GENERAL INFORMATION

Registration

The Charlotte Mason Institute 2020 offers registration for all with discounts for Alveary members, schools and teens. Special tracks geared toward teens, CM beginners, classroom teachers, and educators working with students with special education needs will run throughout the conference. View the full schedule here. Attendees also have the option to register for food and/or lodging and choose from a selection of pre-conference immersions. Just click HERE to register, and select the options that suit you.

Donate

In previous years, generous individuals have asked if they could offer a scholarship to someone hoping to attend but unable to afford it or if they can contribute directly to The Charlotte Mason Institute. If you would like to support our mission of supporting a worldwide community of learners and educators in an authentic practice of Charlotte Mason’s paradigm of education, you can also donate HERE.

Meals & Lodging

In addition to airbnb and local hotels which attendees can book themselves, CMI offers discounted bed and board at Asbury University. Single and shared dorm rooms are available as well as shared rooms in apartments. Dorm rooms have two twin beds and a communal kitchen or two. Apartments have two twin beds in each room and also feature an unfurnished kitchen and living room. We will place families or groups together; please submit your roommate request(s) when you purchase lodging.

For meals, conference attendees may choose to bring their own food and use the apartment kitchens or dorm fridges, eat at local restaurants, or purchase a meal plan (the most popular option as meal times are great places to connect with fellow attendees). Indicate any special dietary needs when purchasing meals.

Location

Join us in the charming Wilmore Kentucky located in the heart of the bluegrass and a convenient 15 miles from the Lexington Airport. Our host location is:

Asbury University

1 Macklein Dr. Wilmore, KY, 40390

You could make a long weekend out of the conference and spend an extra day enjoying the local sites. Or, bring your family and (if you don’t bring them to the conference) send them out to explore the area!

The Charlotte Mason Institute Store
We will have CMI and Alveary branded products to sell. The Alveary table will also feature curriculum samples and information.

Forney’s Used Books
The Forneys will once again bring their roughly 100 bins of used living books to our conference. Organized by form and subject for easy viewing, these books will affordably enrich your home or school library.

Riverbend Press
Riverbend is a small publishing company specializing in high-quality, affordable notebooks and re-prints of classic books designed to support the Charlotte Mason educational community. They prefer handmade books for their durability and beauty. Riverbend notebooks also have sewn-bindings so they always lay flat and features the best paper for each type of notebook.

Does my group qualify for the school discounts? Are we a school?

A school is usually registered with the relevant government jurisdiction in which it operates, has a physical address, website, and hired professional staff.  Schools usually operate most weekdays and are usually face to face. Sound like you? If so, and if you’re planning to attend with 3 or more of your staff, take advantage of our significant school discounts!

Can I get Continuing Education Credit?

Yes! Those wishing to receive a certificate of attendance to this conference for continuing education purposes should print out this form to keep a record of the sessions and events you attend. At checkout, you will turn in your log of contact hours. CMI will be happy to provide you a certificate, which will be mailed to you within two weeks of the last day of the conference or earlier if needed.

I registered for the conference, but am unable to attend. What is your cancelation policy?

Before May 15, 2020, we will refund 75% of your total costs; after May 15, we are unable to provide refunds.

Can I transfer my registration to another person?

No. Registrations are not transferable. However, if you wish to gift a registration to someone, contact us and we will make it happen! If you wish to donate more generally to help keep conference costs low, you may do so HERE.

 

 

Video
Register

Registration

The Charlotte Mason Institute 2020 offers registration for all with discounts for Alveary members, schools and teens. Special tracks geared toward teens, CM beginners, classroom teachers, and educators working with students with special education needs will run throughout the conference. View the full schedule here. Attendees also have the option to register for food and/or lodging and choose from a selection of pre-conference immersions. Just click HERE to register, and select the options that suit you.

Donate

In previous years, generous individuals have asked if they could offer a scholarship to someone hoping to attend but unable to afford it or if they can contribute directly to The Charlotte Mason Institute. If you would like to support our mission of supporting a worldwide community of learners and educators in an authentic practice of Charlotte Mason’s paradigm of education, you can also donate HERE.

Meals & Lodging

Meals & Lodging

In addition to airbnb and local hotels which attendees can book themselves, CMI offers discounted bed and board at Asbury University. Single and shared dorm rooms are available as well as shared rooms in apartments. Dorm rooms have two twin beds and a communal kitchen or two. Apartments have two twin beds in each room and also feature an unfurnished kitchen and living room. We will place families or groups together; please submit your roommate request(s) when you purchase lodging.

For meals, conference attendees may choose to bring their own food and use the apartment kitchens or dorm fridges, eat at local restaurants, or purchase a meal plan (the most popular option as meal times are great places to connect with fellow attendees). Indicate any special dietary needs when purchasing meals.
Location

Location

Join us in the charming Wilmore Kentucky located in the heart of the bluegrass and a convenient 15 miles from the Lexington Airport. Our host location is:

Asbury University

1 Macklein Dr. Wilmore, KY, 40390

You could make a long weekend out of the conference and spend an extra day enjoying the local sites. Or, bring your family and (if you don’t bring them to the conference) send them out to explore the area!

Vendors

The Charlotte Mason Institute Store
We will have CMI and Alveary branded products to sell. The Alveary table will also feature curriculum samples and information.

Forney’s Used Books
The Forneys will once again bring their roughly 100 bins of used living books to our conference. Organized by form and subject for easy viewing, these books will affordably enrich your home or school library.

Riverbend Press
Riverbend is a small publishing company specializing in high-quality, affordable notebooks and re-prints of classic books designed to support the Charlotte Mason educational community. They prefer handmade books for their durability and beauty. Riverbend notebooks also have sewn-bindings so they always lay flat and features the best paper for each type of notebook.

FAQ
Does my group qualify for the school discounts? Are we a school?

A school is usually registered with the relevant government jurisdiction in which it operates, has a physical address, website, and hired professional staff.  Schools usually operate most weekdays and are usually face to face. Sound like you? If so, and if you’re planning to attend with 3 or more of your staff, take advantage of our significant school discounts!

Can I get Continuing Education Credit?

Yes! Those wishing to receive a certificate of attendance to this conference for continuing education purposes should print out this form to keep a record of the sessions and events you attend. At checkout, you will turn in your log of contact hours. CMI will be happy to provide you a certificate, which will be mailed to you within two weeks of the last day of the conference or earlier if needed.

I registered for the conference, but am unable to attend. What is your cancelation policy?

Before May 15, 2020, we will refund 75% of your total costs; after May 15, we are unable to provide refunds.

Can I transfer my registration to another person?

No. Registrations are not transferable. However, if you wish to gift a registration to someone, contact us and we will make it happen! If you wish to donate more generally to help keep conference costs low, you may do so HERE.

 

 

ABOUT

“Reverence for science, reverence for God, and openness of mind, befits us for life as a probation and a continual education.”

~Charlotte Mason, School Education, “A Master Thought

Science results in delight and often debate for Mason educators. When current scientific insights flesh out Mason’s ideas from a hundred years ago, we marvel. Yet, a number of questions always hover near.

What books, what methods, what perspectives are best to teach science to elementary and secondary students? Can Mason’s philosophy of science teaching prepare students to exist in our STEM-centered world? Most of all, and more generally, how can Christian educators help their students wonder at their Creator through both their studies of science and Scripture in a world where the two are often pitted against one another?

To help us explore these questions, we’re delighted to announce Dr. James Peterson, Professor of Christian Ethics at Roanoke College and renowned geneticist, as the keynote speaker at our 2020 conference. Dr. Peterson’s series of plenaries will inspire, inform, and invite deeper thinking and understanding of the profound interplay of science and faith which is our theme for “On Science and Faith: Celebrating God’s Words and Works.”

Through Dr. Peterson’s talks and the other sessions centered around this theme we aim to:

  • Celebrate faithful Christian scientists past and present
  • Consider the limits of science
  • Encourage confidence in the Bible as the inspired word of God, trustworthy and true
  • Practically equip educators to offer their students a Mason science education

In addition to plenaries and workshops revolving around science and faith, the conference will continue to offer a host of other workshops, practice sessions, and fireside chats. We’re planning a series of breakout tracks for those new to Mason’s philosophy, for those educating students with special education needs, for those teaching in Charlotte Mason-inspired schools, and for your teens. You’ll have options which touch on everything from Mason’s core philosophy and methods to nature study, handicrafts, and high school.

