Plenary: a meeting at which all the attendants of the retreat gather together to hear the speaker.
PreRetreat: A Morning in the Life of a Charlotte Mason Family
Plenary Presented by Dawn Rhymer
What could a Charlotte Mason Education actually look like? Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in someone’s home and observe? In this preretreat I will bring a small portion of our day to you, and we will walk through a morning of school together. While your school day may not look like ours, ours being unique to our family of five children, I hope that you come away with many ideas which can help to bring peace and beauty to your own homeschool.
I: Making it a Life
Becoming a Mason Family
Plenary Presented by Jason and Amy Fiedler
Anyone who’s been introduced to Charlotte Mason is also likely familiar with her motto: “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.” A decision to embrace this idea, however, brings with it the need for intentional choices that affect more than just the hours set aside for school lessons. What does it look like when Charlotte Mason begins seeping into other areas of our family life? Jason and Amy will share together about their own journey to embrace Mason’s philosophy as a family — from the logistics of getting everyone out the door for a family hike, to how their parenting style has changed, to the ways Mason’s philosophy helped them through an unexpected season of loss.
II: The Arts and Ms. Mason
Plenary Presented by Karen Canon
When Mason proposed that education should be entry to a large room, she most certainly included the Beauty Sense as an aspect of the child that demanded spacious treatment. In this Plenary we will step back and take a look at the role of the Visual Arts in her philosophy of education and the ‘happiness to which the Beauty Sense was meant to minister.’
‘Let us make the most and best of children,’ said Miss Kitching, ‘in order that their service may be the worthiest.’ How do the Arts fit us for that service to Maker and Man? And, how do the Arts relate to the other subjects in a Mason education? We will tackle those questions before narrowing our focus to Brush Drawing, which commenced the child’s formal manual training in the Arts.
This Plenary is intended to lay the groundwork for the Brush Drawing workshops later in the weekend and is recommended for those who plan to attend the workshops. However, it is a stand-alone treatment of Mason’s approach to the Arts and will be of general interest to those who will not be at the later workshops, too.
III: The Unpublished Trail Guide
From “CM Skeptic” to “All In”
Plenary Presented by Jason Fiedler
Have you ever thought: “Where’s my guidebook? What have I gotten myself into? or Where are we going exactly?” Perhaps you have a spouse or family member who is asking these questions.
During this plenary, I will share my own process of movement from “homeschool skeptic” and “CM illiterate” to owning my role in an education that truly is “an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life”. Together, we’ll be reminded why this messy, beautiful, life-giving journey is absolutely worth it.
IV: Outfitting the Chief Explorer
Why Cultivating Imagination Matters
Plenary Presented by Jason Fiedler
“Imagining is perhaps as close as humans get to creating something out of nothing the way God is said to.”
Whistling in the Dark, p. 69
Let’s take some time to carefully examine the ways that Mason spoke of imagination in order to better understand her rich philosophy of education. How much truth is there in the commonly held belief that “some of us are creative and some are not”? What are Mason’s cautions to us regarding the development of imagination? How do we courageously take on the role of “Outfitter”, both for ourselves and for our students? In a culture where imagination takes its seat at the kids’ table, Mason tells us that it “grows by what it gets”, and therefore must be given its rightful place at The Feast.