We learned that Mason is one of the few educators that has attempted to unite theory and practice with a universalizing model - a model that purports a single vision for all educational categories. Others mentioned who have tried this are Comenius, Paley, Polanyi and Phenix. Dr. Beckman called Mason's model "a harmonious and ennobling scheme of education and philosophy." This is certainly one of the things that drew me to her paradigm of education and continues to inspire and instruct me today.
Next, we spent lots of time discussing the role of the Holy Spirit in the education of our children.
Mason says, "...every fruitful idea, every original conception, whether in Euclid, or grammar, or music, was a direct inspiration from the Holy Spirit, without any thought at all as to whether the person so inspired named himself by the name of God, or recognised whence his inspiration came. Vol. 2 p. 271This is huge. On the one hand we might say, "Whew - He does the work!" On the other hand, we had better be sure we are choosing only the best materials to work with. While I adhere to the "all truth is God's truth" maxim, I'm still working through much of this language regarding the Holy Spirit as the inspirer of every fruitful idea. Perhaps the route is a but circuitous. Kind of like how we teach our children that God made everything and then they ask us if God made the bag of tortilla chips on the table. Well, ultimately yes, but...
Common grace came up more than once. We learned how most educators, even those who come from a godless viewpoint, have truth revealed to them. Waldorf, Montessori, Skinner and others were all referenced . Therefore, there are good things to be gleaned from their works. Beware of throwing the baby out with the bath water!
Back to the community. Encouraging others to interact and share ideas about education is one of the reasons we put on this retreat. I believe that the support and one-on-one that this type of event offers is what can make-or-break an individual's foray into educating Mason-style. This year, at least four new support groups will be starting around the state, not to mention the many new co-ops - all connected to and inspired by the LER. How does the "Parents' Midwest Education Union" sound? Our support group could be called the PMEU - Windom Branch. Sounds pretty earnest and high-minded to me.