Are you eager to learn more about how Charlotte Mason’s ideas and methods for science education remain applicable in today’s K-12 education? Are you seeking refreshment for your classroom or home? Are you convicted that Christian education can be and offer more than it does? Are you searching for new relationships with like-minded educators? 

The Charlotte Mason Institute is dedicated to offering conferences that connect thoughtful ideas with thoughtful educators. We’d love to welcome you, your friends, your teens, and your colleagues to our conference this year.

SPEAKERS

DR. JENNIFER
SPENCER

DR. JAMES
PETERSON

CATHY
BARINGTON

NANCY
KELLY

DR. CARROLL
SMITH

LOUISE
ST. AMOUR

DANIELLE
MERRITT

CHALISE
BONDURANT

LISA
CADORA

DR. JACK
BECKMAN

RACHEL
MILLER

JAY
MERRITT

KERRI
FORNEY

KATHRYN
FORNEY

PARKE
STALCUP

DR. DEANI
VAN PELT

KELLI
CHRISTENBERRY

DR. CHRISTY
MAHER

DR. KEN
WOLGEMUTH

LISA
ECTOR

LEANN
BURKHOLDER

DR. SHANNON WHITESIDE

ERIKA
MCKNIGHT

KRISTEN
FORNEY

SANDRA
ZUIDEMA

ERIN
DAY

ELIZABETH
MILLAR

SCHEDULE & SESSIONS

Plenaries

Plenary #1 – Attitude Adjustment: Cultivating a Scientific Attitude in Ourselves and Our Students with Dr. Jennifer Spencer

Much of Mason’s approach towards science was based not on facts or skills, but on attitudes. In this plenary, Dr. Spencer will explain the attitudes Mason wished to cultivate in young people, how Mason crafted her methods and curriculum towards that end, and what the implications are for current practitioners.

Plenary #2 – On Christians in Science: Celebrating Faithful Scientists Past and Present with Dr. James Peterson

Aim: To celebrate Christians who have done great science in both the past and today out of love for God and neighbor. For example, the Oxford University chemist Robert Boyle, who discovered what we still call Boyle’s law, directed in his will that at his death his estate should be sold and the money sent to translate the New Testament into native American languages.

“Science herself contains the promise of great impetus to the spiritual life-to perceive these things is to be able to rejoice in all truth.” Charlotte Mason,  Parents and Children, p. 45.

Plenary #3 – Eve Anderson Lecture with Dr. Ken Wolgemuth

Plenary #4 – The Limits of Science with Dr. James Peterson

Aim: To recognize that science is very good at what it does, finding causal links between material events. It does not address all of reality, why there is something material rather than nothing, why it is good to do science, or why it is good to do anything, only the material how.

“All youth are cocksure because they have not encountered yet that equally reasonable and equally intelligent persons may hold opposite views on a question.” Charlotte Mason, Formation of Character, p. 321.

Plenary #5 – The Bible: Trustworthy and True with Dr. James Peterson

Aim: To encourage confidence that the Bible is true and trustworthy in all that it teaches, indeed one could say without error, inerrant, in what it teaches, and so to listen to the different ways it communicates, in order to carefully hear what it is actually saying.

“Reverence for science, reverence for God, and openness of mind, befits us for life as a probation and a continual education.” Charlotte Mason, “A Master Thought,” p160.

Plenary #6 – Genesis, Rocks, Bones, and Genes with Dr. James Peterson

Aim: To help theology and the sciences both to be better for their complementary interaction. All truth is God’s truth. Where they seem possibly to stress each other, there is an opportunity to learn both better of God’s Word and God’s Works. For example, Genesis chapters 25-30 describe how Jacob is to be blessed with the covenant but connives to gain his own way by bargaining for Esau’s birthright when Esau is weak with hunger, and stealing Isaac’s blessing on Esau by pretending to be Esau. Jacob then tried to take Laban’s lambs and kids by placing speckled branches in the water troughs of Laban’s sheep and goats when they were mating. This is an accurate historical account of Jacob’s grasping character and Jacob’s mistaken idea of inheritance. Jacob’s flocks grow and prosper with the designated speckled lambs and kids because of God’s blessing, not Jacob’s stick trick. What we now know of genetics, points out what is actually happening. Yet again Jacob is prospering because of God’s gracious generosity, not Jacob’s conniving. A science that studies God’s Work, genetics, can in this case help us to see more clearly what the text of God’s Word is teaching about God, covenant, and character.

Pre-Conference Immersions

* Immersions are limited to 25 attendees each

Elementary Immersion for Home and School with Dr. Jennifer Spencer

Join Dr. Jennifer Spencer, project manager of Charlotte Mason’s Alveary as she walks you through a morning of elementary lessons using Alveary lesson plans. During the morning hours, attendees will experience lessons as students, following the scheduling principles and teaching methods laid out by Mason. The afternoon will be devoted to discussion and questions. Attendees will receive a copy of the lesson plans and schedule used.

Please bring: a notebook, a pencil (in addition to pens for note-taking), watercolors, and a small paintbrush.

 

High School Immersion for Home and School with Kelli Christenberry, Kerri Forney, and Kathryn Forney

Do you know what Charlotte had the students doing and reading in the upper years?  Are you wondering what a Charlotte Mason high school schedule could look like? Would you like some encouragement for staying the course and continuing to apply Mason’s principles and methods for your teenaged students?  Come to this pre-conference immersion session on High School led by members of the Charlotte Mason’s Alveary high school team, and join them as they walk you through many aspects of a CM high school day using Charlotte Mason’s Alveary’s high school curriculum. The day will include demonstration, discussion, and immersion with plenty of time for questions. The goal of the time together is to spread a feast of ideas and tools to encourage and inspire you along the CM high school road.

Nature Study: An Out of Door Life for All with Chalise Bondurant

Whether you are a life-long lover of nature, or are just beginning your nature journey, please join us for a day in the “out of doors” to experience the beauty of a Charlotte Mason approach to nature study. We will spend time learning about the philosophy of the Charlotte Mason approach to nature study, and why time in nature is a practice that we all need to implement. We will also look at several of the practices Charlotte recommended to us and we will practice them together outdoors for a large portion of the day. We will be learning about some ways to approach time in nature as a spiritual practice for ourselves as an aspect of our own continuing education and spiritual transformation. I will be leading you through many of the activities that our local Natural History Club incorporates and we will leave time for nature journaling as well. There will be a lot of time for interaction and questions built in, as well as quiet reflective time for you to enjoy the beauty of these practices as an individual. I hope you will join us!

*Please bring any nature journal supplies you have and attire and gear appropriate for all kinds of weather. We will be spending most of the day at Asbury Nature Area, so please plan on packing a sack lunch and plenty of water as well.

Planning for the Neurodiverse Schoolroom with Danielle Merritt-Sunseri

Do you find yourself overwhelmed with the different neurological needs of your students? Do you feel unsure of where to start in planning for these varied needs? Would you like a planning method that feeds you and supports relationship with your students?

“One hour’s worth of planning can save you ten hours’ worth of work.” After years of raising children with both typical and various neuroatypical needs, Danielle has developed an effective method of planning to bring peace and balance to the schoolroom. This method is built on a relationship of respect with students. She will teach you her method in this 5-hour immersion. Just bring your current schedule and your favorite planning tools (whether spreadsheet to pencil and paper) for a day of coaching and collaboration. We will begin the day by examining how the P.N.E.U motto can guide us toward greater relationship. Then we will begin working with Danielle’s method, digging into atmosphere through a process of guided reflection and examination. We will consider discipline, determining how to set priorities and establish effective strategies. We will then set ourselves to the task of developing a schedule, a road map to “education is a life.” This schedule will weave together atmosphere, discipline, and an appropriate feast for each child in the schoolroom.

