ambleside curriculum, History-Geography, Retreat

History and Heritage

The pivotal place of history in a CM education, and how exploring our heritage gives us vital clues into the heritage we are shaping in our families.

That is the ambitious title and subtitle I chose for my presentation at the upcoming Charlotte Mason Texas Hill Country Retreat.

Today with Heather, we were both presenting and brainstorming our ideas to each other for our talks at the retreat. In addition to her session on Dry Brush, she is presenting on The Way of the Mind. Our topics are very broad, and we were trying to find a more concrete thread for a 30 minute presentation. We have three other wonderful presenters, Jen Snow (moderator at the AO forum), Harmony Moore, (working as she said, on narrowing it down to “Homeschooling With Grace, Joy and Purpose: the ‘I am, I can, I ought, I will’ for a home educating mama.”, and June Butchee, our guest of honor, who will bring us her own testimony as a mom with grown up children and her last daughters in high school, and who can guide and inspire all of us who are at an earlier step of the way. June Butchee is one of the speakers at the North West Houston Charlotte Mason Co-op.  They are having another 4 hour seminar session this coming July.

Heather and I were trying to make the sessions showcase Charlotte Mason’s own principles and we will tie the topics to our own personal development as Charlotte Mason educators and as persons. Here I will anticipate some of my ideas for the presentation.
History and Heritage 
By the time I started to teach my daughters history (among other subjects or disciplines), I had a very sketchy idea of what that was about, enough only to get me started. As an immigrant, and a public schooled person, I was clueless to American History, and I had forgotten the History of Spain I had learned in school. I only remembered vague notions of world history that now I believe were more a bunch of opinions for conversation starters than solid knowledge. I was not sure I would like history, I did not know how my own daughters will fly higher than the “content” I’d be able to re-learn or learn. But since they were still young children of 5 and 7, I thought I would follow the AO recommended books for year 1 and forward, and I pinched my nose and jumped into the pool. 
Ever since, in just 5 years, my understanding of how to teach history keeps growing each season. Using AO with my children, reading about CM, then reading the same CM, teaching some more, etc., has placed me inside the spinning wheel, I am “in” and moving forward, and so are my daughters. We have come to love history. (Charlotte Mason found most children have an instant love and appreciation for literature and history, and I am startled to see it is true). If presented in all their richness, literature, history, and all learning is so joyous and satisfying. 
After this introduction, I will continue to give an outline of what Mrs. Mason thought about the importance of history, how to teach it using her other learning principles (such as narration, living books) and those specific to history (time lines, book of centuries, charts…), what healthy patriotism is, and how that ties into our heritage. I will call others to reflect on their  legacy and family traditions, and to think of  what it is important to them now, and how to start our own heritage with whatever we want to keep or abandone from our own, and that we want to bring to our children. We will discuss family and national celebrations, ways to learn from those in our community, and since June Butchee is a Texas History lover and we are Texans or Texians at the retreat, we will be sure to ask her to chime in with ideas and recommendations to add to our plans and resources.

… I almost forgot! We are about to celebrate the most meaningful event in American history, 4th of July, Independence. If you are American, please, be sure this weekend is more than grilling and fire works. Find a moment to reflect on why this day was set apart as a holiday.


2 thoughts on “History and Heritage”

  1. I am very excited to converse with you and the other ladies on this topic at the retreat! I teach history/women's studies at a local university (part-time), and I LOVE LOVE LOVE where you're going with history and heritage, as it relates both nationally and personally. Over the past few years I've slowly made some changes in my classes because of what we were experiencing at home with Ms. Mason. It just didn't seem fair to be serving up the feast at home, and then throwing out old and dry crumbs at work!


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