Maryellen St. Cyr's blog

The Gift of Love and Gladness

In the days before Christmas, anxiety about the holidays is heard in many exchanges with family, friend, and stranger. Topics vary from decorations, shopping, baking, guests, travel, to the most menacing of all  - the illusive gift for that special someone. Charlotte Mason speaks about “a shade of anxiety in the mother’s face as she plans for the holidays.”  We all have had experiences of being around persons who are anxious; no help is needed; yet all help is needed. One is in a quandary of just how to be and act in an atmosphere of anxiety.

Are There Any Ideas In Your Children's Books?

When Charlotte Mason discussed the spiritual life in relationship to ideas, she identified spiritual life as the life of thought, of feeling, of the soul, of that which is not physical. This very human life needs food, and “this life is sustained upon only one manner of diet: the diet of ideas—the living progeny of living minds.” 

She uses this framework—the spiritual life is sustained only by a diet of ideas—to answer the perennial question, “What manner of school books should our boys and girls use?”

Feasting on Intellectual Food Every Day of Our Lives

Just as the body needs physical nourishment, so the mind needs its nutriment.  It is hungry not only on special “feast days,” but every day of our lives. Charlotte Mason exhorted us to “eat” ideas so we might live everyday.

Many questions come to mind: What does my everyday living look like? What nutriment did I take in throughout the day? What was the nature of this food?  Was it hearty and plentiful, or processed and meager?

The Home School and Classroom Air

Ideas may invest as an atmosphere…'The idea may exist as… a mere instinct, a vague appetency towards something, . . . like the impulse which fills the young poet's eyes with tears, he knows not why: To excite this 'appetency towards something'––towards things lovely, honest, and or good report, is the earliest and most important ministry of the educator.[1]

Ideas to Ponder

Ideas to Ponder was written by an Ambleside Teacher

At Ambleside we often discuss our “paradigm shift’: from textbooks, grades, and stickers to “living books,” “narrations,” and “habits.” It’s difficult, for many of us. We’re not just learning about a method of education; we’re learning again how to learn. Often I hear a parent say, “I’m glad my kids are getting this kind of education.” You ought to be glad. I would know. I was one of them.


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