Conference Tracks

Wondering if a particular session is right for you? In order to help you select a workshop or practice session to attend, we’ve organized many of them into several conference tracks. Each workshop, practice session, and chat will contain a session in each of these tracks. Sessions tagged in each track are open to everyone and designed to offer a feast of inspiration and ideas to all–we’ve just tagged them in a particular track because we think they may be particularly helpful and relevant to you–as a teen, a CM beginner, an educator working with neuroatypical students, or a classroom teacher. You do not have to attend all the sessions in a particular track but can attend various sessions on the schedule as you desire. Look for a (B) marking sessions in the Beginner Track, a (C) for the classroom track, (N) for the Neuroatypical, and (T) for Teen marking abstracts and titles on the schedule.

Teen Track*

Wishing your teens could meet other Mason-educated teens? Wanting your teen to catch a vision for the living education your are trying to provide? The Teen Track is a series of breakouts for friendship, fun, encouragement, discussion, and growth. As teens participate in the main plenaries and these customized sessions, we aim to create a shared experience for teenagers and their parents that will cultivate conversations about science, faith, and education. Geared toward teens, but open to all, these breakouts will feature a range of engaging opportunities such as a discussion with a scientist, folk songs, games, sports, dance, and nature, geography, and science activities–we want to inspire and stimulate teens to care about the wide feast of things and ideas. Look for sessions marked with a (T) on the schedule.

*Only 50 discounted teen registrations available!

CM Beginner Track

Just recently discovered Charlotte Mason’s philosophy and methods? Learning about Mason over the few years but feeling a little overwhelmed? Sessions in the CM Beginner Track are designed especially for you but will provide a Mason groundwork for any attendee. We will cover a foundation of Mason’s principles, her Christian vision of education, and her tools for learning through “atmosphere, discipline and life” as well as the practical aspects of education such as habit formation, lesson planning and more. Look for sessions marked with a (B) on the schedule.

Neuroatypical Track

Have a student with ADHD, ADD, or processing challenges? Come learn from Mason educators who have worked with children dealing with special education needs, and glean from their ideas to bring peace, creativity, and growth to your home. Although some may wish to attend every session in the track, each session is complete in and of itself and open to all! Look for sessions marked with a (N) on the schedule.

Mason in the Classroom Track

Seeking to learn how you and your team could implement a Mason education in a classroom? Pondering the particular challenges and opportunities unique to Mason schools? This series of breakouts will equip teachers to more effectively create a Mason classroom where education is an atmosphere, discipline, and life. Not a classroom teacher but curious about a particular session? Please join us! We aim for every session to encourage every participant whether educating from the home or school classroom. Look for sessions marked with a (C) on the schedule.

(T) = Teen Track (B) = Beginner Track (N) = Neuroatypical Track (C) = Mason in the Classroom Track

*Subject to change

(B) Educating Image-Bearers: Charlotte Mason’s 20 Principles with Dr. Jennifer Spencer

As we seek to follow Mason’s philosophy and carry her methods forward, studying her 20 principles–what they mean and their implications for today–is critical. In this session, Dr. Spencer will break down the principles into easy-to-understand pieces, share current research that supports the principles and gives us direction, and discuss important implications for today’s practitioners.

(C) Mason in the Classroom with Lisa Ector

Charlotte Mason today is commonly associated with homeschooling, although those who know more about her life know that her methods were actually implemented first in the schoolroom. While her methods work beautifully in the home, they also maintain their validity today in the classroom. In this workshop, her methods will be demonstrated and explained using a larger group setting as the model. The demonstrations will be applicable to a school, co-op, Sunday school, or even larger family group setting. There are both benefits and challenges that arise from a group setting. Some of these challenges – such as classroom management, keeping within the time frame, and maintaining the structure of a lesson – will be addressed using several sample demonstrations.

“I am just playing Jesus”—The Art and Science of Narration as an Act of Storytelling with Dr. Jack Beckman

I have an initial degree in Early Childhood Education and spent 12 years teaching first grade – mostly in Christian schools. Since living books are fundamental to our course of study, I wanted to make the experience for my young learners to be one that as Charlotte Mason expressed was “knowledge touched with emotion”. This led me to the National Storytelling Festival and a life of reading and telling stories to children and anyone else who would listen. My hope in this session is to model and encourage imaginal thinking through storytelling as a key component of our imageness and understanding of God in Christ. Using biblical narratives and personal accounts, the mind- and skill-set of storytelling becomes a vehicle that engages the meaning making “apparatus” given to children – intellect, imagination, intuition, affect, body, schema. In fact, the literature on narrativity (storytelling) and narration is closely aligned and provides a rich and deep experience for our children as they learn to make sense of the created order around them. And besides, everyone loves a story…

Architecture: An Expression of Human Life with Sandra Zuidema

Architecture is not a matter of styles and mouldings and students’ terms: it has a human quality: it touches us at every point, and, of all the fine arts, is the one most intimately associated with the lives of all of us. …For architecture has always been an expression of human life, the medium by which nations have recorded – truly, because unconsciously – their emotions, their aspirations, their beliefs.” ~Waterhouse, The Story of Architecture

Is it necessary to study architecture, and if so, why and how? Architecture is a subject which ties together the art, culture, history, religion, and geography of a people.  In architecture, we discover that what remains is an indication of what matters most.

In this session we will focus on one feature of architecture – the Dome.  We will follow the development of the Dome through multiple cultures and time periods to find out what expression of human life can be discovered in each.  We will also lay out the practical means by which the subject of architecture can be presented and expressed in a Mason manner.

Church History with Elizabeth Millar

Church History is one of Elizabeth’s favourite streams of history and she’s included it faithfully throughout the years in her home education. She believes students must understand that the place we go to on Sundays isn’t just a 21st century idea in our own particular geographic location. As students grow and mature and participate in church life, it is important they make that connection between the early church in the Scriptures and their own place of worship. Everything from the stories that the stained glass windows told to the scandalous freedom of owning a Bible in one’s own language to the explosion of missionary efforts around the world – there is much to learn. And people to meet! What about Polycarp and Blandina from the first couple of centuries? Remember Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan, who rebuked Emperor Theodosius? Or William Tyndale who risked his life so we could read the Bible ourselves? What about John Newton, Amy Carmichael, Richard Wurmbrand? There’s two thousand years of people and events and stories to discover and enjoy!

A Life in Nature: To Be. To Enjoy. To Know. To Worship. To Care. with Chalise Bondurant

Please join me as we dig into several of the aspects of a well-rounded life for the student of nature. Whether you are a lifelong student of nature, or just beginning your journey in nature, you will benefit and be encouraged to take the next step in your journey. We will study together about Charlotte Mason’s teachings on nature and the outdoors, as well as the teachings of other respected naturalists and lovers of God’s creation, and look extensively at Scriptures to support this topic as well. You will learn the why and the how of being in nature, enjoying nature, knowing about nature and the Creator, worshipping the Creator of all things, and caring about and for creation. While this workshop is aimed at the life in nature for the parent/educator, what you learn will also be applicable and beneficial to your students and children. This will be an interactive workshop with time for discussion, questions, and practical application and goal setting. Join me and be equipped to take the next step in your life in nature.

(N) One Person’s Journey with Executive Function Deficits with Jay Merritt

Jay will present a historical perspective of his own journey with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). His journey and the presentation will start with a later-in-life diagnosis and treatment decisions and then take a look back on the effect the undiagnosed disorder has had throughout his life.  Along and concurrent to his own timeline, he also will give a historical perspective of the disorder as it has evolved through the years to current thinking on causes and effects. This seminar will provide insight to parents and teachers in relating to their students who exhibit executive function deficits.

(N) With Love from Autism with Danielle Merritt-Sunseri

Is it hard to understand what your autistic child is experiencing? Is it difficult to relate to them? In this seminar, Danielle will share some perspectives about life as an autistic person. This is what she wished she understood about herself as a child. This is what she would have wanted the people in her life to have known. From social skills and quirky behaviors to academic challenges and communication impairments, everyone with a child on the spectrum will benefit from this inside-out view.

(T) Science Notebooking / Notebooking toward Adulthood with Louise St. Amour

Miss Mason mentions several ways of engaging with books beyond our usual narration, and this variety of ways is particularly useful in the study of science, where the elegance of the physical world is often more simply expressed in diagrams, tables, and mathematical equations than with only words.  In this session, we will use some living books on science to explore different techniques one could use in notebooking to develop a deeper relationship with the material.

