I'm beginning the day a little slowly as I was out late last night, late for me anyhow, with some dear friends. Every six weeks for the past three years, my daughter, Emily, and I have been meeting with some ladies who are interested in Charlotte Mason's method of education. Our joint aspiration is to read through all of her six volumes of writings on the subject of education. It's a lofty goal, but last night we finished the fourth volume. Not only has our understanding of teaching children increased, but our friendships, and respect for Ms. Mason, have deepened. Though I have occasionally been part of book discussion groups, this one has been unique because we actually have stayed on topic (not that we don't discuss everything else under the sun also). It has taken us since last spring when we began to read "Ourselves" to get through it, which is odd because it is a simpler book to read than all the rest. I guess it just shows that we inherently love discussing ourselves.
For three years Emily has been reading these volumes aloud to me. I kept hinting to her that it would be great if she would record them so I could return to them again and again. They are so rich. She finally did so with Volume 4 and not just for me, but for as many of you as would like to listen in, they are finally available for you too.
I don't know what my life would be like without people who were willing to read to me. I grew up in a family of book lovers so when my vision didn't allow me to read books on my own, my parents made sure I learned to read Braille. They also signed me up for the Talking Book program through our state lending library for the blind and it was a day of celebration when my "talking book machine" arrived and I put the first "longplay record" on and became a bookworm forever after.
So I have enjoyed listening to books. Thankfully, with progress in technology, audio reading is much more convenient for everyone. Our website will be producing the entire Original Homeschooling Series by Charlotte Mason. We begin with Ourselves, which will be available for download from our website in installments. Each installment is equivalent to one full-length audio CD.
The author of Ourselves wrote it for young people to read, to increase their understanding of themselves as persons, and provide knowledge that would help them move into adulthood with grace. She describes an allegorical kingdom of Mansoul (a concept borrowed from John Bunyan), to provide a framework for understanding our personhood. Through this kingdom she paints a picture of ourselves--physically, mentally, and spiritually. Written over a hundred years ago, when psychology was a young science, she illuminates the vast reaches of personality simply and profoundly, far beyond the scope of modern psychological explanation and social awareness of today.
Her first educational principle is that "children are born persons." This book reveals what she means by this. Many books claim to change your life. Whether you read this volume alone, with your children, or your children read it independently, I guarantee your awareness of yourself and the tremendous possibilities for your life will expand as you more fully realize who God created you to be. "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
Please visit the Charlotte Mason Audio page to find out more.
For the joy of reading,