“Next in order to religious knowledge,” Charlotte Mason said, “history is the pivot upon which our curriculum turns.” (An Essay Towards a Philosophy of Education, p. 273) For Miss Mason, history was the core of the curriculum. Its chronology formed the framework for what literature the students read, the poets they listened to, as well as the artistic, musical, and architectural contributions made during the time period to be studied.
It may seem overwhelming to know that Miss Mason taught three separate “streams” of history–simultaneously. Additionally, students would be learning biblical history during their Bible lessons. For those of us raised in the traditional paradigm of public school, keeping these streams straight seems a daunting, if not impossible task. Yet, students in the Parents’ Union School not only thrived with this broad historical feast, but their understanding of history was deep enough to enable them to think justly of their own age.
“To us in particular who are living in one of the great epochs of history it is necessary to know
something of what has gone before in order to think justly of what is occurring to-day.” (Essay, 169)
Citizenship, just opinions, and sympathy with others living differently than ourselves are just three crucial outcomes of a thorough study of history. But an oft misunderstood, and sometimes overlooked, component of a Charlotte Mason education is the tools she put into the students’ hands that enabled them to synthesize their history streams and develop a deep understanding of chronology. The ‘Book of Centuries’ is likely familiar to all of us, but what about the other time-tools used in the P.N.E.U.? The Century Charts and time-lines?
During the History Tools Immersion Session at the Charlotte Mason Institute Eastern Conference we will be examining these components of a Charlotte Mason History Education:
What streams of history are covered in each of the six Forms encompassing grades 1-12
Participation in history lessons appropriate for each Form level with ample opportunity to practice narration techniques appropriate for each Form
Detailed descriptions of each of the time-tools (time-lines, charts, the Book of Centuries, etc.) used across the Forms–a thorough explanation of which tools to use when as well as how to introduce them to your students
Hands-on practice using each of the time-tools discussed–these tools will be tied to the age-appropriate lessons reinforcing the unfolding progression of charts and books that deepen a child’s understanding of chronology
At the end of our time together, participants will come away equipped and inspired to incorporate these history “things” that are such an integral part of our children’s education. Here are a few comments shared by those who participated in our learning day last year:
“I have struggled to understand the big picture as well as how to use all the different charts. This immersion answered so many of my questions.”
“I thought the history immersion was fabulous. I really liked being a “student” progressing through the forms so that I could understand how lessons and expectations change as the child gets older.”
“This was so beneficial and well run. I appreciated the practical information shared, the handouts, the whys given and the opportunity to try these things ourselves. Wonderful session that I would highly recommend to any CM educator.”
I hope you’ll consider joining us for a day of living in other times and places as we discover and enjoy the tools that help us build our Science of Relations.