To conclude the time, Louise will teach how to hand-bind your own motto book and discuss various different types of notebooks Mason used and how they may be useful as you embark on your journey of self-education.

(B) 10 Ways to Start (or Beef up!) a Mason Education with Elizabeth Millar

Perhaps you’ve read Susan Schaeffer Macauley’s For the Children’s Sake or something by Karen Andreola or maybe you’ve got the pink volumes of Charlotte Mason on your book shelf. For some reason, the CM philosophy of education intrigues you and you feel drawn to this particular way of education. If you’re wanting to put this philosophy intro practice, but not sure where to start or you’ve been doing this for a few years but want to do more, this workshop will give you some very practical ways to put this philosophy of education into practice. Instead of feeling paralyzed or overwhelmed, I’d love for you to walk out of this workshop with some concrete ideas for your homeschool that you can implement right away – things like keeping notebooks, establishing a morning routine, how to do read-a-louds, spending time in nature. Reading about something is one thing – putting it into practice is another and sometimes it helps to have a friend say: “try this!” May this workshop inspire you to try a couple of new things, or if you’ve been doing this for a few years may it remind you what’s important about a CM education.

(C) The Responsive Classroom – Building Blocks for Community and Commitment with Dr. Jack Beckman

Dr. Beckman teaches an organization and management course to undergraduate level elementary education majors. He also spends time observing teachers in schools as they deal with students on multiple levels, and sees confusion over just what it means to build discipline and habit into the hearts and lives of children. Methods from stoplights to behavior charts to silent lunch to no recess all work against the nature of the learner and how God has made them. Dr. Beckman discovered nearly 20 years ago a model with great potential called the Responsive Classroom. This approach takes clearly into account the nature of the learner and their need for a caring and challenging community, as well as redemptive strategies for how students can learn to live in that community. The Responsive Classroom believes that the social, attitudinal, and behavioral curriculum is just as important as the intellectual curriculum. It also has a growing empirical research base of evidence as to its efficacy in schools as diverse as leafy-green middle class to at-risk rural and urban contexts. Oh, and its principles work well in the home too.

Modern Language:  The Charlotte Mason Approach with Rachel Miller

Charlotte Mason valued the teaching of languages; but how was this done in her schools?  What does this mean for our own classrooms today?  In this workshop we will discuss why we should study language,  the methods Mason used, such as the Gouin series, and explore the research that has been done since that time that has expanded and improved her methods for a modern audience.  (Includes demonstrations of the techniques and planning help.)

Art History for History with Sandra Zuidema

After studying individual artists in Picture Study for years, high school students are ready to see the big picture of art through history. They are ready to move from Picture Study to engage in the discussion of how each movement or era began, how it was a part of the culture, and how it changed the way the world was seen, most visible through the fine arts. This talk shows one way to set up an Art History course designed to do four things per week: 1. It spotlights one era per week 2. It zooms in on one specific artist in each era 3. It highlights the three most influential artists of the era 4. It branches out to the others arts to find out how the poets, authors, composers, and film-makers of the era were expressing their world in each age. You will leave this session feeling that you have the tools to set up an Art History course with confidence.

Relations in Science with Danielle Merrit-Sunseri

The science of relations seems natural to consider when we think about the humanities, but what about science? What does that look like? In this seminar, Danielle will focus on the essential roles of relationship, curiosity, and culture. These are not optional considerations in a Mason science program. Let’s examine the hows and whys of these vital ideals, so that science might be an inspiration rather than a requirement.

(N) Developing Attunement: Supporting Our Students with Challenges with Cathy Barrington and Christy Maher

Are you caught off guard when your student is struggling? Are you confused when your student displays strong reactions? Do you feel inadequate when your learning atmosphere is disrupted by the emotional reactions of a student? Come join Cathy and Christy as they discuss the role of attunement and explore the tools that can build healthy connection with your student.

(N) A Discussion on Dyslexia with LeAnn Burkholder

When a child struggles with dyslexia, it can be a challenge to give them the practical support that they need while still providing them with the life of a Mason education. This informal workshop will provide space to discuss dyslexia and ways to integrate both professional help and Mason’s methods. Participants will leave encouraged after collaboration with fellow Mason educators.

(T) Nature and Geography Activities with Kristen Forney

Weather permitting, this session will take place outdoors where Kristen will teach and lead a number of outdoor activities to bring interest and depth to nature study and geography.

Please bring: a compass (may use compass on a phone or a handheld compass).

(B) Simplicity with Nancy Kelly

“The parent who would educate his children, in any large sense of the word, must lay himself out for high thinking and lowly living; the highest thinking indeed possible to the human mind and the simplest, directest living.” – Charlotte Mason

Simplicity is a topic near and dear to Charlotte Mason’s heart and completely relevant in today’s complicated and consumerist culture. She said that the quality of simplicity is “the first condition of all successful work with children.” What did she mean by that? Through Scripture, poetry, art, and lanterns, we will examine the nature of simplicity and uncover what hinders us from living simple lives and doing the deep work required of us as parents.

(C) Professional Learning for Teachers – Gathering the Scattered in a Charlotte Mason School Community with Dr. Jack Beckman

Since there are no Charlotte Mason teacher training colleges available, where do beleaguered instructional leaders of schools go to find teachers even aware of Mason’s ideas and practices? Instructional leaders look for teachers of potential to train and lead into a better way. The question then becomes how do we take well-intentioned teachers into our fold and help them learn and grow into master teachers who both KNOW and DO Mason’s philosophy and model? Are there tangible ways and means of building a dynamic learning community around Mason’s ideals? I have spent years thinking about this and working with schools (some my own) to develop approaches that may help instructional leaders create a professional learning community for the care and feeding of our teachers.

Art Lessons with Erin Day

Bible with Parke Stalcup

Exploring the Differences between Mason and Classical Education–A Dissertation Review with Dr. Shannon Whiteside

“Those who do not regard education as a vital whole but as a sort of conglomerate of good ideas, good plans, traditions and experiences, do well to adopt and adapt any good idea they come across. But our conception of education is of a vital whole, harmonious, living effective.” ~Charlotte Mason

Many people approach Mason’s methods like a buffet and pick and choose what aspects they want to apply to their students’ education. Is there anything wrong with that approach? Every educational theory is based on different beliefs regarding the learner, the role of the teacher and the goal of education. What happens when you mix different educational theories? In this talk, Shannon will share the results of her dissertation research that examined a classroom that combined Mason’s methods with classical education principles. How did this combination of educational theories affect the narration process, the science of relations and the self-agency of the students? We will look at how different interpretations of Mason’s principles lead to different outcomes in the classroom. We will also explore some reasons for the conflicting opinions regarding Mason’s educational influences and practices.

The Atmosphere of Music with Erika McKnight

“Use every chance you get of hearing music (I do not mean only tunes, though these are very nice), and ask whose music has been played, and, by degrees, you will find out that one composer has one sort of thing to say to you, and another speaks other things; these messages of the musicians cannot be put into words, so there is no way of hearing them if we do not train our ear to listen.” ~Charlotte Mason, Vol. 4, p.31

Can you imagine Charlotte Mason saying something like “to gain an appreciation and understanding of our natural world, spend 10 minutes each week observing one aspect of Nature.”  Would we have the love of nature that so many of us value?  Would we have fine-tuned our habit of paying attention to detail?  Would we know the fauna and flora of our region?

Did you know that when Charlotte Mason introduced Composer Study to the PNEU it was not just 10 minutes each week, it was a daily half hour?  Now, imagine this: what if you spent 30 minutes each day listening to classical music and paying attention to the various instruments, voices, and even conductors?  Over time would you find that you’ve established a relationship with classical music? 

You do not need to be an expert or have any knowledge of classical music to add this subject to your feast.  Over time you will begin hearing the differences and develop your own ear.  In this workshop I will be equipping you with tools from both my past experience as well as Charlotte Mason’s own words to spread confidently this portion of the feast.  But be prepared, it takes more than just 10 minutes each week.

Teaching Reading with Cathy Barrington

What approach to teaching reading did Charlotte Mason present? What has current research said is needed in supporting young readers? How can I tell when my child displays a learning challenge in reading? In this session, these questions will be addressed as well as taking a look at the progression of reading. We will use parts of The Alveary Reading Lessons (Level 1-3) to gain a practical understanding.

