In the past two years, I have dipped my toe into the Charlotte Mason pool. I spent time reading her volumes on AmblesideOnline and going through blogs and podcasts about how to utilize her methods. It all left me wanting. I was lost in this giant to do list that felt like a boxed curriculum from the 1800s. I was missing the “why” as well as the adaptation to the current resources available. In my search to appreciate Ms. Mason and her philosophy, I found several lovely ladies that offered a modern approach. One of those ladies is Dawn and her lovely blog, ladydusk. Dawn has really impressed me with her grasp of CM philosophy and how she expresses it in her family life. She takes the big abstract ideas, whittles them down to the essence, then applies them to practical life expanding the idea in context of how to live the idea. Her e-book, I Am, I Can, I Ought, I Will: Charlotte Mason’s Motto Explained for Upper Elementary Students is the perfect opportunity to teach children embodiment through scripture meditation.
I used this lovely resource during Lent, and it was a blessing. My children enjoyed the verses picked out as well the lesson presented even though my two oldest are only 7 and 6. While Dawn and I are from different dogmatic Christian denominations, her lessons were so very eloquent and intrinsic to loving Christ that I did not find it to be an issue. One of my favorite mediations is on page 44, “. . .we choose to take up a cross. We choose difficulty, struggle, pain, and suffering. The Christian life, the life of a disciple, the putting God’s way ahead of our own way isn’t easy.” What an important reminder for our children to hear.
During our Morning time, I would introduce the Bible verse using our St. Joseph’s Bible or from the King James translation. I have nothing against the English Standard Version that Dawn has used; I just prefer the language in the NABRE and King James translations. After reading the mediation, I would tell something I enjoyed or an example of how I was going to live out that virtue. Leo and Bella were slower at first to contribute but after a few days, they began to draw little pictures about the Bible verse or tell me how they were living out the virtues.
Dawn has synthesized the philosophy of Charlotte Mason’s motto and applied it to the needs of our time. The whole e-book is a cornerstone for understanding the why not just living with the whats.