28 Nov 2013
Our school badge
This beautiful badge was a gift to attendees at the last Living Education Retreat held on the peaceful Minnesota prairie back in July. Both Jemimah and I have one, and Jemimah loves to wear her 'school badge', and to explain its meaning to anyone who will listen. She says it reminds her that although she is an only child being schooled at home, that there are other students all over the world who are being educated using the same books, methods and philosophies that she is. She says it makes her feel less alone.
The badge was modelled on the badge of the original Charlotte Mason Parents' Union School, which was used for much the same purpose of belonging by the widely spread students. It was a young pupil, Eric Bishop, who wrote to Miss Mason asking whether children using the PUS work programmes might have their own badge, and in 1908, all PUS students were invited to send in suggestions for a design. The badge was then made up in metal by Dorothea Steinthal, the very first PUS pupil. Eric's mother, Mrs Bishop was very involved in the project, and was keen to see it to completion, in memory of her son, who had died before he could see the badge adopted by his beloved PUS.
The first design showed a soaring skylark, with its great ability to rise to great heights, surrounded by a circle of daisies, symbolic of childhood. Later on in 1930 the badge was simplified and the daisies were omitted. (Apparently the daisies made the badge too similar to that of Cheltenham Ladies College.) The final badge, patented in 1930 looked like the one below. It is still used to this day by PNEU schools in Britain.
The students of the PUS, many of them educated by mothers at home, were very similar to today's homeschooled students. I can just imagine them wearing their badge with just as much pride as my daughter does hers. We love them!
(The information above was taken from Charlotte Mason - A Pioneer of Sane Education by Doreen Russo, CMC, 1992.)