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A Delectable Education Charlotte Mason Podcast

Through twice monthly conversations, three moms who have studied the Charlotte Mason method of education and put her ideas into practice in their homes join together to share with one another for the benefit of listeners by giving explanations of Mason's principles and examples of those principles put into practice out of their own teaching experience. These short discussions aim at providing information, support, and encouragement for others by unfolding the myriad aspects.
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A Delectable Education Charlotte Mason Podcast
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Now displaying: 2017
May 12, 2017

Charlotte Mason developed her educational method for all students, but many feel that by high school they must get on to more serious preparation for college or career and abandon the course they have been on. The moms of A Delectable Education discuss the high school years, what studies are tackled, how to deal with college transcripts and applications and college entrance exams. Does Mason's curriculum prepare a child for the real world? Will they be able to succeed in a non-Charlotte Mason environment? What does high school look like if you follow a Mason approach to education?

May 5, 2017

Charlotte Mason had much to say about children even before they start formal school lessons. This podcast explores the wide world of the preschooler and what families should do to make the most of the early years, the "golden hours" of life before school officially begins.

Apr 28, 2017

The breadth of the Charlotte Mason feast requires a lot of knowledge for teachers. We are still learning and discuss some of those points in this episode, as well as correct comments we have made that were wrong in math, foreign language, narration, and use of lesson time.

Apr 21, 2017

One of the forms of physical education Charlotte Mason addressed was dance. This episode is an interview with Lance Halverson, ballroom dance instructor and, with his wife,  Mason educator of his own four children.

Apr 14, 2017

Charlotte Mason did not neglect the physical education of children. This episode explores the myriad ways our children's bodies can be developed in harmony with what is going on in their minds and hearts. 

Apr 7, 2017

This Charlotte Mason podcast addresses the inclusion of the subject of Latin in the wide feast. The purpose of language study, Latin in particular, is discussed, as well as how Mason approached this traditional subject in a living way.

Mar 31, 2017

Charlotte Mason's curriculum includes singing. This episode focuses on the art of singing, reasons why it should not be neglected in morning lessons,  and addresses not only the why, what, and when of this subject, but gives tips on what a teacher is to do who is not personally trained or competent in leading singing.

Mar 24, 2017

The increasing popularity of Charlotte Mason's method of education means an increase in misconceptions and misinformation. This episode tackles some of the "myths" that have circulated, particularly regarding what makes a living book or a textbook, what books are used in the Bible lesson, and that reading and narration are the only content of a lesson.

Mar 17, 2017

This Charlotte Mason podcast addresses frequently asked questions: was Mason's method designed first and foremost for the classroom? Is it essential to have a poetry teatime or morning time?

Mar 10, 2017

Charlotte Mason died nearly a hundred years ago, but her ideas have continued to thrive. This episode addresses a few notions that exist that do not necessarily reflect hers. Based on listener questions, we address this Q&A to some of the myths that circulate.

Mar 3, 2017

How closely should we adhere to all of Charlotte Mason's principles and practices? This podcast explores the ramifications of taking part of Mason's method, practicing some of her ideas or mixing in other curricula, and addresses whether it is positive or negative to be labeled 'A Charlotte Mason Purist.'

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"The reader will say with truth--'I knew all this before and have always acted more or less on these principles'; and I can only point to the unusual results we obtain through adhering not 'more or less' but strictly to the principles and practices I have indicated. I suppose the difficulties are of the sort that Lister had to contend with; every surgeon knew that his instruments and appurtenances should be kept clean, but the saving of millions of lives has resulted from the adoption of the great surgeon's antiseptic treatment; that is from the substitution of exact principles scrupulously applied for the rather casual 'more or less' methods of earlier days." (Vol. 6, p. 19)

"We do not invite Heads of schools to take up work lightly, which implies a sound knowledge of certain principles and as faithful a practice. The easy tolerance which holds smilingly that everything is as good as everything else, that one educational doctrine is as good as another, that, in fact, a mixture of all such doctrines gives pretty safe results,––this sort of complacent attitude produces lukewarm effort and disappointing progress. I feel strongly that to attempt to work this method without a firm adherence to the few principles laid down would be not only idle but disastrous. 'Oh, we could do anything with books like those,' said a master; he tried the books and failed conspicuously because he ignored the principles." (Vol. 6, p. 270)