(N) Problem Solving Neuroatypical Relations with Danielle Merritt-Sunseri and Jay Merritt

Neuroatypical children often struggle to relate and communicate effectively. When we can relate to them better, we can find healthy ways to support their development. This ultimately leads them to better relations rather than continually struggling with the same obstacles. In this workshop, Jay and Danielle will present a variety of anecdotal case studies for small-group consideration. Discussion and collaboration will focus on practicing problem-solving skills that you will be able to use in your home or schoolroom.

(T) Life as a Christian and a Scientist with Dr. Ken Wolgemuth

A Christian and a geologist in the oil industry for many years, Dr. Wolgemuth will share his experiences and reflections in this session for teens.

(B) Fostering Thoughts Toward God with Kelli Christenberry

Mason tells us that The Knowledge of God is the foundational knowledge for all our learning. Let’s discuss Bible and Religious training through a Charlotte Mason Educational lens. Seeing the path Charlotte Mason schools followed gives us an example for our learning practices today. How does an integrated Christian education look in today’s CM schools and homes? What are the implications for the younger year studies as well as the older students’? In this session, we consider together if the important issue of Worldview should be relegated to a high school course and where and how it might fit into our educational scheme. We will discuss Mason’s writings that encourage us, as parents and teachers to be ‘Inspirers.’ We will talk about how to foster, watch-over and see the implications of the practices that impact “the character and conduct of life” and give purpose to our days.

(C) A Charlotte Mason Lesson: Philosophy in Practice with Louise St. Amour

“Education is neither more nor less than the practical application of our philosophy.” – Volume 2

In this interactive workshop, we will walk through the translation of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy into a practical lesson plan — applying the abstract to the concrete. We will discuss how this reflective process may be used to prepare lessons in a variety of different areas of content, as well as different situations, both in the homeschool and classroom. This workshop provides an arrangement of questions and considerations by which one may arrive at a lesson that is both carefully planned and preserves masterly inactivity. This workshop aims to benefit both the new homeschooler planning their first lessons, as well as the experienced teacher troubleshooting a lesson, designing new classes, or looking for a way to refresh their lessons and stay rooted in the CM philosophy.

Originality and Moral Formation in Narration with Dr. Shannon Whiteside

“How is it possible, it may be asked, to show originality in ‘mere narration’? Let us ask Scott, Shakespeare, Homer, who told what they knew, that is narrated, but with continual scintillations from their own genius playing upon the written word. Just so in their small degree do the children narrate; they see it all so vividly that when you read or hear their versions the theme is illuminated for you too.” ~Charlotte Mason

Just as storytellers display their personality in their renditions of classic stories, students’ narrations of living books demonstrate their personality and creativity. Many people assume that narration is simply a reading comprehension strategy that allows students to tell back the facts of a text. However, Mason viewed narration as a means of assimilating ideas and displaying one’s originality. How can we know this is happening in narration? This talk is based on Shannon’s dissertation research that analyzed over 50 oral narrations from a fifth-grade classroom. Her narrative analysis revealed storytelling devices such as parallelism, dialogue and imagery that were found in all the students’ narrations. Through these devices, the students’ moral evaluations and perspectives of the characters were revealed. You may have not realized all that is happening in the process of narration. This session will reveal all the ways that narration develops one’s personal style of composition, vocabulary development, moral formation, and speaking abilities. You will have a greater understanding of how ideas are expressed through narration and how moral opinions are being formed. You will leave with a greater appreciation for this meaning-making activity that is such a vital part of a Mason education.

Understanding Cognitive Load with Dr. Jennifer Spencer

Every task that we undertake costs something of us in terms of mental energy; that is, it has a “cognitive load.” The more novel the task, the higher the cognitive load. The task feels difficult because our brains have to spend much attention and energy to accomplish it. As we practice the task over time, our brains do not have to work as hard, and the task feels easier to us; that is, the task has become automated to some degree. This fact has important implications for us as educators, as we try to determine when a child is ready for certain tasks. In this lecture, Dr. Spencer will discuss cognitive load, using Michael Polanyi’s model of focal and subsidiary awareness, how it relates to various subjects of study, and how Mason’s developmental and incremental learning model recognizes the importance of cognitive load.

Mason in the 21st Century with Dr. Carroll Smith

What were Mason’s expectations of those who came after her?  Were we to remain in the thoughts and ideas of her day?  Were we to keep up with current thought, research and the ideas of our own day?  Are we to take her principle, the child is a born person, and using what God is revealing to us through current study and learn more about how to teach a child as a person.  Or, are we to remain within the Victorian culture? We will explore these ideas to see what Mason would lead us. 

(N) Reflections on an Education with Learning Differences with Kerri Forney

(T) Shakespeare with Nancy Kelly

 

Plenaries

Plenaries

Plenary #1 – Attitude Adjustment: Cultivating a Scientific Attitude in Ourselves and Our Students with Dr. Jennifer Spencer

Much of Mason’s approach towards science was based not on facts or skills, but on attitudes. In this plenary, Dr. Spencer will explain the attitudes Mason wished to cultivate in young people, how Mason crafted her methods and curriculum towards that end, and what the implications are for current practitioners.

Plenary #2 – On Christians in Science: Celebrating Faithful Scientists Past and Present with Dr. James Peterson

Aim: To celebrate Christians who have done great science in both the past and today out of love for God and neighbor. For example, the Oxford University chemist Robert Boyle, who discovered what we still call Boyle’s law, directed in his will that at his death his estate should be sold and the money sent to translate the New Testament into native American languages.

“Science herself contains the promise of great impetus to the spiritual life-to perceive these things is to be able to rejoice in all truth.” Charlotte Mason,  Parents and Children, p. 45.

Plenary #3 – Eve Anderson Lecture with Dr. Ken Wolgemuth

Plenary #4 – The Limits of Science with Dr. James Peterson

Aim: To recognize that science is very good at what it does, finding causal links between material events. It does not address all of reality, why there is something material rather than nothing, why it is good to do science, or why it is good to do anything, only the material how.

“All youth are cocksure because they have not encountered yet that equally reasonable and equally intelligent persons may hold opposite views on a question.” Charlotte Mason, Formation of Character, p. 321.

Plenary #5 – The Bible: Trustworthy and True with Dr. James Peterson

Aim: To encourage confidence that the Bible is true and trustworthy in all that it teaches, indeed one could say without error, inerrant, in what it teaches, and so to listen to the different ways it communicates, in order to carefully hear what it is actually saying.

“Reverence for science, reverence for God, and openness of mind, befits us for life as a probation and a continual education.” Charlotte Mason, “A Master Thought,” p160.

Plenary #6 – Genesis, Rocks, Bones, and Genes with Dr. James Peterson

Aim: To help theology and the sciences both to be better for their complementary interaction. All truth is God’s truth. Where they seem possibly to stress each other, there is an opportunity to learn both better of God’s Word and God’s Works. For example, Genesis chapters 25-30 describe how Jacob is to be blessed with the covenant but connives to gain his own way by bargaining for Esau’s birthright when Esau is weak with hunger, and stealing Isaac’s blessing on Esau by pretending to be Esau. Jacob then tried to take Laban’s lambs and kids by placing speckled branches in the water troughs of Laban’s sheep and goats when they were mating. This is an accurate historical account of Jacob’s grasping character and Jacob’s mistaken idea of inheritance. Jacob’s flocks grow and prosper with the designated speckled lambs and kids because of God’s blessing, not Jacob’s stick trick. What we now know of genetics, points out what is actually happening. Yet again Jacob is prospering because of God’s gracious generosity, not Jacob’s conniving. A science that studies God’s Work, genetics, can in this case help us to see more clearly what the text of God’s Word is teaching about God, covenant, and character.

Pre-Conference Immersions

Pre-Conference Immersions

* Immersions are limited to 25 attendees each

Elementary Immersion for Home and School with Dr. Jennifer Spencer

Join Dr. Jennifer Spencer, project manager of Charlotte Mason’s Alveary as she walks you through a morning of elementary lessons using Alveary lesson plans. During the morning hours, attendees will experience lessons as students, following the scheduling principles and teaching methods laid out by Mason. The afternoon will be devoted to discussion and questions. Attendees will receive a copy of the lesson plans and schedule used.

