Probhita Shew, AHS Humanities Tutor 2021/2022
“The getting of knowledge and the getting of delight in knowledge are the chief ends of a child’s education.” ~ Charlotte Mason.
A kindergartner comes to school knowing very little, but capable and thirsty for a great deal. He starts with learning his letters and numbers and then is delighted to learn to read to himself and to add and subtract his acquisitions. He finds that all his accumulated knowledge makes life easier, enjoyable, and fulfilling. In an Ambleside education, this joyous acquirement of knowledge is not restricted to a grade level but inculcated as a lifelong journey. Nor is it confined to the student alone.
Ambleside Schools International seeks to make this lifestyle of education available to their teachers as well and to increase their skill so that the students have access to instructors that are consistently being trained and honed. Besides the Internship Program and the Summer Institute, the Master Teacher Training Program (MTTP) is a three-year intensely structured field of knowledge. Dr. Bill and Maryellen St. Cyr, with their decades of expertise, personally instruct and train teachers in the profound philosophy and pedagogy of Charlotte Mason. What is wonderful about this program is that teachers emerge realizing how much more there is to learn! They are trained how to implement Miss Mason’s ideas and how to support students to become self-educators that delight in knowledge, even when it is demanding.
I started homeschooling my children and as they got older, realized I was missing out on something. It was another homeschooling mother who led me to Charlotte Mason’s writings. This was where the secret lay in leading children to not just get knowledge but to get delight in knowledge! Finding the St. Cyrs and Ambleside Schools International helped me access that truth! The Mentorship Program, the Internship, Summer Institute, and MTTP have proved invaluable! Thanks to that connection, not only did my family and Homeschool Co-op benefit but the Calcutta Emmanuel School in India has also begun an Ambleside Education! Our family recently moved from South Carolina because we wanted to be a part of this beautiful Ambleside Ocala community that has so warmly welcomed us. We feel blessed and privileged and are excited to be a part of this movement.
It is ironic that the “chief end” of education leads inevitably to the next tantalizing starting line of further learning. There are some schools which focus on how to secure the livelihood of a person, what he shall do to earn a living. This one aspires to what Charlotte Mason extols, “Of all the joyous motives of school life, the love of knowledge is the only abiding one; the only one which determines the scale, so to speak, upon which the person will hereafter live.” A curriculum of rich literature and history, the great works of art and music, the marvels of science, the rationale of mathematics, the beauty of art, and the wonders of nature will mature a student to cultivate meaningful relationships (with subject, teacher, and classmate), excel for pleasure, rather than pride, and find their contributing place in society. Imagine what a world we should have if all children were given the opportunities that are rightfully theirs! I am inspired by the Apostle Paul’s ultimate quest, “That I may know him…” Indeed, all knowledge should lead to this place – to deepen the relationship with our Creator, to feel his hand upon our lives, know His truth, and discover our purpose and calling in life. Only when rightly related to God can anyone be of use to humanity. That design is the earnest prayer for myself and those in my care. As we prepare for the coming school year, our hearts are filled with expectancy to embark and delve into knowledge that delights!