiced would make Miss Mason proud, and your children quite happy.