Please bring: a notebook, a pencil (in addition to pens for note-taking), watercolors, and a small paintbrush.

 

High School Immersion for Home and School with Kelli Christenberry, Kerri Forney, and Kathryn Forney

Do you know what Charlotte had the students doing and reading in the upper years?  Are you wondering what a Charlotte Mason high school schedule could look like? Would you like some encouragement for staying the course and continuing to apply Mason’s principles and methods for your teenaged students?  Come to this pre-conference immersion session on High School led by members of the Charlotte Mason’s Alveary high school team, and join them as they walk you through many aspects of a CM high school day using Charlotte Mason’s Alveary’s high school curriculum. The day will include demonstration, discussion, and immersion with plenty of time for questions. The goal of the time together is to spread a feast of ideas and tools to encourage and inspire you along the CM high school road.

Nature Study: An Out of Door Life for All with Chalise Bondurant

Whether you are a life-long lover of nature, or are just beginning your nature journey, please join us for a day in the “out of doors” to experience the beauty of a Charlotte Mason approach to nature study. We will spend time learning about the philosophy of the Charlotte Mason approach to nature study, and why time in nature is a practice that we all need to implement. We will also look at several of the practices Charlotte recommended to us and we will practice them together outdoors for a large portion of the day. We will be learning about some ways to approach time in nature as a spiritual practice for ourselves as an aspect of our own continuing education and spiritual transformation. I will be leading you through many of the activities that our local Natural History Club incorporates and we will leave time for nature journaling as well. There will be a lot of time for interaction and questions built in, as well as quiet reflective time for you to enjoy the beauty of these practices as an individual. I hope you will join us!

*Please bring any nature journal supplies you have and attire and gear appropriate for all kinds of weather. We will be spending most of the day at Asbury Nature Area, so please plan on packing a sack lunch and plenty of water as well.

Planning for the Neurodiverse Schoolroom with Danielle Merritt-Sunseri

Do you find yourself overwhelmed with the different neurological needs of your students? Do you feel unsure of where to start in planning for these varied needs? Would you like a planning method that feeds you and supports relationship with your students?

“One hour’s worth of planning can save you ten hours’ worth of work.” After years of raising children with both typical and various neuroatypical needs, Danielle has developed an effective method of planning to bring peace and balance to the schoolroom. This method is built on a relationship of respect with students. She will teach you her method in this 5-hour immersion. Just bring your current schedule and your favorite planning tools (whether spreadsheet to pencil and paper) for a day of coaching and collaboration. We will begin the day by examining how the P.N.E.U motto can guide us toward greater relationship. Then we will begin working with Danielle’s method, digging into atmosphere through a process of guided reflection and examination. We will consider discipline, determining how to set priorities and establish effective strategies. We will then set ourselves to the task of developing a schedule, a road map to “education is a life.” This schedule will weave together atmosphere, discipline, and an appropriate feast for each child in the schoolroom.

Conference Tracks

Conference Tracks

Wondering if a particular session is right for you? In order to help you select a workshop or practice session to attend, we’ve organized many of them into several conference tracks. Each workshop, practice session, and chat will contain a session in each of these tracks. Sessions tagged in each track are open to everyone and designed to offer a feast of inspiration and ideas to all–we’ve just tagged them in a particular track because we think they may be particularly helpful and relevant to you–as a teen, a CM beginner, an educator working with neuroatypical students, or a classroom teacher. You do not have to attend all the sessions in a particular track but can attend various sessions on the schedule as you desire. Look for a (B) marking sessions in the Beginner Track, a (C) for the classroom track, (N) for the Neuroatypical, and (T) for Teen marking abstracts and titles on the schedule.

Teen Track*

Wishing your teens could meet other Mason-educated teens? Wanting your teen to catch a vision for the living education your are trying to provide? The Teen Track is a series of breakouts for friendship, fun, encouragement, discussion, and growth. As teens participate in the main plenaries and these customized sessions, we aim to create a shared experience for teenagers and their parents that will cultivate conversations about science, faith, and education. Geared toward teens, but open to all, these breakouts will feature a range of engaging opportunities such as a discussion with a scientist, folk songs, games, sports, dance, and nature, geography, and science activities–we want to inspire and stimulate teens to care about the wide feast of things and ideas. Look for sessions marked with a (T) on the schedule.

*Only 50 discounted teen registrations available!

CM Beginner Track

Just recently discovered Charlotte Mason’s philosophy and methods? Learning about Mason over the few years but feeling a little overwhelmed? Sessions in the CM Beginner Track are designed especially for you but will provide a Mason groundwork for any attendee. We will cover a foundation of Mason’s principles, her Christian vision of education, and her tools for learning through “atmosphere, discipline and life” as well as the practical aspects of education such as habit formation, lesson planning and more. Look for sessions marked with a (B) on the schedule.

Neuroatypical Track

Have a student with ADHD, ADD, or processing challenges? Come learn from Mason educators who have worked with children dealing with special education needs, and glean from their ideas to bring peace, creativity, and growth to your home. Although some may wish to attend every session in the track, each session is complete in and of itself and open to all! Look for sessions marked with a (N) on the schedule.

Mason in the Classroom Track

Seeking to learn how you and your team could implement a Mason education in a classroom? Pondering the particular challenges and opportunities unique to Mason schools? This series of breakouts will equip teachers to more effectively create a Mason classroom where education is an atmosphere, discipline, and life. Not a classroom teacher but curious about a particular session? Please join us! We aim for every session to encourage every participant whether educating from the home or school classroom. Look for sessions marked with a (C) on the schedule.

Workshop Abstracts

(T) = Teen Track (B) = Beginner Track (N) = Neuroatypical Track (C) = Mason in the Classroom Track

*Subject to change

(B) Educating Image-Bearers: Charlotte Mason’s 20 Principles with Dr. Jennifer Spencer

As we seek to follow Mason’s philosophy and carry her methods forward, studying her 20 principles–what they mean and their implications for today–is critical. In this session, Dr. Spencer will break down the principles into easy-to-understand pieces, share current research that supports the principles and gives us direction, and discuss important implications for today’s practitioners.

(C) Mason in the Classroom with Lisa Ector

Charlotte Mason today is commonly associated with homeschooling, although those who know more about her life know that her methods were actually implemented first in the schoolroom. While her methods work beautifully in the home, they also maintain their validity today in the classroom. In this workshop, her methods will be demonstrated and explained using a larger group setting as the model. The demonstrations will be applicable to a school, co-op, Sunday school, or even larger family group setting. There are both benefits and challenges that arise from a group setting. Some of these challenges – such as classroom management, keeping within the time frame, and maintaining the structure of a lesson – will be addressed using several sample demonstrations.

“I am just playing Jesus”—The Art and Science of Narration as an Act of Storytelling with Dr. Jack Beckman

I have an initial degree in Early Childhood Education and spent 12 years teaching first grade – mostly in Christian schools. Since living books are fundamental to our course of study, I wanted to make the experience for my young learners to be one that as Charlotte Mason expressed was “knowledge touched with emotion”. This led me to the National Storytelling Festival and a life of reading and telling stories to children and anyone else who would listen. My hope in this session is to model and encourage imaginal thinking through storytelling as a key component of our imageness and understanding of God in Christ. Using biblical narratives and personal accounts, the mind- and skill-set of storytelling becomes a vehicle that engages the meaning making “apparatus” given to children – intellect, imagination, intuition, affect, body, schema. In fact, the literature on narrativity (storytelling) and narration is closely aligned and provides a rich and deep experience for our children as they learn to make sense of the created order around them. And besides, everyone loves a story…

Architecture: An Expression of Human Life with Sandra Zuidema

Architecture is not a matter of styles and mouldings and students’ terms: it has a human quality: it touches us at every point, and, of all the fine arts, is the one most intimately associated with the lives of all of us. …For architecture has always been an expression of human life, the medium by which nations have recorded – truly, because unconsciously – their emotions, their aspirations, their beliefs.” ~Waterhouse, The Story of Architecture

Is it necessary to study architecture, and if so, why and how? Architecture is a subject which ties together the art, culture, history, religion, and geography of a people.  In architecture, we discover that what remains is an indication of what matters most.

