Nancy Kelly lives in a little town on the prairie called Windom, Minnesota. She and her husband Kent have home-educated their six children for over 20 years using the principles and practices of Charlotte Mason. Nancy has helped build a thriving educational community in southwest Minnesota that continues to learn and grow. She administrates the Parents’ Midwest Educational Union (PMEU), a parents’ book discussion group; Truth, Beauty, Goodness (TBG), a student learning cooperative; the teacher-training Awakening sessions; and the Living Education Retreat, now in its 12th year of sharing and spreading the ideas of Charlotte Mason. Speaking, consulting, and mentoring are three of her favorite things to do. A trip with Kent and dear friends to Ambleside, England in 2014 forever changed her understanding of Mason’s teacher training and deepened her love for Mason’s relational philosophy. She writes at her CM-inspired blog, Sage Parnassus. Her newest project, Living Education Lessons, is an online mentoring community. She enjoys family, ‘bright eyes’, flower gardening, collecting vintage honeypots, exploring the flora and fauna of new places, and of course…books. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out Nancy’s blog by clicking HERE!
Karen Canon made the acquaintance of Charlotte Mason fifteen years ago. An immediate and profound relationship sprang up as a love for learning and fullness of life were transmitted from the 19th-century British educator to this modern-day homeschooling mom of five. She has never looked back and is eternally grateful to Miss Mason and her colleagues for paving the way for an educational lifestyle that so resounds with the Divinely sanctioned nature and purpose of humans.
With one graduate under her belt, Karen spends her time delightedly sharing in the education and pursuits of her other four school-age children. She enjoys reading, digging deep into the writings of Charlotte Mason, and coming alongside others to confidently live a Charlotte Mason educational life.
She has spoken at the Midwest Parent Educators Conference in Kansas City and leads a local CM study group. You can visit her study group’s online home at cme-kc.com.
Sarah Lancaster is wife to one college sweetheart and mama to three fabulous daughters. Unlike some women, she didn’t know from birth that she would homeschool her children. In fact, she used to joke that if God had a calling to homeschool for her, He had better contact her on the phone. Well, that phone call never came, but when kindergarten rolled around for her eldest in 2010, there was no doubt in her heart that it wasn’t time to send this precious child off… at least, not yet. They would try homeschooling a year, and then reevaluate. “Just one year” turned into “Definitely one more.” After a year and a half of curriculum hopping, she finally took a deep breath and leaped into the AmblesideOnline (AO) curriculum. Despite her fears that it would be too hard, too confusing, or too much, AO turned out to be a delight. Miss Mason’s principles of education opened a kind of joy in homeschooling that neither she nor her kiddos had known before.
These principles have not been limited to the children’s schoolwork, either. Over the past seven years, they have trickled down into Sarah’s parenting, teaching at church, and her own personal reading. Despite a background focused mainly on fluff novels and too much TV, she has dived into the challenge of history, biography, educational philosophy, poetry, natural history, and theology with gusto. There are stumbles and frustrations (and still a few fluff novels), but Mother Culture provides a beautiful way to integrate her roles as wife, mama, educator, and woman of God.
Beyond teaching her own children well, Sarah’s passion is to help CM communities expand, both online and in real life. Too many moms feel lonely and isolated. There are beautiful opportunities right now to develop systems of support, friendship, prayer, and encouragement. In the online world, Sarah has been a moderator on the AO forums since 2012. Off the web, you can find her involved with her local homeschooling group and Charlotte Mason book club. In 2014, she helped to start Chasing Grace, a Charlotte Mason learning community, where she currently teaches Shakespeare in the upper forms. Whether it’s Shakespeare or nature hikes, conferences or coffee dates, it’s a joy to see CM families come and do life together. Sarah is excited to see how the CME Retreat will open doors for moms to pursue their own learning, build relationships, and encourage each other in this exciting journey we are all on.
Dawn Rhymer and her husband took a test to see what educational philosophy best suited them as they were getting ready to homeschool their children, They were both off the charts with unheard of Charlotte Mason. A friend directed Dawn to the Ambleside Online website, where upon seeing the material, she panicked and ran the other way. It would be a bumpy six-year journey back to Charlotte Mason.
After two years of literally detesting homeschooling and buckets of tears from all, they almost enrolled their oldest child in an Ambleside International school. Ultimately, they chose to keep him home, but during the decision process Dawn read For the Children’s Sake and began to slowly implement Charlotte Mason ideas in their homeschooling.
