Conference Workshop Sessions

Friday - tentative

The Flamingoes


Bonnie Buckingham

From Here To There - Friday

Elementary to Secondary education is from Form III upward or 7th grade to 12th. The question I am always asked is “Will my son/daughter be ready for high school?” Are there signposts of skill or knowledge level?  Do her principles  and methods work in secondary years? Is it just booklists? Charlotte wrote in Vol. 6:  One teacher said, "If we had your booklist, we could accomplish anything!' So he used the booklist--but utterly failed because he ignored the principles [CM's 20 Principles]. ( modern version p. 270) How does a student become a self-educated learner?

Boy on the Rocks


LeAnn Burkholder

Morning Lessons with Students and Little Ones - Friday

In this session, time will be allowed to individually process what your ideal is, and to pause and consider the unique personal challenges that you face. The role of teacher and child, as Mason explained it, will be explored. Come share in learning practical strategies toward a flexible rhythm of daily lessons amid babies and toddlers. LeAnn is currently facilitating elementary, middle and high school lessons with her own children and will share what she calls "small repeated solutions" which lead toward peace and joy for the teacher and students of all ages.

The Waterfall  


Kelli Christenberry

Basis of Our Days- Friday

What we believe about life, our philosophy of life, determines our actions and values; what we believe about education, our philosophy of education, determines our approach in schooling our children.  What we do and how we accomplish education with our children must be traced backward to why it matters. It’s based on principles and practices; we have a definite aim. The short synopsis of CM’s principles is prefaced with quotes about the importance of Truth and begins where we all must begin, our worldview – what we believe about the nature of man and God.  Understanding the cumulative progression of these 20 principles, beginning with “The child is born a person” and ending again with the importance of Truth, is vital in the education of children. As we consider The Basis of our Days…Principles and Practices, it will help us understand more about Education as an Atmosphere of respect, a Discipline of habits of the heart and mind, and a Life of relational ideas resting upon Truth.

Study Group Immersion - Friday

Please join Kelli Christenberry for a CMI Study Group immersion and discussion on ‘Sacredness of Personality’.  We will be talking through An Essay Toward a Philosophy of Education chapter 5.  We will have some time to talk about how local study groups can be set up and ways you can facilitate or just participate.  Continued study and learning together is essential to a growing understanding in the Mason paradigm.  We will have a Q&A time as well as share about CMIs plan for training, supporting, and even providing access to study groups around the world! Everyone is welcome! You do not have to be participating in of one of the current studies to join in, but please read the chapter ahead of time as we study together the vital ideas on Personhood from this reading!

Corner of the Plateau of Bellevue


Liz Cotrill

Lesson Planning in a Living Education - Friday

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. 

View of the Fortifications

(date unknown)

Cheri Struble and Sara Dalton 

Dry Brush Demo - Friday

Dry brush is a watercolor painting technique that is useful in capturing details of nature. We will demonstrate the basics of dry brush and discuss various tools, types of paper and paints.  Having the right tools and a little instruction will train the eye for intelligent seeing, increase observation skills and facilitate enjoyment in keeping a Nature Notebook. If you have a nature notebook and paints, please bring them to practice. 

The Artillerymen


Kerri Forney and Erin Daly

Notebooks - Friday

Throughout Charlotte Mason's writings is the foundational idea that 'knowing is doing.' In Volume 6 she writes, "There is no education but self-education and only as the young student works with his own mind is anything effected." Keeping notebooks is an essential part of self-education. It is important for both the assimilation of ideas and the formation of habits. Together we will explore the ideas presented in Mason's writings, as well as the Parents' Review. We will also review the most common types of notebooks and how they are used.

The Bievre at Gentilly


Nancy Kelly

 "The Way of the Teacher - Humility"- Friday

What postures do we take in our homes, schools, and communities? There are many lessons to be learned from L'Umile Pianta (The Humble Plant), the publication by the alumni from Charlotte Mason's House of Education, and the badge chosen by the Old Students' Association. In this session, Nancy will explore how the lessons shared back then can help us today as we examine Mason's thoughts on the importance of humility, especially as it relates to the parent and teacher. This session will make you stop and think about how you approach education in any venue.

Plutarch: Prince of Biographers! - Friday

Why is Plutarch so important? Why did Mason include his Lives in her curriculum? Why North’s translation? What does imagination have to do with it? In this talk, we will look at the answers to these questions.  The difficulties expressed in Mason’s day in regard to Plutarch are the same today. Following the presentation, a full immersion lesson will to demonstrated to allow participants to experience Plutarch firsthand. You will come away with the tools and inspiration to begin teaching, carry on, and “bridge the gaps” with this Charlotte Mason curriculum staple.

Walking in the Parc des Buttes Chaumont

1908 - 1909

Emily Kiser

Charlotte Mason's History for the 21st Century Student - Friday

Charlotte Mason said "History is the pivot upon which our curriculum turns." In this session we will look closely at how Mason structured the history studies in the PNEU: how much time she covered every year; the multiple streams, or layers, of history studied simultaneously; and the interconnectedness of certain subjects that are linked with history study. Through it all we will be looking at our specific place in time asking ourselves if these principles Mason gave us are still relevant for Americans today--we think you'll agree that these ideas may even be more relevant for 21st Century students than they were in the PNEU 100 years ago.

The Toll House


Marcia Mattern 

Bringing Joy and Ease to Nature Study - Friday

Does the habit of natural history lessons need nurturing in your homeschool?  Learn how to put practices in place to make nature a part of everyday.  Using a nature notebook, sources for local nature study in your area and inspiring joyful discovery are some of the topics that will be covered.

