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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

CM Blog Carnival - Education is a Discipline

Many of you surely already know that the latest Charlotte Mason blog carnival {Education is a Discipline, vol.1} is up over at Simply Charlotte Mason!  If not, head on over there by clicking here (for some strange reason the blog carnival site seems to be malfunctioning, not displaying the links and widgets properly. Hopefully, they'll get that fixed soon).

I'm so excited, as I'm sure many of you are, to read through all the posts. A special thanks to Sonya for doing us a great favor by hosting this time around! The topic of 'Education is a Discipline' is SO near and dear to my heart!! However, being away at the beach for a week of restful seclusion, I went and got myself so relaxed that I even forgot what day it was!! I realized I hadn't even posted for this edition!  Well, it will be late in coming, but I do plan to post :) 

Do enjoy the carnival and please make sure to add to the conversation by leaving comments on the various posts if you have the time. :) 

The next carnival's theme & suggested (optional) reading are:  
Education is a Life
The deadline for post submissions for this carnival is: 5pm on April 4th, 2011
For more info about the carnival and upcoming topics see the CM blog carnival info page.

Friday, March 11, 2011

romeo and juliet

Frederick Leighton - The Reconciliation of the Montagues and Capulets over the Dead Bodies of Romeo and Juliet

This term with Ambleside Online, we'll be reading Romeo and Juliet in planes, in cars, or wherever we are (add an '+s' if you will, for the sake of the perfect rhyme).

Get your copy online for free here or here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival: Education is an Atmosphere, vol.1

Welcome to the March 8, 2011 edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog carnival!

In this edition, we'll be thinking about and taking a good look at the air we breathe in our homes.
(I know, I know, you can't actually see air. It's just that, well, you'll see...)
Here, this quote says it a lot better than I can:
“'Education is an atmosphere'” what the mind breathes. The air that we breathe is the medium that surrounds us; the atmosphere our spirits breathe is the medium that surrounds them; in short, it is our environment.”
A.T. Schofield, Esq., M.D. (Chairman, Executive Parents' National Educational Union)
So in that way, an educational atmosphere is a lot like air isn't it? It surrounds us, it's mostly intangible and yet it effects our children both inside and out. 

We've had perhaps a record number of submissions this time, so let's go ahead and get right to them.  Do you have your cuppa something ready?  If you're anything like me, it may actually take a couple days to get all the way through, but you know, I rather like it that way, don't you?  :)

(Just a wee note: because of the sheer volume of submissions, I've opted to simply list them more or less in the order they came in, I didn't even have a chance this time to read all the posts ahead, so I'll be enjoying them all right alongside the rest of ye!  Don't forget to leave comments on the various posts, if you have a second!!)

: : 

Nancy presents Plants of Renown (on the reading) and Consider posted at Sage Parnassus
saying, "I think this fits, as Mason's students were preoccupied with the furniture, and that isn't necessarily what makes for good atmosphere!

Nadene presents A Beautiful Home Atmosphere, "Reflecting on what makes a Beautiful Home Atmosphere ..."

Jennifer presents A Little February Check-up and Freshening in the Learning Spaces posted at Wildflowers and Marbles.

Richele presents Under the Golden Apple Tree: Sometimes....

Barb presents It's An Atmosphere - Charlotte Mason Ideas in Our Homeschool

Lanaya presents On Staying at Home.

MamaChi presents Life is not a series of tasks to be accomplished, "A reminder about enjoying life and not letting "doing" become more important than "be-ing""

Shirley Ann presents Education is an Atmosphere - Revisited

Melissa presents Every look of disappointment and tone of disapproval

Blossom presents Learning in any Atmosphere

Sonya presents Do Not Sit Up Late: Three Practical Do Not’s, Part 1

-- I don't know about the rest of you, but how tired I am seriously affects my atmosphere!!  :S --

Kay presents Father and Son | Pelham House saying, "This post illustrates the atmosphere in which our son is educated. A few CM phrases that apply: "It stultifies a child to bring down his world to the child's level" "no artificial element" "The bracing atmosphere of truth and sincerity" "the glow of intellectual life and moral health on the faces" (pumptitude, as I put it :) An atmosphere of respect and that we value him as a whole person."

Michelle presents Our Educational Atmosphere.

Laura presents An Education within Our Atmosphere.

Jodi-Marie presents My Art Full Life: Philosophy of Education Ch. 6 Pt. 1 Education is an Atmosphere saying, "This is my own "narration" of Vol. 6 that I have been working on this year."

Rachael presents Working on an Atmosphere.

Tricia presents Automobiles and Airplanes: An Atmosphere of Learning saying, "Learning provided for us more than I've ever put together on my own as a teacher!"

Laura presents Christian Education is an Atmosphere.

