4 Jul 2009

Do you see what I see?

How do you imagine Charlotte Mason? Is she dressed in her dour black Victorian dress and seated in her parlour working at her dry brush painting, or is she wearing her Harris tweed skirt and sturdy walking boots trudging from from Ambleside to Grasmere via the beautiful Rydal Water?

My Miss Mason is both of those at various times, but the way I imagine her most is as a strong, no nonsense, woman taking on the Parents' Union with well developed arguments and a strong focus on the things that are really important. Mostly, in my imagination, she's wearing sensible clothes - that voluminous black dress would not have been her favourite, I'm sure. She has just come from teaching a class at the Parents' Union School where she was reading this week's serialised portion of Great Expectations from the pages of All the Year Round. The narrations were lively - and remarkably accurate, and the children have been following Pip's journey with eager interest.

Now imagine her here in 2009. What do you see now? I see that same strong, efficient woman, now dressed in a comfortable, well fitting black suit, her dark hair cut into a fashionable, no nonsense hairstyle walking briskly along the corridor of Scale How, a large pile of books in her arms and a lap top bag over her shoulder. As she turns the corner, she collides with a handsome young teacher (well it is my imagination...) and we see her bundle of books tumble to the floor. Amid humble apologies and a little laughter we happen to see the titles of the books she's carrying.

What are they? Remember this is 2009... When I have your answers I'll continue my well thought out argument.

Until later, then...


  1. Now you've got me thinking...

    I'll be back.

  2. One of her titles is "Little Britches: father and I were ranchers" by Ralph Moody, published in 1950, which she is currently using as a history read-aloud.

  3. Very thought provoking...

    Going away to think :)

  4. hmmm.....have to think about that one. On a different note, I recently finished reading "Down under" by Bill Bryson and couldn't help thinking "this is a living book on Australia"! (apart from some crude language of course). I learnt so much about this country from reading his book, such an enjoyable history/geography book on Australia! what do you think?

  5. Yep, I think there could have been a Bill Bryson book in Charlotte's pile!!

  6. Hi Jeanne,
    Do you think that one of them would have to be Foxes book of Martyrs?

  7. Inkheart and the Penderwicks! Not for one moment do I believe she would have limited her students to "old" books, but would have continued to add new "living" books as they came out. And, I've always pictured her as more of an Edwardian--long skirt, white blouse, starched, with tucks [pleats??] down the front, a watch pinned over her heart and a tie or cameo at her neck, straw boater type hat on head! The girls, listening breathlessly, are in starched white dresses with different colored sashes & hair ribbon. Any boys would be in sailor suits or Norfolk jackets--exactly like the portrait of my Grandfather & his brothers that I love!


I'd love you to leave me a message. Tell me what you like - and what you don't. Just remember that this is what we do in our family - it doesn't have to be what you do in yours...