Avenue de l’Observatoire


Art Middlekauff

Workshop for Dads: A Synopsis of Charlotte Mason’s Method - Friday

This workshop is for all dads, whether or not you have had any experience with Charlotte Mason's ideas. Charlotte Mason first introduced her theory of education in a series of lectures in 1885 which were published in 1886. In the years which followed, she wrote many additional articles and books. However, over time she increasingly felt the need to distill her theory of education into a concise summary or synopsis. She completed this in 1904, and it is now commonly referred to as her "Twenty Principles." In this workshop, we will consider the meaning and significance of each of these twenty principles, thereby surveying Mason's theory of education according to the structure she herself formalized in her synopsis.

Charlotte Mason's Tabernacle - Friday

​When describing the human person, Charlotte Mason employed an analogy to the Old Testament "tabernacle in the wilderness." In this session, we will explore how this analogy helps us better understand certain themes and elements in Mason's writings.

View of Malakoff Hauts de Seine


Andy Smith

Understanding How Executive Function Deficits Affect Habit Formation - Friday 

“The man who can make himself do what he wills has the world before him, and it rests on parents to give their children this self-compelling power as a mere matter of habit” (School Education, italics mine). Habits of attention and self-governance can seem elusive for some people who seem to constantly struggle with distractibility, restlessness, and impulsivity.  They find themselves constantly derailed because ways of doing things that work for others don’t typically work for them. ADD/ADHD research in the past several decades has given insight into how and why some people with certain neurochemistry struggle with such habit formation:  their impaired executive functions (EF). Executive functions are those cognitive processes that serve as “air traffic controllers” so one can effectively organize, plan, self regulate, initiate and sustain attention. The kids with EF deficits--always forgetful, running late, losing things--often have structured parents who unwittingly become their kids’ “ surrogate executive function.” In this content heavy workshop, I will give an insight into how the EF impaired brain works with its deficits and functional consequences, and suggest some principles and strategies to compensate for these deficits for kids and adults. While there isn’t time to answer every personal question, participants will be directed to resources for more specifics.

Sevres Bridge

(date unknown)

Dr. Carroll Smith

Narration I - Friday

In this session we will discuss the history of and research behind the practice of narration. Is narration a viable option for learning today?  We will look at both what current research and Mason have to say about this. This session will ground you in the importance of narration so that you can go home and use it thoroughly and with purpose.  (Note:  this session is a pre-requisite to Narration Part II.)

Narration Part II - Friday

Based on what we learned in Part I, we will observe and study the narrations of children at various ages.  Next, we will practice and discuss how to introduce narration to young children or to those who are new to narration.  Finally, we will practice the art of narration.

The Poulty Yard


Amy Snell

Character Formation in the Mason Model - Friday

…The one achievement possible and necessary for every man is character; and character is as finely wrought metal beaten into shape and beauty by the repeated and accustomed action of will. Charlotte Mason Volume 6 p. 129  Did you know that the average human now has an attention span less than a goldfish? This declining habit of attention has obvious effects on our children’s education but also on their character, empathy, and moral attachment. Charlotte Mason’s approach is a unique voice on how to approach this problem, not as an external apparatus, but with living methods that strengthen the will and honor the whole person.  This last year Amy had the opportunity to present Mason's principles on character for a Educator's Roundtable Discussion at the University of Virginia. The first part of the workshop will be a study on what Mason says about character, the will, and habit formation. The second part will focus of Charlotte Mason’s picture study as just one of the many ways we build attention and character develops from the inside out. Samples of student’s narrations and journals will be shown.

Character. Willpower. Habits. Attention. Picture Study. Truth. Beauty. Goodness.

The Eiffel Tower


  Jeannette Tulis and Brittney McGann 

Handicrafts: Transforming the Commonplace into the Creative - Friday

John Ruskin tells us that an artist is one who uses the material at hand and transforms it into something both useful and beautiful. Being made in the image of our creator God, we are called to be creative as well. Charlotte Mason included handicrafts in the curriculum because she understood the value of equipping a child to use their own hands to create something of value. The work of one's hands, completed over time has great value for today’s students, perhaps even more so in our highly technical and virtual age. Join Jeannette and Brittney as they explore Charlotte’s own words on the study of handicrafts and as they share favorite resources and ideas for young and older students. Then learn a handicraft on site that can be expanded as the students increase in skill and faculty. All materials provided.




Brendan Vigorito

Managing Your Household Finances - Friday

Wise financial management requires a series of daily choices.  A budget will help prioritize your choices and stay on track to follow your goals, values and objectives.  Having a spending plan written out will help you to make informed choices and lower your stress level. You will also learn to prepare for those unexpected bumps in the road of life by building savings in an emergency fund and cash reserve fund.  With a savings state of mind you find ways to reach your goals.

Landscape on the Banks of the Bievre 

at Becetre

1908 - 1909

Shannon Whiteside

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

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.

View of Saint Cloud


Nicole Williams

A Vast and Joyous Realm - Friday

Charlotte Mason tells us that it is through nature study that children “lay up that store of 'common information' which...should precede science teaching.” (Mason, School Education, 1904, p. 237) Learn how her method helps transition a student seamlessly from the observational science of nature study to experimental science, and how her philosophy not only fosters a lifelong connection with the natural world in each of our students but also prepares them to be scientifically literate citizens.

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