Teachings of Life by a Mother

While leafing through the pages in the Charlotte Mason Digital Archives, I chanced upon this letter from A MOTHER. She shares this insightful list of aphorisms (pithy observations that contain general truths). It made me wonder what her "long period of suffering" was. 

This one is my favorite - 

"When portions of life are stormy, and buffet you, remember the shore is sweetest where tides run ; you have no right to claim always half-tide."

It reminded me of this quote by Charlotte Mason which Marcia shared in last nights' Living Education Lessons

"Sometimes the springs swell in the hills, the rivers overflow, and there is a flood; but this is not always a misfortune in the end, because much that is rotten and unclean is swept away, and lands washed by a flood are very fertile afterwards." Vol. 4, p. 7

Which one of her aphorisms below strike you? 


DEAR EDITOR,—I venture to send you a few aphorisms which have

come to me during a long period of suffering, with its intervals of solitude. They may be interesting to other mothers, who will perhaps, in their turn, be induced to send you for publication some of the teachings of life that have come to them also in times of weariness and distress.

                                                                       A MOTHER.

Live all the hours you can in the sunlight.

Work by rule ; with exceptions.

Let good habits bear sway; not as tyrants, but as friends.

Let unimportant things be.

Don't tell everybody everything.

Reserve your strength ; others have shoulders too.

Give deliberation beforehand, and the right rate of speed to the action.

" Do the nexte thinge " by all means, and know you are going to do it, but do not always betray your intention.

" Trye before you truste," and have faith rather in acts than words.

Blame the right person only and to the right amount only, but give

encouragement to wash it down.

Remain alone and at peace, if you have a right to solitude ; but emerge the better for it.

When you know what rests you, REST for others' sakes.

If sleep flits, mercy looks down the long day through.

Believe in yourself up to the point you would believe in another,

otherwise you are unjust.

Mental prayer needs no " style." If it did could you better the

Psalmist's ?

Make a museum of your mind, and let conversation be the well-oiled key.

In an important interview, weigh your first words ; after that trust to opportunity, instinct and the spirit.

When portions of life are stormy, and buffet you, remember the shore is sweetest where tides run ; you have no right to claim always half-tide.

Torrents and whirlwinds have their glory, and great souls bow down and worship ; so only do they hear the still small voice."

Who is the welcome humourist ? He that takes off, not the individual, but the race.

Judge people as they mean to be, not as they appear; but judge their works, not as they appear, but as they are.

Wholesome " chaff" leaves grain behind; but in domestic life sarcasm is a file which may wear down a fine edge.

If we could but fathom each other's methods of work and play, how

much greater would the aggregate be.

(From the "P.R." Letter Bag, p. 131, Vol. 8, 1897)

Shakespeare Enjoyment!

As I read, read, read through the Charlotte Mason Digital Archives about Shakespeare, as well as prepare for King Lear in our TBG Community this fall, I am struck by the word "enjoy".  Over and over again, I read of teachers saying how the students, even the youngest,  enjoy Shakespeare!  It is my hope that your students do, too. Or at least that they will eventually.

Shakespeare is a tremendous part of a Charlotte Mason education. Let's make sure as we prepare that we are letting Shakespeare do the talking.  Keeping the teacher talk to a minimum is important.  Proper scaffolding for the newcomers to this feast is key, too. Vocabulary? Well, yes, this might be good. But don't overdo it - nothing kills the lesson more than going on and on with words YOU didn't know.  I have rarely done this with Shakespeare.  The students either figure it out from context, check out the notes, or ask if something is confusing to them.

So the quote at the top seems almost scandalous in our world of mastery and atomization of every subject*. Mastery in that we make sure not a jot or tittle is misunderstood and atomization in that we break everything down into the smallest, understandable pieces for the student, thinking this will aid their digestion. But with Shakespeare, we see the idea of the child as a person - the sacredness of their personality - come shining through. We need to respect them as persons and let them take away from the Shakespeare lessons exactly what they need. And as Shakespeare teaches us about so many things, each student's needs will be different.  They will begin to understand more and more as they go along. They might even become a huge fan of Shakespeare.  I've seen it happen a few times. (!)

Which brings me back to this idea of enjoyment.  If we want our students to enjoy Shakespeare, then we need to enjoy Shakespeare. Your interest, enthusiasm, and perseverance will go a long way when beginning to read the plays. Enjoy!

Teaching from Peace,


*Of course, mastery is crucial in some subjects like mathematics and grammar. But I don't care for the term.  As if we can master any subject! "Building upon understanding" is slightly clearer.

*For more Shakespeare posts, go here and scroll down to "SHAKESPEARE IN OUR COMMUNITY"

Bible Atlases

I am often asked "What is your favorite Bible Atlas?" I am happy to share my favorites with you!  But first let me say that the best atlas, Bible or otherwise, is the one you will use and become familiar with. We use our atlases daily and each child has their go-to atlas, so we keep them in one convenient location. And we have, well, quite a few atlases as each one has different strengths and weaknesses, and each one is slightly different. Thus we end up with a lot of comparing and contrasting which makes for some rather robust investigations.

Here are my favorites:

1. The maps in the back of our Bibles.

2. The Golden Bible Atlas with Relief Maps in Full Color by Samuel Terrien (it's living - the text   could be read and narrated! I adore the illustrations.)

 3. Reader's Digest Atlas of the Bible (thrift store staple and surprisingly excellent.)

I pick up vintage magazine racks at thrift stores and keep different collections together. This is our atlas rack.

I have other Bible helps that I love but will save those for another post.  And I have a different opinion about world atlases which I will also share later.  Which Bible atlases have you found to be the most helpful?

Teaching from Peace,


Puget Sound - What Should I Read?


I have never been to the Pacific Northwest!  On September 29th, I will be heading to Puget Sound to lead a retreat (oxymoron?) with Amber Vanderpol and her team. This is a smaller retreat (my favorite kind) with only a limited number of spaces left.  It is at the  stunning Palisades Retreat Center. Here is the link for more information or to register. I would love to see you there!