"We have a method of education, it is true, but method is no more than a way to an end, and is free, yielding, adaptive as Nature herself. Method has a few comprehensive laws according to which details shape themselves, as one naturally shapes one's behaviour to the acknowledged law that fire burns. System, on the contrary, has an infinity of rules and instructions as to what you are to do and how you are to do it. Method in education follows Nature humbly; stands aside and gives her fair play." (Vol. 2, p. 168)



Art Middlekauff's helpful article on this very topic
Feb 24, 2017

Charlotte Mason included a subject uncommon to most modern teachers: recitation. This podcast episode explains why she did, what it is, and how it differs from memorization. This is an essential in the feast and a great gift to the students and the people around them.

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"Children know how to read, but they cannot read." (Burrell, "Recitation")

"Without them the best pieces of English writing lose half their value; the best paper read before a cultivated audience misses its aim; the best lecture is only half a lecture, and the best sermon is an opiate. With them all is changed; the light from the writer's soul is handed down from one generation to another. For good authors cannot die; the human voice is for-ever conferring immortality upon them. So magical is the power of a good reader that he can convey to an audience shades of meaning in his author which he himself does not suspect." (Burrell)

"Recitation and committing to memory are not necessarily the same thing..." (Vol. 1, p. 224)

"And if such appreciation can be born when a good reader and a good audience meet, is it not worse than madness for us to look on English literature as mere work for the study, mere dictionary stuff? It was meant to be interpreted by the voice of life; there is only half the passion in the printed page. If there were more good reading round English firesides, do you suppose that the masterpieces of English thought would be studied, as they often are, merely with an eye to the examiners' certificate?" (Burrell)

"The child should speak beautiful thoughts so beautifully, with such delicate rendering of each nuance of meaning, that he becomes to the listener the interpreter of the author's thought." (Vol. 1, p. 223)

"Knowledge is information touched with emotion: feeling must be stirred, imagination must picture, reason must consider, nay, conscience must pronounce on the information we offer before it becomes mind-stuff." (In Memorium, p. 4)

"At this stage, his reading lessons must advance so slowly that he may just as well learn his reading exercises, both prose and poetry, as recitation lessons." (Vol. 1, pp. 204-205)

"Perfect enunciation and precision are insisted on, and when he comes to arrange the whole of the little rhyme in his loose words and read it off (most delightful of all the lessons) his reading must be a perfect and finished recitation." (Vol. 1, p. 222)

"The teacher reads with the intention that the children shall know, and therefore, with distinctness, force, and careful enunciation; it is a mere matter of sympathy, though of course it is the author and not himself, whom the teacher is careful to produce." (Vol. 6, p. 244)

"The gains of such a method of learning are, that the edge of the child's enjoyment is not taken off by weariful verse by verse repetitions, and, also, that the habit of making mental images is unconsciously formed." (Vol. 1, p. 225)

"There is hardly any 'subject' so educative and so elevating as that which Mr. Burrell has happily described as 'The Children's Art.'" (Vol. 1, p. 223)



If you would like to study along with us, here are some passages from The Home Education Series and other Parent's Review articles that would be helpful for this episode's topic. You may also read the series online here, or get the free Kindle version from Fisher Academy.

Home Education, Part V, Chapter VII: Recitation

Recitation: The Children's Art, Arthur Burrell, Parents' Review, Vol. 1, pp. 92-103



Lady Clare, Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Charlotte Mason Soiree Facebook Group
Feb 17, 2017

Is "co-op" a Charlotte Mason term or concept? This podcast episode addresses the pros and cons of sharing the feast with others.

