Plenary Sessions

The Wedding Party


Eve Anderson Nature Study Lecture

This year's Eve Anderson Nature Study Lecture will be given by Carroll and Andra Smith.   

Nature, Mason and Ambleside

Charlotte Mason chose to live in Ambleside, England where she ran the House of Education, The Parents’ Union School, edited the Parents’ Review and met with many people from around England and the world.  After a year at the Home and Colonel, a college for teachers, she spent a number of years as Headmistress at Davison Infant School and then on to Bishop Otter College where she lectured in psychology and educational methods.  From there she went to live with her friend Lizzie Groveham.  In 1880 she published The Forty Shires which was followed by her geography series.  In 1885 she gave her lectures on education in Bradford and we know that the rest is history.  But why did she settle in Ambleside, England?  Was it because of her familiarity with the area; maybe it was the nature and natural beauty of the Lake District—what was it?  Was it people? From Ambleside she ran all the organizations associated with her work including the House of Education and more.  During this plenary we will explore these questions and enjoy some of the natural beauty of the Lake District.


Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!)  


Dick Keyes

Plenary I. Redeeming the Imagination in the Christian Life

It is easy to think of the imagination as something frivolous or inherently misleading. In fact the Bible itself includes a wide variety of imaginative literature and faith in Christ demands a vital imagination to thrive. We will be looking especially at the imaginative use of our language. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

Plenary II. Who Needs Heroes?

Heroism raises the question, “Who you want to become?” It is not just a question for adolescents. Having heroes is having focal points for your aspirations. Without heroes our imagination becomes disconnected from our future in a way that can leave us bored and boring. We will be considering what has become of heroism in the modern world as well as the redemption of our imaginations in the imitation of Christ and of Christ-like people.

Plenary III. Heroism and the Younger Generation

The formidable challenge of passing on Christian heroism to the next generation is to communicate the desire to be a certain kind of person and so to have one’s life become a certain kind of story. The Christian faith must be taught and lived with high integrity to its most important realities if it is going to be experienced not only as true but attractive to the next generation.

Tropical Forest with Apes and Snakes 


Nancy Kelly

Charlotte Mason Foundations Series:  Part 1 - The Paradigm Shift

An introduction to Charlotte Mason, including her belief in the child as a person and her viewpoint that education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life, and the science of relations.  Who was Charlotte Mason?  What was her educational philosophy?  Can her methods be used in high school as well as in elementary school and middle school? Drawing from her 20 years of experience using Charlotte Mason's methods, Nancy will talk about the basics of a Charlotte Mason education and how it can transform your homeschool and your life.

View of Bottom and Meudon Billan court


Art Middlekauff

Part 2 - The Twenty Principles

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 presentation, 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 and the Educational Tradition

Christian Overman wrote, “Ideas do make a difference! And significant ideas cast much longer shadows than do the men or women who originally think them.” What ideas are casting a shadow on your practice of education? And how do these ideas make a difference? The focus of this workshop is to uncover which ideas correlate with Mason’s philosophy of education. Was she continuing the classical tradition? Or do we find correlation between her ideas and the ancient Hebrew tradition?

The Football Players


Dr. Jennifer Spencer

Getting Personal:  A Theory of Personal Integration

This is a discussion of Jen’s dissertation study, titled, Self-Made Writer: Writing Development Without Writing Instruction In a Charlotte Mason Home School. In this study, Jen addressed Mason’s assertion that “Lessons in composition are like snakes in Ireland—there are none.” Her subject was a young man who became a superior writer, even though his mother never gave him a lesson in composition. Through interviews and personal assessment of the subject’s writing, Jen developed a theory on the contributing factors and caveats that allowed her subject to develop into a great writer with no instruction. Her findings have implications for all subjects, including the importance of spreading an abundant feast and respecting the personhood of the child.

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