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The Charlotte Mason Digital Collection
To search, go here. For help with searching, creating an account, and creating lists, see the Tabs above under CMDC on WorldCat.
For help with searching inside the full-text documents, see CMDC on Internet Archive.
Interest in Charlotte Mason continues, as is evidenced by the books, dissertations and articles being published (see below).
Charlotte Mason (1842-1923) was a British educator who devoted her life to improving the quality of children’s education. In 2009-11, the Charlotte Mason Digital Collection was created in order to provide digital access to Mason's manuscripts, letters, and other archival documents housed in Ambleside, UK, where she established her teacher’s college. Interest in Charlotte Mason continues, as is evidenced by the ongoing publishing of books, dissertations and articles (see below). Schools are being designed in the US and UK which apply Mason’s ideas in the twenty-first century. Teachers who follow the Ontario Curriculum and home educators across North America are weaving Mason’s ideas into their educational practice. The Charlotte Mason Digital Collection attracts a steady flow of visitors every month, with inquiries from all over North America and the UK. It plays an important role in this emerging area of scholarship and educational practice. Most of the following publications are available in the library at Redeemer University, or online in our subscription databases. Off-campus access is available to current Redeemer students and faculty via the Redeemer network password.
Books (Most Recent First)
Charlotte Mason : hidden heritage and educational influence by
Publication Date: 2015-09-24
As the acknowledged founder and philosopher of the Parents' National Educational Union (PNEU), Charlotte Mason (1842-1923) was revered by her followers as a saintly Madonna figure. She died in 1923 at the peak of her fame, having achieved mythic status as the Principal of her House of Education and wide recognition after the introduction of her liberal educational programmes into state schools. Yet her early life and heritage remained shrouded in mystery. Drawing upon insubstantiated sources, the official biography released in 1960 confused rather than illuminated Charlotte's background, contributing to several enduring misapprehensions. In her new and definitive biography, Margaret Coombs draws on years of research to reveal for the first time the hidden backdrop to Charlotte Mason's life, tracing the lives of her previously undiscovered Quaker ancestors to offer a better understanding of the roots of her personality and ideas. Coombs charts her rise from humble beginnings as an orphaned pupil-teacher to great heights as a lady of culture venerated within prestigious PNEU circles, illustrating how with determination she surmounted rigid Victorian class divisions to achieve her educational vision. A thorough analysis of Charlotte Mason's educational influences and key friendships challenges longstanding notions about the roots of her philosophy, offering a more realistic picture of her life and work than ever accomplished before. With a growing following in the USA and Australia, Charlotte Mason's ideas have a clear relevance to the continuing educational debate today. Admirers of her philosophy and scholars of the history of education will find much to enthral and instruct them in these pages. [Publisher's Abstract]
Essays on the Life and Work of Charlotte Mason : a publication of the Charlotte Mason Institute by
Publication Date: 2015-06-15
Essays on the life and work of Charlotte Mason, British Educationalist 1842-1923. Volume I of an ongoing series. Contents: Charlotte Mason : the development of a philosophy of education 1860-1890 / John Thorley -- A Journey of discovery: Charlotte Mason's secret past and hidden Quaker heritage / Margaret A. Coombs -- Mason's theology: orthodoxy or innovation? / Art Middlekauff -- Introducing "The Saviour of the World" / Art Middlekauff -- Getting personal: the theory of personal integration / Jennifer C. Spencer -- L'Umile Pianta: Charlotte Mason educators and "The Humble Plant" from 1896 to 1923 / Deani A. Neven Van Pelt and Meghan D. Van Pelt.
Consider This : Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition by
Publication Date: 2014-10-12
The educators of ancient Greece and Rome gave the world a vision of what education should be. The medieval and Renaissance teachers valued their insights and lofty goals. Christian educators such as Augustine, Erasmus, Milton, and Comenius drew from the teaching of Plato, Aristotle, and Quintilian those truths which they found universal and potent. Charlotte Mason developed her own philosophy of education from the riches of the past, not accidentally but purposefully. She and the other founding members of the Parents' National Educational Union in England were inspired by the classical educators of history and set out to achieve their vision in modern education. They succeeded-and thanks to Charlotte Mason's clear development of methods to realize the classical ideals, we can partake of the classical tradition as well. The classical tradition as it informs teaching is good not because it is old or "classical," but because it works; and what works, whether old or new, is best. That's the Mason message admirably conveyed by [Karen] Glass & David V. Hicks.