In this session we will focus on one feature of architecture – the Dome.  We will follow the development of the Dome through multiple cultures and time periods to find out what expression of human life can be discovered in each.  We will also lay out the practical means by which the subject of architecture can be presented and expressed in a Mason manner.

Church History with Elizabeth Millar

Church History is one of Elizabeth’s favourite streams of history and she’s included it faithfully throughout the years in her home education. She believes students must understand that the place we go to on Sundays isn’t just a 21st century idea in our own particular geographic location. As students grow and mature and participate in church life, it is important they make that connection between the early church in the Scriptures and their own place of worship. Everything from the stories that the stained glass windows told to the scandalous freedom of owning a Bible in one’s own language to the explosion of missionary efforts around the world – there is much to learn. And people to meet! What about Polycarp and Blandina from the first couple of centuries? Remember Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan, who rebuked Emperor Theodosius? Or William Tyndale who risked his life so we could read the Bible ourselves? What about John Newton, Amy Carmichael, Richard Wurmbrand? There’s two thousand years of people and events and stories to discover and enjoy!

A Life in Nature: To Be. To Enjoy. To Know. To Worship. To Care. with Chalise Bondurant

Please join me as we dig into several of the aspects of a well-rounded life for the student of nature. Whether you are a lifelong student of nature, or just beginning your journey in nature, you will benefit and be encouraged to take the next step in your journey. We will study together about Charlotte Mason’s teachings on nature and the outdoors, as well as the teachings of other respected naturalists and lovers of God’s creation, and look extensively at Scriptures to support this topic as well. You will learn the why and the how of being in nature, enjoying nature, knowing about nature and the Creator, worshipping the Creator of all things, and caring about and for creation. While this workshop is aimed at the life in nature for the parent/educator, what you learn will also be applicable and beneficial to your students and children. This will be an interactive workshop with time for discussion, questions, and practical application and goal setting. Join me and be equipped to take the next step in your life in nature.

(N) One Person’s Journey with Executive Function Deficits with Jay Merritt

Jay will present a historical perspective of his own journey with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). His journey and the presentation will start with a later-in-life diagnosis and treatment decisions and then take a look back on the effect the undiagnosed disorder has had throughout his life.  Along and concurrent to his own timeline, he also will give a historical perspective of the disorder as it has evolved through the years to current thinking on causes and effects. This seminar will provide insight to parents and teachers in relating to their students who exhibit executive function deficits.

(N) With Love from Autism with Danielle Merritt-Sunseri

Is it hard to understand what your autistic child is experiencing? Is it difficult to relate to them? In this seminar, Danielle will share some perspectives about life as an autistic person. This is what she wished she understood about herself as a child. This is what she would have wanted the people in her life to have known. From social skills and quirky behaviors to academic challenges and communication impairments, everyone with a child on the spectrum will benefit from this inside-out view.

(T) Science Notebooking / Notebooking toward Adulthood with Louise St. Amour

Miss Mason mentions several ways of engaging with books beyond our usual narration, and this variety of ways is particularly useful in the study of science, where the elegance of the physical world is often more simply expressed in diagrams, tables, and mathematical equations than with only words.  In this session, we will use some living books on science to explore different techniques one could use in notebooking to develop a deeper relationship with the material.

To conclude the time, Louise will teach how to hand-bind your own motto book and discuss various different types of notebooks Mason used and how they may be useful as you embark on your journey of self-education.

(B) 10 Ways to Start (or Beef up!) a Mason Education with Elizabeth Millar

Perhaps you’ve read Susan Schaeffer Macauley’s For the Children’s Sake or something by Karen Andreola or maybe you’ve got the pink volumes of Charlotte Mason on your book shelf. For some reason, the CM philosophy of education intrigues you and you feel drawn to this particular way of education. If you’re wanting to put this philosophy intro practice, but not sure where to start or you’ve been doing this for a few years but want to do more, this workshop will give you some very practical ways to put this philosophy of education into practice. Instead of feeling paralyzed or overwhelmed, I’d love for you to walk out of this workshop with some concrete ideas for your homeschool that you can implement right away – things like keeping notebooks, establishing a morning routine, how to do read-a-louds, spending time in nature. Reading about something is one thing – putting it into practice is another and sometimes it helps to have a friend say: “try this!” May this workshop inspire you to try a couple of new things, or if you’ve been doing this for a few years may it remind you what’s important about a CM education.

(C) The Responsive Classroom – Building Blocks for Community and Commitment with Dr. Jack Beckman

Dr. Beckman teaches an organization and management course to undergraduate level elementary education majors. He also spends time observing teachers in schools as they deal with students on multiple levels, and sees confusion over just what it means to build discipline and habit into the hearts and lives of children. Methods from stoplights to behavior charts to silent lunch to no recess all work against the nature of the learner and how God has made them. Dr. Beckman discovered nearly 20 years ago a model with great potential called the Responsive Classroom. This approach takes clearly into account the nature of the learner and their need for a caring and challenging community, as well as redemptive strategies for how students can learn to live in that community. The Responsive Classroom believes that the social, attitudinal, and behavioral curriculum is just as important as the intellectual curriculum. It also has a growing empirical research base of evidence as to its efficacy in schools as diverse as leafy-green middle class to at-risk rural and urban contexts. Oh, and its principles work well in the home too.

Modern Language:  The Charlotte Mason Approach with Rachel Miller

Charlotte Mason valued the teaching of languages; but how was this done in her schools?  What does this mean for our own classrooms today?  In this workshop we will discuss why we should study language,  the methods Mason used, such as the Gouin series, and explore the research that has been done since that time that has expanded and improved her methods for a modern audience.  (Includes demonstrations of the techniques and planning help.)

Art History for History with Sandra Zuidema

After studying individual artists in Picture Study for years, high school students are ready to see the big picture of art through history. They are ready to move from Picture Study to engage in the discussion of how each movement or era began, how it was a part of the culture, and how it changed the way the world was seen, most visible through the fine arts. This talk shows one way to set up an Art History course designed to do four things per week: 1. It spotlights one era per week 2. It zooms in on one specific artist in each era 3. It highlights the three most influential artists of the era 4. It branches out to the others arts to find out how the poets, authors, composers, and film-makers of the era were expressing their world in each age. You will leave this session feeling that you have the tools to set up an Art History course with confidence.

Relations in Science with Danielle Merrit-Sunseri

The science of relations seems natural to consider when we think about the humanities, but what about science? What does that look like? In this seminar, Danielle will focus on the essential roles of relationship, curiosity, and culture. These are not optional considerations in a Mason science program. Let’s examine the hows and whys of these vital ideals, so that science might be an inspiration rather than a requirement.

(N) Developing Attunement: Supporting Our Students with Challenges with Cathy Barrington and Christy Maher

Are you caught off guard when your student is struggling? Are you confused when your student displays strong reactions? Do you feel inadequate when your learning atmosphere is disrupted by the emotional reactions of a student? Come join Cathy and Christy as they discuss the role of attunement and explore the tools that can build healthy connection with your student.

(N) A Discussion on Dyslexia with LeAnn Burkholder

When a child struggles with dyslexia, it can be a challenge to give them the practical support that they need while still providing them with the life of a Mason education. This informal workshop will provide space to discuss dyslexia and ways to integrate both professional help and Mason’s methods. Participants will leave encouraged after collaboration with fellow Mason educators.

(T) Nature and Geography Activities with Kristen Forney

Weather permitting, this session will take place outdoors where Kristen will teach and lead a number of outdoor activities to bring interest and depth to nature study and geography.

Please bring: a compass (may use compass on a phone or a handheld compass).

(B) Simplicity with Nancy Kelly

“The parent who would educate his children, in any large sense of the word, must lay himself out for high thinking and lowly living; the highest thinking indeed possible to the human mind and the simplest, directest living.” – Charlotte Mason

Simplicity is a topic near and dear to Charlotte Mason’s heart and completely relevant in today’s complicated and consumerist culture. She said that the quality of simplicity is “the first condition of all successful work with children.” What did she mean by that? Through Scripture, poetry, art, and lanterns, we will examine the nature of simplicity and uncover what hinders us from living simple lives and doing the deep work required of us as parents.