Gina presents Lets Work on the Atmosphere (Education is an Atmosphere).

Erin presents Education is An Atmosphere.

Amber presents What's In Our Atmosphere?.

Dawn presents Creating Home Atmosphere....

Yours Truly :) presents Education is an Atmosphere {part one} and {part two}.

Miscellaneous interesting topics:

Naomi presents Early Blooms and Flower Clocks posted at Living Charlotte Mason in California, saying, "It's really more nature study, but what better atmosphere than the one God created for us!!"

Shirley Ann presents Walking Back Through Time... saying, "After our last living history fieldtrip, we were blessed to be able to visit some more living sites that we have read about in our Island Story! One was quite enlightening!"

Barb presents Nature Loving in February-It's For the Birds saying, "Off topic but I hope readers will enjoy my finds from the Nature Study Review. :)

Blossom presents AO and My Favorite Books (so far) saying, "This is a post on a few of our favorite books that we use with Charlotte Mason education (AO)."

Jamie presents How Effective Are Living Books?

Jennifer in MamaLand presents Ambleside Composer Fun: Free Chopin Printable Mini-Book.

Robin Phillips presents Home School and Pets: How to Use Your Animals in Your Curriculum, Part 1.

Melissa presents Bible Plus Three saying, "When moms allow themselves a respite for refreshment by exploring their own interests and passions...finding a bit of time for herself, she is positively contributing to the atmosphere of her home!".

Amanda presents Harmony Fine Arts Review.

I'm pretty sure the following is a spam post?  But it's actually pretty interesting.  :)

Kevin presents The History of Libraries Through the Ages.

This concludes this edition of the Charlotte Mason blog carnival!  A huge thanks to everyone who submitted a post, and to all of you who read and leave comments... it's the community that's makes it so fun!

: :  

-- click here to see the list of upcoming topics --

: :

The next carnival will be on March 22nd at Simply Charlotte Mason
(Submit your blog article here using our carnival submission form.)

Our topic is: Education is a Discipline 
Suggested Reading (optional): 

PS. If you submitted a post and it's missing or you were a smidge late (after 5pm Monday) please link to it in the comments... the blog carnival program seems to be malfunctioning and I'm not positive I've got them all. My sincere apologies!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Education is an Atmosphere {part two}

“...we should take into account the educational value of his natural home atmosphere, both as regards persons and things, and should let him live freely among his proper conditions.”
CM. Vol. 1, pg. 6

Just as earth's atmosphere is made up of a number of gases (mainly two), many elements go into the composition of an educational atmosphere. Many of which are present whether we like it or not. :) An educational atmosphere is composed of both persons and things. Persons include – a personal God (dynamic relationship exemplified by caregivers through regular prayer, natural mention in conversation, decision making, etc), parental example and influence (character, manners, habits), sibling relation and influence, other relationships – arbitrary (neighbors, the checker at the grocery store, playmates at the park, etc) or predetermined (nursing home facilities, extended family members, etc).

photo by: tsparks

We and the circle of people our children regularly come into contact with each compose a portion of our atmosphere so to speak. The various attitudes and habits combining to make up that mixture of air that we and our children breathe.
“We have already considered a group of half physical habits––order, regularity, neatness––which the child imbibes, so to speak, in a way. But this is not all: habits of gentleness, courtesy, kindness, candour, respect for other people, or––habits quite other than these, are inspired by the child as the very atmosphere of his home, the air he lives in and must grow by.”
CM Vol.1 pg.137

People have an incredible influence on the educational atmosphere, especially parents, in how they set the tone for learning, in particular when it comes to interpersonal relationships, but also in regard to expectations and standards of education. Is education a pleasant occupation? Is it satisfactory to put forth a minimum effort? What kind of knowledge is desirable? How do we go about acquiring that knowledge? Is there only one way to do things? How we answer these questions may be an indicator of what kind of atmosphere is present in our homes.
“How shall these indefinite ideas which manifest themselves in appetency be imparted? They are not to be given of set purpose, nor taken at set times. They are held in that thought-environment which surrounds the child as an atmosphere, which he breathes as his breath of life; and this atmosphere in which the child inspires his unconscious ideas of right living emanates from his parents. Every look of gentleness and tone of reverence, every word of kindness and act of help, passes into the thought-environment, the very atmosphere which the child breathes; he does not think of these things, may never think of them, but all his life long they excite that 'vague appetency towards something' out of which most of his actions spring. Oh, wonderful and dreadful presence of the little child in the midst!”
CM vol. 2 pg. 37

photo by: me :)

Many things influence the educational atmosphere, among which are healthy air and food, things of beauty: art, décor, music, nature, etc.; items of interest: maps, pets to play with and observe (aquarium), etc.; tools for observation: microscope, magnifying glass, binoculars, etc.; tools to create with and for expression: musical instruments, quality art supplies, woodcraft tools, sewing things, etc.