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"We have still to complain that Grammar and Arithmetic are rather weak. When this has been reported more than twice under the same teacher, the parents absolutely ought to get help, in these subjects, from some teacher of a neighboring elementary school." (Parents' Review, Vol. 6, p. 75)



Nancy Kelly's Co-Op
Feb 10, 2017

This Charlotte Mason podcast episode explores what can happen when we join with other Charlotte Mason families to spread the feast together in settings beyond our home. Amy Snell shares her experience in starting mothers' study groups, a charter school program, nature clubs, and Truth-Beauty-Goodness afternoons with her community. Her wealth of wisdom and experience is not only helpful in considering what kind of shared experiences are beneficial, but what happens when relocation takes you away from your group, how to initiate groups, organizing and maintaining them, and perils to avoid.

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"[W]e endeavour that he shall have relations of pleasure and intimacy established with as many as possible of the interests proper to him; not learning a slight or incomplete smattering about this or that subject, but plunging into vital knowledge, with a great field before him which in all his life he will not be able to explore." (Vol. 3, p. 223)

"Not all this at once, of course; but line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, as opportunity offers." (Vol. 1, pp. 328-29)



Charlotte Mason Institute

Truth, Beauty, Goodness Community
Feb 3, 2017

A Delectable Education podcast on the Charlotte Mason method answers frequently asked listener questions in this episode: what if my child hates to narrate? where and how do I begin habit training? how do I challenge my gifted child?

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"By "education is a discipline," we mean the discipline of habits, formed definitely and thoughtfully, whether habits of mind or body. Physiologists tell us of the adaptation of brain structures to habitual lines of thought, i.e., to our habits." (Principle #7)

"It is possible to sow a great idea lightly and casually and perhaps this sort of sowing should be rare and casual because if a child detect a definite purpose in his mentor he is apt to stiffen himself against it." (Vol. 6, p. 102)

"Let me add that the appeal of these principles and this method is not to the clever child only but to the average and even to the 'backward' child; indeed we have had several marked successes with backward children. Just as we all partake of that banquet which is 'Shakespeare' according to our needs and desires, so do the children behave at the ample board set before them; there is enough to satisfy the keenest intelligence while the dullest child is sustained through his own willing effort." (Vol. 6, p. 245)

"Lack of proportion should be our bête noire in drawing up a curriculum, remembering that the mathematician who knows little of the history of his own country or that of any other, is sparsely educated at the best." (Vol. 6, p. 232)



Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton

(Contains affiliate links)



Nancy Kelly on Habits
Jan 27, 2017

This Charlotte Mason podcast episode focuses on listener questions regarding bringing children into the Mason method from other previous school experiences. What are the approaches that help children of various ages transition, what are realistic expectations, and how do we help them adjust to a different way of doing lessons?

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"The success of such a school demands rare qualities in the teacher––high culture, some knowledge of psychology and of the art of education; intense sympathy with the children, much tact, much common sense, much common information, much 'joyousness of nature,' and much governing power..." (Vol. 1, p. 178)

"Our aim in Education is to give a Full Life.––We begin to see what we want. Children make large demands upon us. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests. Thou hast set my feet in a large room; should be the glad cry of every intelligent soul. Life should be all living, and not merely a tedious passing of time; not all doing or all feeling or all thinking––the strain would be too great––but, all living; that is to say, we should be in touch wherever we go, whatever we hear, whatever we see, with some manner of vital interest. We cannot give the children these interests; we prefer that they should never say they have learned botany or conchology, geology or astronomy. The question is not,––how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education––but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?" (Vol. 3, p. 170-171)



I Buy a School, Marion Berry

(Contains affiliate links)
Jan 20, 2017

Term examinations in Charlotte Mason's schools were mandatory. This podcast explores the purpose of examinations, what was covered, and how we evaluate our child's performance.

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"The children write with perfect understanding as far as they go and there is rarely a 'howler' in hundreds of sets of papers. They have an enviable power of getting at the gist of a book or subject. Sometimes they are asked to write verses about a personage or an event; the result is not remarkable by way of poetry, but sums up a good deal of thoughtful reading in a delightful way..." (Vol. 6, p. 242)

"During the examinations, which last a week, the children cover say from twenty to sixty sheets of Cambridge paper, according to age and class; but if ten times as many questions were set on the work studied most likely they would cover ten times as much paper." (Vol. 6, p. 241)

"The terminal examinations are of great importance. They are not merely and chiefly tests of knowledge but records which are likely to be permanent." (Vol. 6, p. 272)



If you would like to study along with us, here are some passages from The Home Education Series and other Parent's Review articles that would be helpful for this episode's topic. You may also read the series online here, or get the free Kindle version from Fisher Academy.

