Sept, 2011, Texas-- Many of you have asked about how our family has been doing since we have moved to the States after being overseas for 12 years. Others want to know how the children fare academically using this program. Here is an update:
My oldest daughter, Bryana, graduated from High School last spring. She has been working in our translation company for the past two years and volunteers at a crisis pregnancy clinic. She also is a mentor attorney at our local Teen Court. Last year, she won the outstanding senior award. She has won multiple poetry contests and her poems have been published in several literary journals Poetry is one of her many passions- thanks to Miss Mason's ideas. She also has begun selling her artwork and hopes to develop this skill further. She will be taking the SAT soon, mostly for herself. Next fall, she might take some college art classes, but she also loves politics- just the grassroots kind. (She now writes for the Washington Times Communities and The College Conservative) She is proficient with the guitar and leads worship. She has been caring for and teaching children for the past three years. Her heart is turned towards helping street children.
My next daughter is 16 yrs old. She is in term 3 of HEO, year 10. Shannon has many interests like her sister. In fact, that is probably one's greatest dilemma after being raised on a CM education. There just isn’t enough time to pursue all your passions. Shannon has written a 400 page novel which is soon to be published and is also an artist and winning poet. Studying astrophysics is a hobby of hers-which her sister thinks is very weird. (That particular interest began with a biography of Albert Einstein) She is active in our local Teen Court and especially enjoys debating with others while playing chess. She has written and produced several Shakespeare films with the children she teaches from our church. She would love to impact others through the film industry. She also plays the piano and enjoys Tae-Kwon-do. Bryana is her best friend.
My third daughter is 13 years old. She begins HEO year 8 next week. Abigail is a real cowgirl and helps her dad round up our cattle while riding her horse, Dandy Rose. She prefers to be outside working on the farm building or repairing something rather than being indoors. This is my child who has made the most progress in her education in the shortest amount of time. Three years ago, she couldn’t draw, spell, write well, play an instrument, finish a task on time or read a hard book without help. I just kept at it with her. Now, she does all of this easily and she enjoys learning immensely. Daily narrations, encouraging words and high expectations were the keys. I almost lowered my standards for her. I’m so glad I didn’t. When it’s cold and rainy, she sits outside in the barn and works on writing a novel. She also loves to write songs and play the guitar. Her handwriting is beautiful. She has become an artist. She can recite long passages of poetry and scripture and disdains twaddle. And, most importantly, she is developing a beautiful character and a deep love for her Creator. She loves learning. I am amazed, utterly. Charlotte Mason’s methods work. (Have I said that before?)
My last child is my dear son, Micah. (the boy on the swing at the top of the website : ) He is almost 9 yrs old and is beginning year 4. This is the year I will turn most of his books over to him to read. (I will read many of them during the first few weeks of school, but gradually pass them on to him.) He loves learning. He especially likes taking nature walks with his sisters and drawing in his journal. He is a cub scout and, following in his sisters’ footsteps, has begun writing his ‘novel.’ He came to me last week and said, “Mom, I have a problem. I want to grow up and do so many things, but Abigail said I can’t be an astronaut and a paleontologist and a shark explorer and an archaeologist and an artist and, oh, you know, there’s so much more. She said I won’t have enough time!”
I hope this doesn’t sound like a bragging session. I am proud of my kids, as all parents are. However, my aim is to show you what a Charlotte Mason Education can do for a child. My daughters are already building their own libraries to use with their own kids. They are sold on this way of learning because it has produced so many lovely memories for our family and awakened numerous passions to be used for God’s glory. For those of you who may be discouraged with your child’s education, I hope you will stay the course you have set. Don’t bounce from curriculum to curriculum. Be faithful in the daily, little things and wait for His results. Your children will not look like mine. Each child is unique; but they will have insatiable curiosities, joy in learning, many varied interests and a love for their Creator and fellow man.
The following song is one of my family's favorites because it captures the goal of a Charlotte Mason Education. I hope you enjoy it as much has we have.
"As we think of Miss Mason's long and beautiful life spent in ceaseless happy toil "for the children's sake" we ask ourselves what it was she strove to win for them, why it was that she was always happy no matter how weary. Was it a method of education all summed up in one word, narration? Was it the use of books? Was it love of Nature? Was it the power of self-expression in words, in material, in music? Was it happiness? Was it goodness? Was it worldly success? One may say that the good which Miss Mason sought included all these, but it went beyond, it reached out till it became fullness of living."