Then, in 2014, when a friend started a local Charlotte Mason Co-op and reading group, Dawn completely embraced a Charlotte Mason education. It took the building of community to provide the motivation she needed for the inspiration of self-education for herself and her children. Although there are still tears, she no longer detests homeschooling. Rather, it has become a passion. Dawn praises God for the path He has graciously placed her on, hills and valleys and all.
Dawn is humbled and blessed to help others on the journey. She has the joy of being a part of her local co-op, Aspen Grove Educational Community which is just starting is fourth year. She also had the privilege to help launch the Charlotte Mason Educational Retreat in Colorado and speak at the Weekend of Living Ideas. Though she cannot quite see around the bend, she’s excited as she looks ahead to the future.
Don Rhymer is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force and an Assistant Professor at the Air Force Academy, having taught Mechanical Engineering for 10 of his 22 year career. His current position is the Associate Dean for Research. He holds a BS from the Academy and an MS and PhD from Georgia Tech.
Most importantly, he is the husband of Dawn and father of 5 kids (ages 6 to 14). His family is entering its fourth year of implementing a full CM-based education. When he and Dawn took a diagnostic on homeschool curricula several years ago, they independently pegged the meter in the survey for a Charlotte Mason educational model.
To describe his “CM involvement” level, he’d state there are 4 levels of a dad’s interest/involvement. A Level-1 Dad (L1D, need some military acronyms) is the “I can’t believe you’re homeschooling…let’s just send our kids to Conservative Charter Classical School X so we know they’re getting the right stuff”-dad. An L2D is the “I’m good with homeschooling, but you’re exhausted, I want my wife back, and are we sure this isn’t a cult?”-dad. The L3D is the “Ok, I’m in…do you want me to build another bookshelf?”-guy. Finally, L4D means you’re probably a speaker at a CM conference. He’d say he’s probably 3.75 (but maybe this retreat is pushing him closer to a 4).
In the past 3 years, he and Dawn have participated in a CM co-op. Don has been to 2 CM conferences. He’s more than a year into one of Art Middlekauff’s “Idyll Challenge” groups, in which CM Dads read through all 6 of CM’s volumes in 2 years. He has helped his kids narrate readings and has been working on getting a journal paper published on how elements of narration can be used at the college level in an engineering class. He constantly finds himself seeing CM’s principles resonate with truth in so many facets of humanity, leadership, and any form of education.
Gary Alan Taylor
Gary Alan Taylor is Vice President of Content & Development at Axis, a non-profit ministry in Colorado Springs. He is also the Editor in Chief of The Culture Translator, a weekly publication serving over 45,000 parents worldwide. He has 23 years experience working in non-profit leadership and Christian higher education. Prior to joining Axis, Gary Alan helped lead Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project and served as Assistant to the President at Milligan College. He has taught over 15 undergraduate courses in American and European History. He has a M.A. degree from East Tennessee State University and B.A. from Milligan College. He and his wife Jennifer have three children and live in Monument, Colorado.
Jennifer Taylor had the unique experience of receiving a Christian liberal arts education from Milligan College, whose philosophy of education states, “We begin with the confident declaration that all knowledge is ultimately unified, brought into being by a Creator. Because knowledge is unified, we can see the connections between history, literature, the arts, philosophy, and the Creator of all these disciplines.” This formative philosophy laid the foundation for her life in education.
Upon receiving her undergraduate degree in science, Jennifer went on to pursue a Master of Education from Milligan and has over fifteen years of teaching experience. She has held teacher licensures in Tennessee and Colorado where she taught at the elementary level in rural, inner city, and suburban communities. She discovered Charlotte Mason when her eldest child was approaching school-age. Mason’s works convinced Jennifer to begin homeschooling her three children using the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education. Jennifer has since founded Aspen Grove Educational Community, a community that exists to support local homeschooling families using a Charlotte Mason education. This largely takes place through a multi-age co-op and a monthly book study group,”CM in the Rockies”. Jennifer also provides educational services to include evaluations, consultations and tutoring to CM homeschooling families. To learn more about this and to read her blog visit www.asacrededucation.com. “My passion is teaching children of all ages using Miss Mason’s methods and supporting homeschooling families in this approach through study and community.”
Jennifer lives with her family in the beautiful foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Monument, Colorado.