Early Childhood Education : history, philosophy and experience by
Publication Date: 2014-02-06
Includes two chapters on Charlotte Mason. [Publisher's Abstract: This accessible introduction to the history of early childhood education emphasizes the role of history and philosophy in early childhood practice today. Firmly grounded in current policy from across the UK, the text features a series of imagined conversations with key figures and pioneers, which exemplify various philosophical positions in early childhood. This second edition has been fully updated and revised in line with recent policy changes, and contains new and updated biographies of key pioneers as well as three brand new conversations with historical figures. The book is useful for a range of students of Early Childhood Education or History of Education, from first year undergraduates to PhD students. It will also be valuable to teachers, practitioners and policy makers.]
The Living Page : Keeping Notebooks with Charlotte Mason by
Publication Date: 2013-10-16
"We all have need to be trained to see, and to have our eyes opened before we can take in the joy that is meant for us in this beautiful life." (Charlotte Mason) Composition books and blank journals are readily available at every big box and corner store, available so inexpensively as to be common and ironic as we reach that digital dominion, the projected 'paperless culture.' Shall we despair the future of the notebook? Is the practice an anachronism in an age where one's thoughts and pictures, doings and strivings are so easily recorded on a smartphone or blog, and students in even the youngest classrooms are handed electronic tablets with textbooks loaded and worksheets at the ready? Or is there something indispensable in the keeping of notebooks without which human beings would be the poorer?" THE LIVING PAGE invites the reader to take a closer look in the timeless company of 19th century educator, Charlotte Mason.
Women, Education, and Agency, 1600-2000 by
Publication Date: 2009-08-03
Includes a chapter, "Knowledge as the necessary food of the mind: Charlotte Mason's philosophy of education", by Stephanie Spencer.
Articles (Most Recent First)
Flipping Theory: Ways in Which Children's Experiences in the 21st Century Classroom Can Provide Insight into the Theories of Piaget and Vygotsky by
Call Number: Free public access through ERIC
Publication Date: 2017
International Journal of Early Childhood Education and Care, v6 p11-18 2017. Excerpt from Abstract: In what ways do the theories of Piaget and Vygotsky impact 21st century pedagogy, and what might the implementation of those theories look like in today's classrooms? Observations of children's experiences in two constructivist oriented classrooms help to provide connections between practice and theory. One classroom draws upon the work of Charlotte Mason, a pioneer of early childhood education in the late 1800's and early 1900's and considers the relevance of constructivist education as children examine themselves and develop high moral standards.
Charlotte Mason, home education and the Parents’ National Educational Union in the late nineteenth century. by
Call Number: Requires Redeemer Network Password for off-campus access
Publication Date: 2015
Oxford Review of Education, v41 n4 p501-517. This article examines the work of educationist Charlotte Mason (1842-1923) to explore the practice of home education in the late nineteenth century. Mason's work reflected and responded to the particular circumstances and concerns of her clientele. She provided a way for parents to compensate for the practical deficiencies of contemporary educational provision, while engaging with current pedagogical theory. In the process, she demonstrated the enduring appeal of a strand of pedagogical thought resistant to the dominant educational models, but not hostile to institutional education per se.
Looking backwards to move forwards: Charlotte Mason on history by
Call Number: Requires Redeemer Network Password for off-campus access
Publication Date: March, 2012
Curriculum Journal, v23 n1. Summary: It has been suggested that the new National Curriculum for history in primary schools should focus on content and on knowing the dates of English kings and queens rather than on the process of historical enquiry, in order to promote a shared sense of identity. Charlotte Mason was a very patriotic, nineteenth-century British educationalist who saw learning history as not Anglocentric and as an active engagement with primary and secondary sources, in order to interpret the past through retelling, role play and art. This article collates her thoughts about history education scattered throughout six volumes of her writing.
