Conference Workshop Sessions

Friday - tentative

The Flamingoes


Kelli Christenberry

Fostering Thoughts Toward God: Bible and Religion in a Mason Education - Friday

In this session we will discuss Bible and Religious training and thought in a Christian liberal education through a Charlotte Mason Educational lens. We will see the path Charlotte Mason schools followed as an example for our learning practices today. How does an integrated Christian education look in today’s CM schools and homes?  We will consider together if the important issue of Worldview should be relegated to a high school course and where and how it might fit into our educational scheme.  What are the implications for the younger year studies as well as the older student’s?  We will include some examples from Mason’s writings that encourage us, as parents and teachers to be the ‘Inspirers’ she suggests.  We will talk about how to foster, watch-over and see the implications of the practices that impact “the character and conduct of life”.

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!

Kelli Christenberry

Fostering Thoughts Toward God: Bible and Religion in a Mason Education - Friday

Park with Figures

(date unknown)

Naomi Goegan

 Education is a Discipline - Friday

Charlotte Mason had a lot to say about the child's ability to govern themselves well through the power of their will in education and in life, but how do we help them get there? Will training good habits ensure that our children end up with good character? Join Naomi as she walks through Charlotte Mason's ideas on habits, obedience, authority, liberty, the will, and more in Education is a Discipline.

The Girl with the doll

1904 - 1905

Shannon Goods

Latin -- A Solution to the Foreign Language Dilemma? - Friday

Unless you happen to be fluent in more than one language yourself, you may have found it difficult to incorporate a foreign language into your homeschooling (let alone adding four languages like Charlotte Mason had her students doing!)  In light of this difficulty, I imagine many of us wonder if Latin is worth the effort, or even still relevant today, or if we should just focus our limited resources on a modern language.  Come explore these questions and the possibility that Latin may actually be the easiest language to experience success with.  We’ll look at Mason’s philosophy and some reasons for studying Latin, as well as some practical help on how to teach (and learn) Latin, including a bit of grammar.  Be prepared to try it out for yourself and have some fun in the process.  

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.

A Third Position:  Ourselves and Moral Development - Friday

Dissatisfied with teaching morals directly or indirectly, Charlotte Mason developed a unique “third position” which featured the use of her book Ourselves, Our Souls and Bodies. Join Nancy as she shares background information and immersion activities in order to more fully understand the purpose of this unique book which she considers a must-read for all teachers and teenagers interested in a truly relational education.

Avenue de l’Observatoire


Art Middlekauff

Poetry and Spiritual Formation - Friday

Charlotte Mason wrote, "Poetry is, perhaps, the most searching and intimate of our teachers… Poetry, too, supplies us with tools for the modeling of our lives… As we 'inwardly digest,' reverence comes to us unawares…" Mason believed that poetry plays a crucial role in the spiritual formation of Christ's disciples, young and old. In this hands-on workshop, we will interact with devotional poetry and reflect on its role in the home, church, and school.

The Theology of the Great Recognition - Friday

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 consistently fully.

The Waterfall  


Andy Smith

 Geography: Mapping Small Places with Children under Nine - Friday

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.

How Executive Functions 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

The Basics of Narration- Friday

In this session we will briefly mention the history and research on narration.  We will review some narrations of children at various ages.  Next, we will cover such topics as 1) ways to narrate, 2) how to begin narrating if new to the Mason method, and 3) ways to narrate with students in the upper grades and more.  4) We will end the session by practicing a number of different ways to narrate.  

Sabbath of Learning:  Why Do Children Need to Have Time to Process Their Learning - Friday

In this session we will go all the way back to the beginning--Genesis--to learn the pattern of God's Sabbath keeping.  Then, we will make application of that to the learning environment.  The Sabbath was when God "completed" his creation.  In this session we will discover how it is necessary to apply a Sabbath of Learning to the learning process.

Still life with teapot and fruit

(date unknown)

Dr. Jennifer Spencer

Mason's Approach to Modern Languages - Friday

Mason had a unique approach to language learning that was loosely guided by Fran├žois Gouin’s work. In this session, Jen will talk through all of the different components to language study that Mason employed and give some practical tips on how to study languages with your children, even if you do not speak the language yourself.

Scaffolding Nature Study - Friday

Many people think of Nature Study as the act of going outside, choosing a specimen, and painting it. But there is so much more to it than that. Attendees of this session will see how Mason laid the groundwork in early years, worked on skills necessary for Nature Study in other subjects, and prevented common problems, which set her students up to be successful with Nature Study.

Dr. Jennifer Spencer

Mason Approach to Modern Languages - Friday

Portrait of a Woman


Amber Vanderpol

Introduction to Sloyd - Friday

What is Sloyd?  What role did it play in Mason’s curriculum and why might Mason have included it in her course of study?  In this session we will explore these questions, create several paper Sloyd projects, and discuss what we need to do to successfully introduce and implement Sloyd in our homeschools or co-ops.

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