(C) Professional Learning for Teachers – Gathering the Scattered in a Charlotte Mason School Community with Dr. Jack Beckman

Since there are no Charlotte Mason teacher training colleges available, where do beleaguered instructional leaders of schools go to find teachers even aware of Mason’s ideas and practices? Instructional leaders look for teachers of potential to train and lead into a better way. The question then becomes how do we take well-intentioned teachers into our fold and help them learn and grow into master teachers who both KNOW and DO Mason’s philosophy and model? Are there tangible ways and means of building a dynamic learning community around Mason’s ideals? I have spent years thinking about this and working with schools (some my own) to develop approaches that may help instructional leaders create a professional learning community for the care and feeding of our teachers.

Art Lessons with Erin Day

Bible with Parke Stalcup

Exploring the Differences between Mason and Classical Education–A Dissertation Review with Dr. Shannon Whiteside

“Those who do not regard education as a vital whole but as a sort of conglomerate of good ideas, good plans, traditions and experiences, do well to adopt and adapt any good idea they come across. But our conception of education is of a vital whole, harmonious, living effective.” ~Charlotte Mason

Many people approach Mason’s methods like a buffet and pick and choose what aspects they want to apply to their students’ education. Is there anything wrong with that approach? Every educational theory is based on different beliefs regarding the learner, the role of the teacher and the goal of education. What happens when you mix different educational theories? In this talk, Shannon will share the results of her dissertation research that examined a classroom that combined Mason’s methods with classical education principles. How did this combination of educational theories affect the narration process, the science of relations and the self-agency of the students? We will look at how different interpretations of Mason’s principles lead to different outcomes in the classroom. We will also explore some reasons for the conflicting opinions regarding Mason’s educational influences and practices.

The Atmosphere of Music with Erika McKnight

“Use every chance you get of hearing music (I do not mean only tunes, though these are very nice), and ask whose music has been played, and, by degrees, you will find out that one composer has one sort of thing to say to you, and another speaks other things; these messages of the musicians cannot be put into words, so there is no way of hearing them if we do not train our ear to listen.” ~Charlotte Mason, Vol. 4, p.31

Can you imagine Charlotte Mason saying something like “to gain an appreciation and understanding of our natural world, spend 10 minutes each week observing one aspect of Nature.”  Would we have the love of nature that so many of us value?  Would we have fine-tuned our habit of paying attention to detail?  Would we know the fauna and flora of our region?

Did you know that when Charlotte Mason introduced Composer Study to the PNEU it was not just 10 minutes each week, it was a daily half hour?  Now, imagine this: what if you spent 30 minutes each day listening to classical music and paying attention to the various instruments, voices, and even conductors?  Over time would you find that you’ve established a relationship with classical music? 

You do not need to be an expert or have any knowledge of classical music to add this subject to your feast.  Over time you will begin hearing the differences and develop your own ear.  In this workshop I will be equipping you with tools from both my past experience as well as Charlotte Mason’s own words to spread confidently this portion of the feast.  But be prepared, it takes more than just 10 minutes each week.

Teaching Reading with Cathy Barrington

What approach to teaching reading did Charlotte Mason present? What has current research said is needed in supporting young readers? How can I tell when my child displays a learning challenge in reading? In this session, these questions will be addressed as well as taking a look at the progression of reading. We will use parts of The Alveary Reading Lessons (Level 1-3) to gain a practical understanding.

(N) Problem Solving Neuroatypical Relations with Danielle Merritt-Sunseri and Jay Merritt

Neuroatypical children often struggle to relate and communicate effectively. When we can relate to them better, we can find healthy ways to support their development. This ultimately leads them to better relations rather than continually struggling with the same obstacles. In this workshop, Jay and Danielle will present a variety of anecdotal case studies for small-group consideration. Discussion and collaboration will focus on practicing problem-solving skills that you will be able to use in your home or schoolroom.

(T) Life as a Christian and a Scientist with Dr. Ken Wolgemuth

A Christian and a geologist in the oil industry for many years, Dr. Wolgemuth will share his experiences and reflections in this session for teens.

(B) Fostering Thoughts Toward God with Kelli Christenberry

Mason tells us that The Knowledge of God is the foundational knowledge for all our learning. Let’s discuss Bible and Religious training through a Charlotte Mason Educational lens. Seeing the path Charlotte Mason schools followed gives us an example for our learning practices today. How does an integrated Christian education look in today’s CM schools and homes? What are the implications for the younger year studies as well as the older students’? In this session, we consider together if the important issue of Worldview should be relegated to a high school course and where and how it might fit into our educational scheme. We will discuss Mason’s writings that encourage us, as parents and teachers to be ‘Inspirers.’ We will talk about how to foster, watch-over and see the implications of the practices that impact “the character and conduct of life” and give purpose to our days.

(C) A Charlotte Mason Lesson: Philosophy in Practice with Louise St. Amour

“Education is neither more nor less than the practical application of our philosophy.” – Volume 2

In this interactive workshop, we will walk through the translation of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy into a practical lesson plan — applying the abstract to the concrete. We will discuss how this reflective process may be used to prepare lessons in a variety of different areas of content, as well as different situations, both in the homeschool and classroom. This workshop provides an arrangement of questions and considerations by which one may arrive at a lesson that is both carefully planned and preserves masterly inactivity. This workshop aims to benefit both the new homeschooler planning their first lessons, as well as the experienced teacher troubleshooting a lesson, designing new classes, or looking for a way to refresh their lessons and stay rooted in the CM philosophy.

Originality and Moral Formation in Narration with Dr. Shannon Whiteside

“How is it possible, it may be asked, to show originality in ‘mere narration’? Let us ask Scott, Shakespeare, Homer, who told what they knew, that is narrated, but with continual scintillations from their own genius playing upon the written word. Just so in their small degree do the children narrate; they see it all so vividly that when you read or hear their versions the theme is illuminated for you too.” ~Charlotte Mason

Just as storytellers display their personality in their renditions of classic stories, students’ narrations of living books demonstrate their personality and creativity. Many people assume that narration is simply a reading comprehension strategy that allows students to tell back the facts of a text. However, Mason viewed narration as a means of assimilating ideas and displaying one’s originality. How can we know this is happening in narration? This talk is based on Shannon’s dissertation research that analyzed over 50 oral narrations from a fifth-grade classroom. Her narrative analysis revealed storytelling devices such as parallelism, dialogue and imagery that were found in all the students’ narrations. Through these devices, the students’ moral evaluations and perspectives of the characters were revealed. You may have not realized all that is happening in the process of narration. This session will reveal all the ways that narration develops one’s personal style of composition, vocabulary development, moral formation, and speaking abilities. You will have a greater understanding of how ideas are expressed through narration and how moral opinions are being formed. You will leave with a greater appreciation for this meaning-making activity that is such a vital part of a Mason education.

Understanding Cognitive Load with Dr. Jennifer Spencer

Every task that we undertake costs something of us in terms of mental energy; that is, it has a “cognitive load.” The more novel the task, the higher the cognitive load. The task feels difficult because our brains have to spend much attention and energy to accomplish it. As we practice the task over time, our brains do not have to work as hard, and the task feels easier to us; that is, the task has become automated to some degree. This fact has important implications for us as educators, as we try to determine when a child is ready for certain tasks. In this lecture, Dr. Spencer will discuss cognitive load, using Michael Polanyi’s model of focal and subsidiary awareness, how it relates to various subjects of study, and how Mason’s developmental and incremental learning model recognizes the importance of cognitive load.

Mason in the 21st Century with Dr. Carroll Smith

What were Mason’s expectations of those who came after her?  Were we to remain in the thoughts and ideas of her day?  Were we to keep up with current thought, research and the ideas of our own day?  Are we to take her principle, the child is a born person, and using what God is revealing to us through current study and learn more about how to teach a child as a person.  Or, are we to remain within the Victorian culture? We will explore these ideas to see what Mason would lead us. 

(N) Reflections on an Education with Learning Differences with Kerri Forney

(T) Shakespeare with Nancy Kelly

 

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