Charlotte Mason Conference Overview

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Friday Jun 10, 2011 Under Homeschool

Sometimes you forget things when you lead a crazy life. This week was a little more than usual though. I realized on the way to the conference that I forgot my pillow and sheets so I stopped at Walmart to purchase some. (Sorry, Cindy but it was an emergency.) When I arrived, I noticed that I also forgot my pajamas. It was one of those days.

The conference is held at Gardner-Webb in Boiling Springs. I did not know much about the school and still don’t. But I can now tell you that it is a small beautiful campus. The food in the cafeteria has been good with a nice variety. The apartment was clean and comfortable. If you every come to conference, don’t forget sheets, pillows, towel, soap, shampoo, cups, etc.

The school started in 1903 as a high school boarding school. It became a Junior College and then became a senior college in 1971. It became officially Gardener-Webb University in 1993 and is related to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

The conference has been beneficial. There are only about 100 attendees which is a lot smaller than other conferences. There are homeschool moms and classroom teachers in attendance.

The conference has deepened my concern for the education system in this country. The statistics of the results of No Left Behind are alarming and there is no hope in sight. There is no higher learning happening in public schools because they are teaching to the test. It is the drill and kill – killing the minds of children with drill.

Jack Beckman was one of my favorite speakers who explained the current state of our education. My favorite quote from him is “What is being done in schools today, particularly to boys, is horrific and should be against the law.” We are not allowing boys to be how God created them.

He also talked about the captain ideas of Mason being that the child is a person and allowing the Holy Spirit to work. We need to give children time and space to make the connections that they need to. The big lesson for me from Jack Beckman was to let children play which I know but need reminding.

The big difference that I learned between Classical and Charlotte Mason is truly foundational. Classical believes in three distinct developmental stages where Charlotte Mason does not put a limit on the child’s mind and believes children are going through the stages all the time. The Classical model works from the outside in while Charlotte Mason works from inside out. In Classical the teacher is the master while in Charlotte Mason the child directs. Even though they have similar activities, there are core differences.

I went to a workshop on citizenship by Nancy Kelly and the idea I gleaned was the foundation of citizenship is built on knowing your country’s history. I also went to a workshop about developing habits with Mary Hubbard. I loved her quote of, “you prepare the child for the road not the road for the child.”

I have overall had a good experience and would come again. I have so much more to learn about Charlotte Mason that it will take me years just scratch the surface. For now I have written out my goals for the next year and ready to try some new things.

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