"An unwalled university all dedicate to plain living and high thinking."
- Charlotte Mason on Ambleside
My husband and I have just returned from a dream trip to England. We spent one week in the Lake District with some very special friends and then three days in London. I kept an abbreviated journal of sorts, which is a good thing as already some events and places seem distant and foggy. And my hopes for nature journal entries did not happen - CM fail. But I think I was in each moment, taking it in and marveling that I was standing and experiencing life in the exact same places Charlotte Mason and her students did.
Not to be dramatic or anything, but I am changed. I understand so much more of this philosophy now. Seeing the different houses, the college, the archives at the Armitt, the AMAZING countryside...I hardly know where to begin.
But my traveling is just beginning, as I speak at the NICHE conference in Des Moines next week, then to see my parents in Ohio, then events every other week or so. So I will post here about this trip irregularly, when I can manage it.
Charlotte first mentions Ambleside, this quaint village at the tip of Lake Windermere, in 1864. She was 22 and it was then that this rare and famous picture was taken. (Apparently, she didn't like to have her picture taken!)
She visited many times in the coming years and finally moved to Ambleside as her chosen spot for the teacher training college when she was 50. And my, I now can see why! It is another world, far away from the hustle and bustle of London. The beauty and refreshment offered by this unique landscape would be the perfect place to walk, observe, contemplate, and learn. The dichotomy between the city and the country was pronounced for me as we visited London on our final 3 days of the trip. Plus, this area drew many high-minded, creative people such as William Wordsworth, Robert Southey, John Ruskin, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Matthew Arnold, The Armitt Sisters, Beatrix Potter and many more.
|on a stile above High Sweden Bridge|
One thing that really struck home for me was that learning this philosophy and method takes time. Time to think, prepare, and put into practice. Many of us learned her methods on the fly while raising up our children, which is fine as that was our circumstance. None of us have the luxury of attending a 2-year program like what she offered at her House of Education, although certain elements can be found at some institutions and conferences. I mention this because I think it would be helpful if you know any college-age student or a young married person to share For the Children's Sake or even Home Education. Then continue the conversation with them. A little seed of this paradigm here and there will sprout eventually. And it takes time to let it sink in. I've seen it a few times myself.
It's good to be home.
|tea-for-one pot that dh bought for me|