The Legacy of Charlotte Mason
By Deani A. Neven Van Pelt, published in Comment Magazine, December 2011. [Available here by permission of the author]
Are All Homeschooling Methods Created Equal? by
Call Number: Free Public Access through ERIC
Publication Date: 2010
Online Submission on ERIC. For parents looking to see their children develop into the self-reliant, critical thinkers John Taylor Gatto described in his essay, "Against School," and other works, a combination of unschooling and the Charlotte Mason method would have the best chance of overall success. Research shows any method of homeschooling produces standardized test results 20-30 percentile points above public school results. Not all methods will produce the same level of subjective results such as maturity, leadership, and critical thinking, however. The modern homeschooling movement has a long and varied history which begins in the "hippy" movement of the 1960's, moves into the Conservative Christian population during the late 1970's and early 1980's, and then into the mainstream of society today. The motivations for homeschooling can be divided into two sub-groups: Idealogues (religiously motivated) and Pedagogues (academically motivated). These two groups are becoming more diverse as more families join the ranks of the homeschooling movement. The Charlotte Mason method found its way into modern homeschooling through Conservative Christians while unschooling developed in the Liberal Left. By combining both methods, parents can benefit from homeschooling pioneers in both realms of today's modern homeschooling movement.
The Role of the Holy Spirit in the Educational Thought and Practice of Charlotte Mason by
Call Number: Requires Redeemer Network Password for off-campus access
Publication Date: 2005
Journal of Education and Christian Belief, vol.9 n2 (2005 09), p. 105-119 [Summary: Charlotte Mason was a late Victorian writer and educator whose work is currently enjoying renewed interest among Christian schools and home schools in several countries. She wrote at a time when many of the claims of faith were being challenged by the claims of science. She resolved these sometimes competing claims by appealing to the work of the Holy Spirit as the author of both faith and science. Furthermore, she based her innovative pedagogical views on the belief that children were spiritual beings capable of both intellectual and spiritual communication with the Holy Spirit. ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Let Retro' Nature Study Keep Walking. by
Call Number: Requires Redeemer Network Password for off-campus access
Publication Date: 2004
Paths Of Learning, (22), 16-19. Summary: Provides some insights into the views of British educator, Charlotte Mason on education and teaching methods for children. Profile on Mason and her influence on education; Education philosophy; Personal experiences in learning and schooling; Functions of teachers and parents in the education of their children.
Dissertations & Theses (Most Recent First)
Applying Charlotte Mason's philosophy to early childhood education: A qualitative study of four teachers' experiences by
Call Number: Dissertation Abstracts International Section A, 77 (5-A)(E).
Publication Date: Ph.D., 2015, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Department: Education
For Access, contact the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Department of Education. [Author's Abstract: The purpose of this study was to explore teachers' experiences in applying Charlotte Mason's (1842-1923) philosophy to early childhood education. Research regarding Charlotte Mason's educational philosophy is limited and no studies were found to address teachers' application of her approach across various settings. In an attempt to fill this research gap, this study included four teachers from different settings; each of the teachers used Charlotte Mason's approach in their classrooms. The research question was: How do teachers describe their experiences in applying Charlotte Mason's philosophy to early childhood education? The research was conducted using a qualitative case study approach and data were collected in the form of interviews, observations, and reflective journals. Four themes were identified from the data: A Personal Philosophy, Classroom Atmosphere: Learning Together, Curriculum Planning and Implementation, and Response to Children. Potential applications and recommendations for future research were discussed. Additionally, the history of Charlotte Mason's life, work, and legacy, as well as a description of her educational philosophy and teaching methods, were included in the literature review. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)]
Self-made writer : a grounded theory investigation of writing development without writing instruction in a Charlotte Mason home school by
Call Number: Available at Gardner-Webb University John R. Dover Memorial Library
Publication Date: 2012
Gardner-Webb University. School of Education. Ph.D Dissertation. Author's Abstract: The aim of this study was to explore how one adult who learned at home under the holistic methods of Charlotte Mason developed as a writer when this model eschews direct instruction in composition. The participant in the study developed exemplary writing skills despite the fact that the teaching methods of the parent did not conform to state standards, nor even to techniques typically accepted as best practices by such organizations as the International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). As states across the nation are adopting and implementing the Common Core, which includes many standards that are developmentally inappropriate, this is a timely study that begs a fresh review of how children learn to write. -- The researcher used grounded theory (Corbin & Strauss, 2008) to attempt to establish how this student learned to write well without conventional instruction in composition. Theoretical sampling of the student, his mother, and work samples from his school years, as well as a qualitative analysis of documents found on the Ambleside Online website, were used to formulate and propose a theory about elements that contributed to writing development in this context. -- The resulting Grounded Theory of Personal Integration consists of three pieces: Immersion, Integration, and Expression. The subject was immersed in quality literature and an atmosphere that valued reading. He read copiously on a wide variety of subjects throughout his school years. Many skills such as spelling, language usage, and vocabulary were absorbed tacitly. The formal study of grammar, which took place in middle and high school, only made explicit the things he already knew implicitly through his reading. There were varying degrees to which he formed relationships with ideas, books, and authors. Some were merely appreciated, while others were fully integrated into his person as he chose to immerse himself further in the work of particular authors. The ideas and writing styles that were integrated emerged naturally in his expression in the form of creative play, oral composition, and, later, written composition.
