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The Found Tools of Learning

We should never have lost them.  They were sitting right in front of us all this time.  That's how I look at Mason's method of education.  She based her philosophy on natural law and unswerving faith. It's how children learn and is proven in study after study.   This past weekend at Ferrum College in the Blue Ridge Mountains the CMI conference was held.  We heard about  many aspects of her relational philosophy and how it's true to how we learn and know.  I wish you were there.

The all-day immersion class that I facilitated went very well.  It was a nice mix of those new to the philsophy and a handful of helpful veterans.  I wanted those attending to see how challenging narration can be (we used 4+ types of narration), yet how full of ideas and nourishment a CM day is.  The afternoon debriefing went over time by an hour or so which was an indicator of how excited and interested everyone was to understand and apply Mason's philosophy in their homeschools.

-Afternoon discussion after the immersion group

Next for me was my "The Well-balanced Mind - The Imagination Factor" talk. It is always a delight to have attendees reflect on the role and importance of the imagination in everything from their play to their schools to even their faith.  Mason calls it "My Lord Chief Explorer" for good reason.  It has been neglected in education.

What to do when your student enters high school!

My "High Schoolers as Persons - Equipped For Life" was interesting.  There were over 50 attending this breakout session and I hope I challenged everyone to think beyond the incessant testing and utilitarian approaches.  I finished that speech with Ruskin's excellent take on education:

“The entire object of true education is to make people not merely do the right things, but enjoy the right things: -
not merely industrious, but to love industry-
not merely learned, but to love knowledge-
not merely pure, but to love purity-
not merely just, but to hunger and thirst after justice.”

-John Ruskin

Despite all this talking and sharing, I found my own soul noursished and refreshed. Bonnie Buckingham challenged me to be generative and I look forward to challenging my students with The 500 Year Question. Cheri Struble encouraged moms to treat themselves as persons.   Dr. Jen Spencer's Theory of Personal Integration is going to rock the Mason community.  Art Middlekauff's exposition has now equipped me to use The Saviour of the World in my homeschool and is, I think, indispensable for a Mason education.  It's not this unweildy chunk of medicocre poetry that I was led to believe.  The importance of story was explained and demonstrated by Dr. Carroll Smith.  Dr. Joan Almon called Mason "the best kept secret in education"!


Most important was seeing old friends and making new ones - too many to mention here!  Gladys Schaeffer brought her collection of books that Mason had on her bookshelf.  Try mining through those at 11:00 at night when everyone is a little punchy.

There was more, but that's all I will share for now.  I'm off to Vermont for a few weeks.  My baby is getting married!  Can you believe it?  I can't.  So, my thoughts are turning to this for now.  Any suggestions for what can't be missed in Vermont?  Right before the wedding, we are staying with Richele!  Ahh..the richness of life.  And guess what else?  Marilyn is coming to the wedding.

From joy to joy,
Nancy

-the happy couple






18 comments:

  1. You fit a lot of exciting news into one post! I'd just re-read your 'Highschoolers as Persons' post along with Cheri and Kaley's 'Homeschool Reflections' post a few days ago as I consider Maxim's next six years. Perhaps a tattoo -- or at least a poster -- of your "Keep Calm and Keep Treating Them as Persons" in a highly visible spot to quiet the chatter of "increasing independence" all around me.

    I had to stop for awhile at M. Mercier's illustration. Details appreciated.

    A.n.t.i.c.i.p.a.t.i.o.n

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  2. I wondered who would notice the illustration! It is by the French artist Jean Adrien Mercier. He illustrated this little handbook that came with my vintage Book of Knowledge set.

    Getting ready to travel,
    Nancy

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    1. i LOVE that illustration too! beautiful... and i particularly love that it's of a BOY poring over a flower... that just makes it that much BETTER!!

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    2. Amy,
      I thought the very same thing! Great minds...
      -Nancy

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  3. How lovely to read your words, about the conference, your son soon to marry. Life is so good!

    I thought the illustration was inspiring.

    Thanks for writing frequently in your blog.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Silvia. I think you would love one of these conferences. Someday??
      -Nancy

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    2. I know I'd love it, I pray for that day when I can attend one.

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  4. I told Jennifer I thought we should take over the television networks and make everyone in the country watch her talk. I believe it would solve all the educational problems in our country. Of course, then we would be very much like a word that starts with a "t" and end with "ist" with "error in the middle and I don't think Miss Mason would approve... but still.

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    1. Beth...indeed, I doubt she would like that! It was great to see you and visit. I hope your library gets up and running soon. It's a delightful way to be generative!

      -Nancy

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  5. seriously. what a blessedly rich summer! if i weren't burstingly happy for you, i might be tempted to be jealous. but i am perfectly content to thank God with you for your (and my) abundant blessings! yippee! i loved every inch of this post. and the whole keep calm... is so TOTALLY and completely right on in this advancing stage... i love it. and can't believe how many times i've reminded myself of this over the past two years. but my favorite part might just be ruskin's quote, that or tied with the teaser of Jen's up and coming... i must hear more about this. oh and, where can i hear more about art's talk?! please? oh dear. i cannot be everywhere... !

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    1. Yes, indeed a rich summer. (wink, wink). I do think that all the talks will go up on the website, I just don't know when. Miss you much!

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  6. SO good to see you Nancy!! So thankful for your wisdom and passion for education!
    So excited for your #2 wedding of your #1 son! Been praying for you as you get ready after getting ready for CMI Conference. Emma is making an altered book out of an Alice in Wonderland book we bought from Kerri! Yes, Be Generative. The two words have to settle in and bring wonder and then a shift happens.( smiling)LOVE the illustration at the top. Sat with Jeannette at the airport looking into Rome & all her thoughts. Think I was the first person she knew to talk to coming home, well, almost home. SO thankful Charlotte is a stopping airport! Wish it was on YOUR way somewhere. Two "top of the head" places in Vermont are Stowe where the Van Trapp Lodge is and Tasha Tudor ? ( not sure where she lived up there.)

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    1. Ohh...post a pic of that altered book. I will take some of mine and post, too. Yes, we will be right by the Van Trapp Lodge. And of course - Tasha Tudor!!! Looking into it now...

      From joy to joy,
      Nancy

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  7. Still roaming DC but wanted to say thank you for your wonderful wisdom friend...enjoy Vermont. My favorite was driving around and spotting the romantic rustic covered bridges :) Praying for your son's wedding; many blessings to them.

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  8. The illustration caught my eye as well. Might I borrow it? Lovely style of illustration.
    Of course the accompanying words are ones of wisdom. So very sorry to have missed this year's conference and seeing you dear friend.

    Until next year, Lord willing.

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  9. Maybe you could do a breakout session on your trip?! Of course you may borrow it.

    You were missed.

    From joy to joy,
    Nancy

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  10. It was so nice to meet you at the conference. I very much enjoyed your imagination factor talk. It was especially beneficial for me as I'm just beginning. I have begun putting many things into practice since returning home, and am so thankful for the "big picture" I got while I was there. To those who have never been to a conference before, take the time to just do it. It is worth every penny and minute spent. I came away so refreshed and invigorated!

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