“..suppose that all this is included in our notion of 'Education is an atmosphere,' may we not sit at our ease and believe that all is well, and that the whole of education has been accomplished? No; because though we cannot live without air, neither can we live upon air, and children brought up upon 'environment' soon begin to show signs of inanition; they have little or no healthy curiosity, power of attention, or of effort; what is worse, they lose spontaneity and initiative; they expect life to drop into them like drops into a rain-tub, without effort or intention on their part.” 
CM vol.3 pg.150

Atmosphere is vital.

However, atmosphere is not an end in education. It is a part of a three-fold philosophy of education and is simply one of the by-ways to impart a living education. “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.”

As a part of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival community, I'll be musing over the other two parts of Charlotte Mason's three-fold philosophy in the coming weeks. Feel free to join us!

[read the first part of this post here]

Education is an Atmosphere {part one}

Atmosphere, it's where we live; it's what we breathe. Without atmosphere we would be in utter darkness and cold or blasting light and extreme heat, seeing and feeling nothing or else feeling everything all too intensely, alone, and without air to breathe.

Atmosphere is vital.

photo by: NASA

Our earth's atmosphere has been optimally designed and prepared for life here on earth. God set our sphere spinning in just the right spot, with a specific slant and speed, and precisely the right mixture of gases for us to breathe. And I'm sure that back in the beginning He couldn't have been happier with His work of art.

Not only was He concerned on the grand scale however, as no detail was spared when it came to making the place suitable for us. He made it both vast and beautiful, so incredibly vast in fact, that it'd be impossible to see all the beauty in a lifetime; and all this beauty extends into the most intricate of details. Just how long did it take Him to plan it all? Eons, if He'd needed it, I'm sure. But He simply said the word... and there it all was.

Alas, if only we were able to create with a word the optimal educational 'environment' for our children! Well, now, it is possible we make it harder than it has to be... :) And yet, atmosphere has such an important influence, we ought to give some serious thought to what help we can apply in this area.

photo by: codepoet

First, why the word, 'atmosphere' instead of 'environment'? “We think of fresh air, pure, bracing, tonic,––of the definite act of breathing which must be fully accomplished; and we are incited to do more and mean more in the matter of our children's surroundings if we regard the whole as an atmosphere, than if we accept the more literal 'environment.'” CM, vol.3, pg.149

Education is an Atmosphere. But, what does that mean?
“By the saying, Education is an atmosphere, it is not meant that a child should be isolated in what maybe called a 'child environment,' especially adapted and prepared; but that we should take into account the educational value of his natural home atmosphere, both as regards persons and things, and should let him live freely among his proper conditions. It stultifies a child to bring down his world to a 'child's' level.” 
CM. Vol. 1, pg. 6

“'Education is an atmosphere'” what the mind breathes. The air that we breathe is the medium that surrounds us; the atmosphere our spirits breathe is the medium that surrounds them; in short, it is our environment.” 
A.T. Schofield, Esq., M.D. (Chairman, Executive Parents' National Educational Union)

How can we create an atmosphere of learning without producing a 'child environment'?
In the next post I'll outline the two main components we can concentrate on improving in our homes.

“...we should take into account the educational value of his natural home atmosphere, both as regards persons and things, and should let him live freely among his proper conditions.”
CM. Vol. 1, pg. 6

[click here to read the next post]

Saturday, March 5, 2011

a 12 year old boy's tribute to a CM education

At sixteen days short of turning the big 13, this morning, my most dramatic son said to me, "Mom, did you read that e-mail I sent you? I think you'll laugh." He and his brother who are only 13 months apart have been playing with this online program making movies...
choose the genre, the actors, the setting, choose background music, and then type out the script.  Pretty fun, huh?!

Growing impatient, "Mom, I can't wait for you to read the e-mail, I made it just for you!" Javen sang out in his most winsome tone.
Could I resist? Here's what I found in my inbox that made me laugh out loud:

It's also available HERE.

Einstein: "Hello, my hairy friend. When was the last time you looked at the dictionary?"

Harry: "What's a dictionary?"

Einstein: "Hast thou not heard of the great thing called Education, poor soul?
[begins to swing his hips, adding a most delectable spin...]

I've watched it again and again, and laughed. every. single. time... and I can't help it if I am still a little teary.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

fun foto

fond memories of...

happy days.
wide open spaces.

thinking about our life in the jungle.


PS. I know this photo doesn't really exemplify the wide-open nature of life in the jungle, but I have plenty of pictures posted on here that do. I just particularly like this one... you may recognize the background? :)
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