School Education, Appendix II



Sample PNEU Examinations from Programme 93

Sample PNEU Examinations from Programme 95 (click each link to see full Programme and Examination for each Form)
Jan 13, 2017

This Q&A episode of the Charlotte Mason podcast addresses such varied topics as introducing the Book of Centuries, dawdling and disinterested beginners, preschoolers participation, and transitioning students to independent reading.

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"In the first place, never let the child dawdle over copybook or sum, sit dreaming with his book before him. When a child grows stupid over a lesson, it is time to put it away. Let him do another lesson as unlike the last as possible, and then go back with freshened wits to his unfinished task." (Vol. 1, p. 141)

"That the claims of the schoolroom should not be allowed to encroach on the child's right to long hours daily for exercise and investigation." (Vol. 1, p. 177)

"Form IIB has a considerable programme of reading, that is, not the mere mechanical exercise of reading but the reading of certain books. Therefore it is necessary that two years should be spent in Form IA and that in the second of these two years the children should read a good deal of the set work for themselves." (Vol. 6, pp. 181-182)

"This habit should be begun early; so soon as the child can read at all, he should read for himself, and to himself, history, legends, fairy tales, and other suitable matter." (Vol. 1, p. 227)



Made in the ... Books by Christine Price

History of Everyday Things, Quennell

Colonial Craftsmen, Tunis (and all his other books)

A Museum of Early American Tools by Eric Sloane (and many of his other books)

What People Wore, Gorsline

(Contains affiliate links)

Jan 6, 2017

Charlotte Mason's morning lessons accomplish much, but this podcast episode focuses on what comes after. What does a mother do with that long afternoon the children should have, how do we manage the activities of life as well as all the occupations Mason insisted should occur outside of school time? This is a thorough discussion of mother's responsibilities, children's freedom and time management, and the purpose of those leisure hours after school books are closed for the day.

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"That the claims of the schoolroom should not be allowed to encroach on the child's right to long hours daily for exercise and investigation." (Vol. 1, p. 177)

"Thus, the morning, after breakfast (the digestion of which lighter meal is not a severe task), is much the best time for lessons and every sort of mental work; if the whole afternoon cannot be spared for out-of-door recreation, that is the time for mechanical tasks such as needlework, drawing, practising; the children's wits are bright enough in the evening, but the drawback to evening work is, that the brain, once excited, is inclined to carry on its labours beyond bed-time, and dreams, wakefulness, and uneasy sleep attend the poor child who has been at work until the last minute. If the elder children must work in the evening, they should have at least one or two pleasant social hours before they go to bed; but, indeed, we owe it to the children to abolish evening 'preparation.'" (Vol. 1, p. 23)

"Five of the thirteen waking hours should be at the disposal of the children; three, at least, of these, from two o'clock to five, for example, should be spent out of doors in all but very bad weather. This is the opportunity for out-of-door work, collecting wild flowers, describing walks and views, etc. (see Home Education). Brisk work and ample leisure and freedom should be the rule of the Home School. The Children's Day will, on the whole, run this: Lessons, 1 1/2 to 4 hours; meals, 2 hours; occupations, 1 to 3 hours; leisure, 5 to 7 hours, according to age. The work not done in its own time should be left undone. Children should not be embarrassed with arrears, and they should have dues sense of the importance of time, and that there is no other time for work not done in its own time. Should the children flag at any time, a day's holiday, a little country excursion, should refresh them." (From Suggestions which accompanied the PNEU Programmes)

"[Referring to the afternoon occupations]...at any time of day, in any division of time, to suit family arrangements; when possible, out of doors." (From Suggestions which accompanied the PNEU Programmes)



If you would like to study along with us, here are some passages from The Home Education Series and other Parent's Review articles that would be helpful for this episode's topic. You may also read the series online here, or get the free Kindle version from Fisher Academy.

Home Education, Part II: Out of Door Life of Children

List of Afternoon Activities
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