Time Value

Oh!  Do not attack me with your watch.  A watch is always too fast or too slow.  I cannot be dictated to by a watch. - Jane Austen from Mansfield Park

I am always a little uncomfortable when  asked what program I use for time management purposes.  I have a hard time recommending these tools because I think that  people will then try to slavishly follow whatever the recommmended book says - and usually fail.  There is something about all of it that seems incompatible with Mason's methods.  Maybe the problem is in  the spirit of the application???  I'm not sure.  Even when I share my schedules, I have to state so many caveats along with them.

Part of the reason for my uneasiness is that Mason is on to something deeper and more important.  She deals with time in a different light.  This starts to be apparent after studying her philosophy and trying to live it out in our homes.  I'm slowly getting better at this - figuring out this gift of time and how to spend it here and now for Eternity.  Just read this wonderful  quote on time written by a student at Charlotte Mason's teaching college at Scale How in 1918.

At Scale How time was to be respected, given to the thing or person claiming it rightfully.  Then there would always be time, without over-pressure or distraction.  This sense of time value was hard to achieve but it bore the test of experience during the two years' training.  What an effort of faith it all was...it did not seem possible to find a moment for everything, yet if no time was wasted there was plenty of it and no hurry. - Cholmondley,  p. 150

Time was to be respected...given to the thing or person claiming it rightfully...effort of faith...plenty of it and no hurry.  I know our homes and schools aren't set up like her training college and that we have meals, children, spouses, churches, etc. that are important to us.  But Mason talks repeatedly about the key to so much of this - attention.  On the part of the teacher as well as the student. Can you see how every person is then respected?

Here is a piece of advice to apply this concept.  It's a small thing, but the way I attend and spend the time during this part of lessons says so much to my students.

Mason states "Do not bury yourself in the book while the children are reading aloud.  Give your full attention to the reading, then when the time for narration comes receive what they tell you with your whole mind.  They will tell it all the better to someone who is listening and who is not consulting a book."  To this, Cholmondley adds, "To carry out these two pieces of advice needed great power of attentive reading beforehand and of attentive listening during the lesson."

In other words, we need to be fully present for them.  That's more important than keeping a perfect house or schedule.

Admiration, Hope and Love,


(Quotes taken from The Story of Charlotte Mason by Essex Cholmondley)


  1. Wise and wonderful thoughts. Thanks!

  2. Yes, Nancy. I so value all your words. It's amazing how CM changes not simply our teaching or children's education, but our own, and our LIFE. I too feel sad (and sympathy) for moms who say they are 'busy', or for those who seem not to find 'time' for what they would like or truly need to accomplish... I feel quite spoiled, but then I sometimes know that I'm not always selfish with time, but that I try to secure time and guard it for my girls and family, to allow them to flourish and give them the gift of TIME, the blessing of not worrying about it but to enjoy it and use it to labor for Him.

  3. Oh, Pam and Nancy, I forgot to say that I take my hat off to you, moms of large families, for your life is simply an ART.

  4. "to be fully present" is certainly a lost art for much of humanity...thank you for the reminder today...the desire of my heart is to not only be fully present for my family, but also for my God and the "others" He places in my life!

  5. time.
    fully present.

    that is a big challenge to nowadays moms I think.
    it was a big challenge back then I'm sure, and it's a big challenge for me. :)

    absolutely understand your hesitance in presenting schedules. we are so apt to becoming slaves to them instead of making them serve us... aren't so many of our weaknesses such?

    a cool thing happened when I stopped wearing a watch. :)

  6. Hello there,
    The article that you submitted to Carnival of Homeschooling is now live at http://momschool.net/2011/11/22/carnival-of-homeschooling/ Can you please post about your article on the carnival here? and then check to be sure your links are working over at the carnival post? Thanks so much!

  7. I have struggled with time, mainly, being late for years. It has been an uphill struggle for me to work with a watch and a calendar, so I'm not too keen to throw them out the window.

    On the other hand, being present is so very important! The balance between punctuality and being present is delicate. How do you manage that? That would be a more useful discussion than 'what does your schedule look like?'