One of the most common bits of advice I’ve given (and received) about learning the Charlotte Mason method – is to go directly to Charlotte Mason’s original writings. However, for most of us, reading the Original Homeschool Series from Charlotte Mason can feel daunting and overwhelming. Victorian writing, flowery language, references to ideas and people that aren’t always familiar to us in 21st century, these things can all make us feel a bit unsure about reading this series. Add the fact that *most* websites and online study groups are not always inclusive enough for those of us who do things a little differently, and digging in to the Charlotte Mason philosophy can feel downright impossible. Until now – the folks at A Charlotte Mason Plenary have created something unique and special for anyone wanting to learn more about the Charlotte Mason philosophy.
What the heck is A Charlotte Mason Plenary?
A plenary, by definition is: “a meeting to be attended by all participants at a conference or assembly, who otherwise meet in smaller groups.” When Ruk Martin and Rachel Lebowitz (the founders of A Charlotte Mason Plenary) decided on the name, they specifically chose ‘plenary’ to drive home the idea that their community is one where “everyone feels welcome at the table” regardless of religious, educational, or economic background.
This is a really unique approach to this sort of guided learning of the CM method – particularly if you are someone who often does NOT feel welcome at the table. As a secular homeschooler who follows the Charlotte Mason method, I can attest to the fact that almost every group or course on the market right now are geared to people of a particular faith.
So many of us have been quietly working in small groups of like-minded homeschoolers, learning and discussing amongst ourselves. A Charlotte Mason Plenary has created a space where we can all come together – regardless of our background – to learn and grow in the Charlotte Mason philosophy.
So, What Does A Charlotte Mason Plenary Offer?
From their website:
Our goals are:
1) To help you digest and understand Charlotte’s own words in the 6 Volumes of her Home Education Series
2) To show you step-by-step, in each subject, how to prepare the feast that is a Charlotte Mason education
A Charlotte Mason Plenary will be offering group sessions, working through each volume of Charlotte Mason’s original series. The cost is not prohibitive at all, at just $18.95, and includes not only access to a discussion group on Facebook but it also includes one of my very favourite new Charlotte Mason resources: a PDF of Volume One of Charlotte Mason’s Original Homeschool Series.
This PDF is OUTSTANDING! Not only did they carefully recreate the entire volume, in its exact wording, but they included annotations in the side margin with short explanations and cool things to know. Also a neat feature is the decision to move the questions that Mason included in her Appendix to the end of each chapter. (I know once I was finished mucking my way through a volume, I was not all that likely to then go back to each chapter to answer questions – having them right at the end of each chapter will make it so much easier to think back on what I’ve just read).
Honestly, I had *just* purchased one of the new copies of Volume One from Amazon, before I received the copy from A Charlotte Mason Plenary – and I wish I had saved myself the money and just waited for this PDF version. If nothing else, this copy of the first volume of CM’s series makes the signup fee 100% worthwhile.
But Wait – There’s More!
A Charlotte Mason Plenary is not just going to be another read-through of the original homeschool series. They are also planning to offer sessions working through the subject areas that tend to be really intimidating for home educators – things like Shakespeare and Plutarch!
I can’t even count how many times I’ve sworn that we were finally going to take the leap and start our Plutarch studies. I know that it’s something I want to include in my childrens’ studies but for some reason it is one subject area that I keep putting off.
Having an inclusive, supportive place that I can work through the tough subjects and become a more confident educator? Count me in!
The amazing women behind A Charlotte Mason Plenary are just getting started – and I, for one, cannot wait to see this resource develop and flourish into a much-needed support system for ALL home educators.
It’s Not Too Late – Join us in January!
I really can’t say how excited I am about this new Charlotte Mason resource. In my experience – so many of the “CM study groups” and guides are all different shades of the same colour. What the ladies at A Charlotte Mason Plenary have created is something unique and something that will really serve many home educators who want to learn more about Charlotte Mason’s method. And the more ways we have to learn about her philosophy, the better.
Everything about A Charlotte Mason Plenary has been thoughtfully and beautifully created – from the design of their website, to the PDF of the first volume, to their commitment to inclusivity.
If learning about Charlotte Mason’s philosophy is something on your to-do list this year – then you need to join us for the first plenary session starting on January 15th, 2018. Click over to their site, sign up, and meet me over at the Facebook group!
See y’all in the first session!