In 2016, Jessica Severne started Charlotte Mason Redding by holding monthly nature gatherings where a nature object lesson and picture study could be enjoyed as a group in addition to exploring the wonder of our Creator in His creation together. Today, we still enjoy gathering with each other for these things.
Why Choose Charlotte Mason?
A Charlotte Mason education respects the child’s dignity as an individual made in God’s image. His education connects him to the world around him, building relationships with God and people from various places and times, and emphasizing outdoor life. Focused attention at short, varied lessons keeps the mind fresh and leaves free time for personal interests. Living books put the child in touch with vital ideas, and narration teaches him to process those ideas. Copywork, dictation, and free-form notebooks replace worksheets. The teacher directs the course of study, but the student has the responsibility to learn.
Charlotte Mason believed that children are born persons, created in the image of God, all with unique personalities and gifts, but also with universal needs. She said a child’s mind feeds on ideas, on truth, beauty and goodness, and if a child is being fed rightly, in the right kind of atmosphere, and under the disciple of good habits, his spirit comes alive, and the process of learning is natural and joyous to him.
She said that because we are spiritual beings, we actually have a need for things that are living, for material that is infused with the genuine inspiration of the Holy Spirit. She said that when we offer our children purely facts to memorize, or brainless worksheets to fill out, or multiple choice questions to answer, we’re actually giving them material that is devoid of life and therefore devoid of the Spirit. And our children reject it. It may pass into the outer court of the mind, where they remember it for a short time and then spit it back out on a test, but it never enters into the INNER COURT of the Spirit, where it will deeply root in their very person and shape who they are. Just as the Spirit is LIFE, education should be living as well.
In a Charlotte Mason education, every single subject, every single thing you do, is alive. In one sense you do less— If doing less means less worksheets, less open and go curriculum packets, less frivolous Sunday school construction paper crafts… In another sense you do so much more. Your children will meet mind to mind with the greatest minds in history… Not just read about them, but read their very own words and ideas. Your children will meet mind to mind with God himself through Creation, his own display and self revelation! Your children will be taught by the supreme educator himself, the Holy Spirit.
And that brings one final thought we’d like to share about a Charlotte Mason education. Charlotte Mason said that there should be no separation between the spiritual life and the academic life. Math is not more honoring to God when you are doing problems about Noah’s Ark… In fact, math is the most honoring to God when it is taught in a living way, when it leaves your children in awe of the wonders of number, praising the One who spoke creation into being through mathematical language. Charlotte Mason said that the Holy Spirit is the supreme educator of mankind, and that He has constant and continual access to our child’s spirit as He guides him to learn from the testament of history and discover the glories of the world He has made.