Education for the Kingdom: An Exploration of the Religious Foundation of Charlotte Mason’s Educational Philosophy
By Benjamin E. Bernier-Rodriguez. Ph.D thesis for Lancaster University, Religious Studies Department, July 2009. [Available here by permission of the author]
Author's Abstract (excerpt) : A seminal Evangelical Anglican philosophy of education was developed into full maturity by Charlotte Mason, a late-Victorian Anglican churchwoman. This fact has been obscured in the history of the theory and practice of education, but in recent years Mason’s philosophy has attracted a new set of advocates. An enthusiastic group of Christian parents and educators, mainly mothers in the context of the American homeschool movement, has been drawn spontaneously to the thought of this late-Victorian woman and educational reformer. The philosophy has experienced a new revitalization, apart from its original context, characterized by an attempt to embrace and apply the principles of Mason’s philosophy and method to the contemporary situation at the margins of the main educational establishment in America. My research will show that as a general rule the new set of advocates of Mason’s ideas possess a limited appreciation of the importance of the underlying Anglican ethos of her philosophy and its intrinsic connection with its original late-Victorian context. Yet, this late-Victorian evangelical Anglican context underlies all of the main features of the philosophy: its spirituality, its problems and answers, language, basic principles, original aims, scope, course of development and paradoxical results. The lack of acquaintance with these facts has served well the creative impulse of the new wave of enthusiasts but also necessarily entails misreading and misrepresentation of Mason’s ideas and their importance to a contemporary audience.
Charlotte Mason's Design for Education
By Deani A. Van Pelt. (M. Ed. Thesis, 2002). University of Western Ontario. Faculty of Graduate Studies. [Available here by permission of the author.] Author's Abstract: This thesis offers a description of the educational ideas of Charlotte Mason in context. Mason’s view of education is explicated with the aid of W.K. Frankena’s (1974) A model for analyzing a philosophy of education. An appraisal of Mason’s idea of 'a liberal education for all' is executed by drawing upon P. H. Hirst’s (1975) Liberal education and the nature of knowledge and A. Gutmann’s (1987) Democracy and democratic education. This assessment concludes that Mason’s design for education is coherent and well-integrated, and thus appropriate for education in home or independent schools, but not for current, state-delivered education.
Charlotte Mason: An Introductory Analysis of Her Educational Theories and Practices by
Call Number: Free Web Open Access
Publication Date: 2000
Author's Abstract: This study has two goals. One is to begin to explicate the educational theories and practices of Charlotte Mason and the other is to determine whether or not her educational theories and practices are still useful in a 21st Century American School. The first goal is addressed in six essays that discuss major educational tenets of Mason’s educational philosophy. The second goal is studied through a case study on The Children’s Community School. The six essays based on major tenets of Mason’s educational theories and practices begin with the principle, ‘children are born persons,’ which permeates all of her beliefs about teaching and learning. ‘Children are born persons’ means that children change from within and not from without and, therefore, are discoverers of knowledge not vessels to be filled. Rousseau believed that children come with a good nature, but Mason contended that they come with a nature that is both good and evil, as all humans. Therefore children need to be educated to attenuate the evil nature. That is the second tenet. The third tenet is a discussion of authority and docility. If children have a good and evil nature then authority is necessary. However, since children are persons, they have a right to an education and they have a right to self-authority. The fourth essay discusses Mason’s beliefs about the sacredness of a child’s personality. In the fifth essay on pedagogy the discussion is concentrated on Mason’s use of narration as an instructional tool. The last essay is on curriculum and includes a discussion of Mason’s views on curriculum and the use of the narrative in the curriculum. All of the essays bring to the discussion the thinking of other educational thinkers both past and present. At the end of each essay is the story of the implementation of Mason’s educational theories and practices at The Children’s Community School. The data collection for this case study is defined by Mason’s educational principles discussed in each essay. Data were collected on site at the school through observations, interviews and documents. All interviews were transcribed. Data from transcriptions, observations, and documents were then coded by the six major tenets discussed in the essays. Connections were examined between the theory of Mason and the practice in The Children’s Community School.
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