As an educator trekking through my twelfth year at Ambleside School of Ocala, long gone are the days of being the new kid on the block and a rookie to Charlotte Mason’s Philosophy of Education. But while most of my weekdays are spent eyeballs deep in The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom or guiding my eighth-grade students through a lesson in Human Anatomy, equally as important are the opportunities when teachers and staff come together to reflect on the work of Charlotte Mason. Eagerly awaiting the arrival of our students at the beginning of the semester, teachers not only prepared their classrooms but also their hearts and minds by meditating on God’s Word through a selection from Scale How Meditations by Charlotte M. Mason. The following excerpt by Benjamin E. Bernier, Ph.D., positions the reader to truly see the heart of Charlotte Mason’s work; the work that we strive for each day on our campus.
SCALE HOW ‘MEDITATIONS’
Dominus Illuminatio Mea
“ ‘This duty of devout meditation seems to me the most important part of the preparation of the mother or other teacher who would instruct children in the things of the Divine life.’ Charlotte M. Mason.
The series of Scale How¹ ‘Meditations’ comprise a verse by verse commentary on the first seven chapters of the Gospel according to St. John delivered as Sunday talks by Charlotte Mason to her disciples at the House of Education, and mailed to subscribers during the year 1898.
These meditations are important not only for their intrinsic devotional value but also because they offer direct insights into the sources of Mason’s theological convictions and the meditative process by which she nourished her personal faith and that of her students. In fact, Mason wanted each one of her disciples to understand, practice and teach others to practice, this same devotional discipline so influential and formative in her own life.
Mason firmly believed that education is divine. Education is a matter of the Spirit. In her view there is no difference between Christian and secular education for true education is the same of all, giving a person the opportunity to learn and enjoy the best in all things for the glory of God, who is the ultimate source and goal of knowledge.
For this reason, Mason taught her disciples of The House of Education, and is willing to teach us and all who would listen, that Christian Education is simply impossible without the regular practice of meditation upon the Word of God, who is Christ, received as the foundation of all life-giving knowledge.” (Bernier 3-4)
If we, as teachers and parents, acknowledge that education is divine and a matter of the Spirit, how then will we adjust our hearts as we approach ideas such as training in habit and the proper role of imagination? My desire for our school community is that we would take a collective deep breath, remember that we are not alone in the work of raising these precious children and that we would start each day in communion with our Heavenly Father through prayer and meditation.