I have been married for 30 years and have been homeschooling for over 20 years. My oldest son is a graduate of Hillsdale College and is now married. My next son is a graduate of U of MN and UNC Wilmington. Both graduated from our homeschool, Sage Parnassus, using the methods of Charlotte Mason. My oldest daughter is in Bible College. Currently, my husband and I are homeschooling the three youngest - 17, 15, and 13. We live in the southwest corner of Minnesota in a 125-year-old Victorian house with an inviting wrap-around porch.
I have had the opportunity to work alongside many Mason experts from academia as well as my local community. I have learned from everyone but value most those daily practitioners (homeschool moms) from all over who truly understand what it means to live out this relational education. Life is a whole, not little compartments and this is one of the keys to implementing her philosophy - education is a life.
What is the Charlotte Mason method?
This simply cannot be answered in a paragraph or two! Let me just say that the CM method is the method that we found to ring true in regards to who the child is and how they learn. It is based on her writings found in her 6-volume series,written about 100 years ago. She didn't separate the secular and the sacred - no dualism. Her theory of education is in unison with the methods used. It is a life giving -or a living - education for both the student and the teacher or parent. It is a profoundly Christian education.
In a Mason education, the onus of the work is on the student. Mason called this "self-education". Parents and teachers are inspirers and nurturers. A CM education is much more than a list of inspirational and disciplinary subjects. It is more than the hundreds of glorious books that are used. Nature study is foundational for many things, including wonder and awe of God's creation, future science work, and the habit of attention. Narration, or telling back, is of utmost importance and changes the way a student processes information. Ideas, relationships, atmosphere, habits - all these are elements of a CM education. But it's the whole, the way these things work together, that she mapped out so humbly and beautifully into a coherent plan that we can glean from today.
If you read through the pages of my blog, it will slowly present a picture of the CM method as applied in our homeschool. I find that by adhering to the principles that she laid out as closely as I can that studies do "serve for delight." And while there are certain aspects of her philosophy that she shares in common with other methods, I have chosen to sincerely apply what CM prescribes and to focus my research and application on her beautiful, distinctive work. I encourage you to read through her volumes and drink from the source. Join me alongside the flowing streams and avoid the stagnant pools.
Why "Sage Parnassus"?
We needed a name for our house and school, so the boys chose sage because strangers would knock on our door and ask what color we had recently painted the house. The shade of green was called sage. They chose Parnassus because that was the name of Amy and Laurie's house and school in Jo's Boys which they were reading at the time. A sweet memory, really, from two little boys who are now all grown up.
They put those two words together and we decided it sounded nice. It worked for me because Parnassus on Wheels is a book I love (about a mobile bookseller) and Parnassus generally refers to the home of poetry, literature and learning due to the fact that Parnassus in Greek mythology was a mountain in Greece where the Muses resided.
What does "maxima reverentia debetur pueris" mean?
That's one of our school mottos. It means "The greatest respect is due the students". You can read a bit more about it here.