Conference Workshop Sessions

Saturday - tentative

Portrait of a Woman


Allyson Adrian, PhD

Learning Languages with Miss Mason and François - Saturday

Charlotte Mason routinely taught her students 3-5 foreign languages, students receiving short lessons in each language only twice a week. How was she so successful? Not surprisingly she attributed her success to the method she used. She followed the method of François Gouin, who had also discovered the gift and power of narration and integrated it into language learning. In this workshop, we will complete several language lessons using the method and discuss some of the reasons for its effectiveness, including what modern brain research affirms about Miss Mason’s methods. The session will incorporate learning materials from Cherrydale Press’ Speaking Spanish with Miss Mason and François (or French or German) and talk about strategies  for incorporating the method into language learning at home and some of the challenges we can expect to face.

The Fishermen and the Biplane


Bonnie Buckingham

Writing Poetry:  Assignment - Write a paean. - Saturday

Mason students, after being exposed to great poetry for many years,  may recognize when poetry best suits their narration or exam question. “She was not asked to write in verse, and was she not taught by a beautiful instinct to recognize that the phrases she had to deal with were essential poetry and that she could best express herself in verse?" (In Memoriam, p. 5) How does a teacher teach poetry?  When are there definite  lessons on writing poetry? For what other subjects do we use poetry as a means of written narration or composition exercise?  Charlotte wrote in OurselvesBook 2, p. 10: "A thousand thoughts that burn come to us on the wings of verse."   Join Bonnie as she explores this fascinating, and for many of us, fearful topic of writing poetry.

The Sleeping Gypsy


Lisa Cadora

Evaluation - Saturday

Information will be posted soon.

View of Bottom and MeudonBillancourt


Liz Cotrill

Lesson Planning in a Living Education - Saturday

It's one thing to choose the subjects and find the books, plan a schedule and gather the children, but then what is the teacher expected to do to bring out the most in the day to day lessons? Is reading and narration really all there is? There are practical principles and specific tips for getting through the lessons with delight and enthusiasm rather than with a haphazard or unprepared approach. This workshop will address the general guidelines as well as many specifics for facing your school day with intention rather than uncertainty. 

The Mill


Jason Fiedler

The Unpublished Trail Guide: from “CM Skeptic” to “All In” - Saturday

Have you ever thought: “Where’s my guidebook?  What have I gotten myself into? or Where are we going exactly?”  Perhaps you have a spouse or family member who is asking these questions.

During this workshop, I will share my own process of movement from “homeschool skeptic” and “CM illiterate” to owning my role in an education that truly is “an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life”.  Together, we’ll be reminded why this messy, beautiful, life-giving journey is absolutely worth it.

Suburban Scene


Kathryn Forney

Growing Up with Mason - Saturday

Mason makes many assertions about the outcomes of her methods in a student’s life after school. Join Kathryn Forney, a mason graduate, as she testifies to the trustworthiness of Mason’s philosophy. After looking at the results Mason forecasts, Kathryn will share her own experience of Mason and leave plenty of time for Q&A at the end. 

The girl with a doll


Nancy Kelly

Qualified for Life: High Schoolers as Persons - Saturday   

Interested in a rich, vigorous, character-building education for your high schooler?  Charlotte Mason had a successful plan for the high school years.  Her offering was in response to the utilitarian system that was in place 100 years ago and unfortunately still reigns.  This session will discuss Mason's blueprint and offer principles and practices to begin planning what could be your student's best years!

Mandrill in the Jungle


Brittney McGann

Some Aspects of Sloyd - Saturday

Sloyd is much more than “the art of paper folding.” It is an introduction to the ideas encompassed by craftsmanship and work. Charlotte Mason’s philosophy ignores no part of the child, but offers sustenance to develop every part of his being. Sloyd engages mind and body. Its purpose goes beyond developing technical skill. As C. Russell tells us in the Parents’ Review, “The teacher of Sloyd that is, like the teacher of everything else, must ever bear in mind that his business is to make a good and wise man of the child, not a clever carpenter.” The Bible says, in Exodus 35:31, “And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship.” Join Brittney as she explores the philosophy behind Sloyd and how it dovetails with Miss Mason’s own. Learn how to begin teaching Sloyd in your homeschool and try your hand at making something during the workshop.

The Football players


Art Middlekauff

Whose Great Recognition? - Saturday

In her third volume, entitled School Education, Mason wrote of a “A Medieval Conception of Education” — the “idea of all education springing from and resting upon our relation to Almighty God.” Did this concept originate with “the medieval Church,” later to be rediscovered by Mason on the walls of the Spanish Chapel in Florence? Or does the concept spring from a deeper and more ancient spring? This workshop will search for the Great Recognition in the Scriptures, the tradition of Israel, the history of the church, and in the purposes of God Himself. With an understanding of the broader context of this Recognition, we hope to be able to apply it more fully and consistently.

The Wedding Party


Andy Smith

 Geography for the Form 1 Child - Saturday

Too often we think of geography as the boring study to learn some geographical data like capitols and rivers or skills of graphicacy to interpret scale or topography. But for Mason, the study of geography was designed for the child to have a life long source of nourishment that furnished the mind with pictures and ideas.  What were her principles and methods to accomplish this? One of these she specified in the preface to her first geography reader, Elementary Geography: “Geography should be learned chiefly from maps and the child should begin the study by learning ‘the meaning of map,’ and how to use it.”  Maps reduce spatial relationships in the concrete, three dimensional world to a more abstract two dimensional representation and often we as adults don’t grasp how abstract a map can be for a child. We will look at how Mason prepared children to use maps and consider the challenge of work of David Sobel to match map work to the developmental needs of children.  This will help us achieve an “inside-out, go there” model of teaching geography for children under 9.

The storm tossed vessel


Shannon Whiteside

Inner and Outer Courts of the Mind: Memorization in a Mason Paradigm - Saturday

There are conflicting views regarding the role of memorization in education today. In most schools, rote memorization is considered passé and a detriment to children’s creativity and self-expression. On the other end of the spectrum, other educational theories promote the memorization of facts as a foundation for cultural literacy. What does Mason say about memorization? She believed that memorizing facts weakens the power of attention and does not allow knowledge to be assimilated into the inner courts of the mind where true understanding and transformation take place. This session will explore Mason’s writings as well as current research on how the mind processes information so it can be retained. We will also discuss what content is important to commit to memory and how it can be “learned without labor.” If we don’t want knowledge to go “in one ear and out the other,” we should heed Mason’s advice regarding memorization.

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