Women as Persons (Mothers' Education Course Part II)

 Vilma Reading a Book by T.F. Simon,  1912
Charlotte Mason was one of the first to recognize the importance of women and their role in educating the next generation, whether in the classroom or in the home.  Here again I find she was ahead of her time and I'm so grateful.  As a homeschooling parent, I find so much of the materials out there to be over-simplified, as if I couldn't figure the out the most simple of instructions and needed to be told in monosyllabic words.  This, in turn, results in dry, lifeless materials.  Not so with Mason.  She respected the intelligence of women and their capacity to learn and live.  She treated mothers as persons and this shines through in her Mothers' Education Course.

I started thinking more about this after writing this post .  The Mothers' Education Course (M.E.C.) was also known as the P.N.E.U. Reading Course (For Mothers and Girls over 18).  It continued for about 23 years, from 1891 to 1915, ending with the crisis of WWI.  Participants were expected to read 120 pages a week for 10 months with examinations twice a year.  The price was membership in the P.N.E.U. and postage.

The pamphlet states that the course offers:

       1. Help towards such teaching as should confirm children in the Christian Religion.
2. Some knowledge of the principles of Education and the methods based on those principles.
3. Knowledge necessary for the care and development of children in sickness and health, together with some help in matters of Home-Craft.
4. Some knowledge of Nature lore and Elementary Science.
Here is the examination sheet which shows the 4 areas of study included in the course:  Divinity, Physiology and Health, Mental & Moral Science and Education, Nature Lore and the Elements of Science. Note the Scale of Marks across the bottom!
Image used by permission from the Charlotte Mason Digital Collection, Redeemer University College, Ancaster, Ontario, Canada

The materials used in the course were those worthy of a college course for sure.  I will share some of those in a later post.  I am thankful that Ms. Mason looked at women as persons - spiritual, emotional, and intellectual image bearers.  I hope to pass this whole-person identity on to my own children through what we do day-in and day-out.

With affection and regard,

You might enjoy reading the first in this series - Comprehensive Questions? (Mothers' Education Course Part I)


  1. Have you taken the course and scored HIGH?!!!!! I am sure you would be on the top.

  2. I am interested (in your future post(s)) to know what was the required reading. Fascinating!

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    1. Dear Nicole,
      Nice to hear from you! I am so excited that you will be attending the LER this year. Heidi, our registration coordinator, will be sending you an email with airport information. She will also be sending out LER info for the upcoming retreat to the attendees very soon.

    2. Thanks for your super-fast reply, Nancy! I am really looking forward to the retreat!!

  4. I have been thinking about the MEC a lot lately, too. I look forward to any posts you intend to write on this subject! :)

  5. I wish I could attend but would love to read whatever is posted in the future on this very thing!!!