Living Technology? Living Media? Does it exist?

Part I
by Alison Hendricks

When I find myself confronted with an education or curriculum question, I often find myself asking, What would Charlotte say? As my children grow and develop and care more about their peers and the outer world in general, the discussion of media and technology is forefront in their minds, especially my boys. You are unlikely to find the latest child-centered gadget or gizmo in our home. The television is seldom on while children are awake. Our children’s DVD selection is slim. I am happy this way…and I’m also a hypocrite. I have an iPhone full of apps, I am typing away on my Mac, I read Charlotte on a Kindle, my husband and I love watching the History Channel together and I use the internet to do nearly ALL of our non-grocery shopping. Why the discrepancy? I fear that if I let my children satisfy all of their technology cravings, they will grow up to be introverted, overweight and unable to develop a desire to do more than find the easiest way to instant gratification. Or worse, that they will become prey for the Enemy. The lightning-fast pace of technology development means that although pre-mommyhood I was a technology curriculum specialist for my local school district, I often feel woefully behind the times. Our current society revolves with technology and it is the defining item of our age. While it may not be entirely our zeitgeist, it makes up a great portion or has a great influence on our zeitgeist. (Leslie Laurio says that this word “zeitgeist comes from two words that translate spirit and time; zeitgeist means the general spirit or feeling of the current age we live in.”). So, where our children are concerned, it begs the question: What would Charlotte say?

We entirely agree that no one can escape the influence of this Zeitgeist, and that the Zeitgeist is, in fact, one of the most powerful of the occult educational influences, and one which parents and all who have the training of children will do well to reckon with in the adjustment of their work. Nature, family, social intercourse, this Zeitgeist, the Church and the State, thus Professor Rein, as interpreting Herbart, sums up the schoolmasters under whose influences every child grows up; a suggestive enumeration we should do well to consider. Vol. 3, pg. 94

And when speaking of her own theory of education she says:

Such a theory of education, which need not be careful to call itself a system of psychology, must be in harmony with the thought movements of the age; must regard education, not as a shut off compartment, but as being as much a part of life as birth or growth, marriage or work; and it must leave the pupil attached to the world at many points of contact. Preface to the Home Education Series

While I don’t necessarily live in harmony with our zeitgeist-influencer of technology, I do believe that we should at least have an awareness that regards current thought and reacts or conforms or reclaims as necessary. What would Ms. Mason think of modern technology? I think she would not expect us to hide our heads in the sand, or cut our young image-bearers off from the current thought of our age, but to learn it, use it and encourage the reclaiming of this arena for Christ! But will my technology and media illiterate children be able to accomplish this task? Of course not. Therefore, I have a responsibility to ensure that this domain becomes a part of our great feast of ideas. Here is the moment that I begin to cower, cringe and procrastinate.

There is just SO much bathwater with this baby that it is often easier to throw it all out than muck through finding the best of the best. Therefore, I sat down to write this blog series as a way to make myself accountable for including the best technology/media into my children’s feast. Hopefully, in the process, it will help some others wade through the torrential flood and find some real gems that lend themselves beautifully to a Mason-based curriculum.

I’m going to lay down a few ground rules for myself. First, screen time (defined as any time in front of any screen) is not good for children under the age of two, period. So, I will not be reviewing anything for that age group. Second, I have found little intrinsic value in video games. Call me biased, call me old-fashioned but I believe they are a poor (I’ll not say cheap because they’re not!) substitute for actual play, exploration and discovery. I believe Charlotte would have said, “Go outside and play!” The current Wii-type gaming systems may be a step in the right direction, but I still believe they can never replace actual fresh air and sunshine. Even the so-called learning games are so abstract in nature that the benefit that is gleaned from them is fleeting in these concrete young brains. So, I won’t be reviewing video games or gaming systems. However, I know that many will not agree with me on this and likely have lovely examples of exceptions to my blanket statements. Perhaps one of those folks can write an article on the subject. Third, I believe Scripture is very clear when it says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) and, “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” Ephesians 2:2 (KJV). If we allow our children to let the prince of the power of the air take all their thoughts captive, we are setting them up for failure in the Christian life and opening them up to be prey of the Enemy. So, I will be careful where technology is concerned to err on the side of caution. I will pay close attention to the effects of it on my children’s spirits, characters and dispositions and be quick to end a “relationship” with a device in favor of real Relationship with their Lord, family and friends.
Coming soon: Part II- Book Media

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2010 Winter/Spring Reading Schedule

Hi Everyone!

Here is the schedule for the coming new year as we begin CM’s “Parents & Children”, (Vol. 2) together. We meet the first Thursday of each month. We would love to have you join us!! If you are interested, please email charlottemasonnwa@gmail.com for locations and directions. Happy New Year! one and all!

January 6, 2011

“Parents and Children” (P&C) Chapters 1-6, pp. 1-59
Discussion Leader: Cindy Vasquez
Theory Applied: Alison Hendricks, The Way of the Will Chart

February 3, 2011

P&C, Chapters 7-11, pp. 60-116
Discussion Leader: Lori Buchanan
Theory Applied: Melinda Miller, Science: Rocks & Minerals

March 3, 2011

P&C, Chapters 12-16, pp. 117-177
Discussion Leader: Tessa Cockrell
Theory Applied: Cindy Vasquez, Studied Dictation

April 7, 2011

P&C, Chapters 17-21, pp. 178-232
Discussion Leader: Melinda Miller
Theory Applied: Lori Buchanan, Grammar

May 5, 2011

P&C, Chapters 22-26, pp. 233-290
Discussion Leader: Alison Hendricks
Theory Applied: TBA

Appendix (pp. 291-308): Questions for the use of Students. This may be helpful to some as you go through each chapter.

At our June 2nd meeting, we will begin “Formation of Character” (Vol. 5).

January Meeting

Hi Everyone!

Happy New Year! This is a quick reminder about our first CM in Arkansas meeting of the new year!

Details:

Date: Thursday, January 6, 2011
Time: 7-10 p.m.
Email charlottemsasonnwa@gmail.com for directions.

Readings Discussed: “Parents and Children”, Volume 2, Chapters 1-6, pp. 1-59.
Discussion Leader: Cindy Vasquez
Theory Applied: Alison Hendricks, “The Way of the Will”

Online Text:
amblesideonline.org/CM/2_03.html

Modern English Version:
http://amblesideonline.org/CM/M201.html

Hope you can come and join us!!

CMNWA December Meeting

Everyone is welcome to come and join us for some warm fellowship and interesting discussion on Thursday, December 2nd at 7:00 p.m. at the Alexander home in Rogers. Please feel free to email charlottemasonnwa@gmail.com for directions. We will be finishing up Volume 3, “Home Education”, Appendix IV (pp. 302- 359 in the red paperback books) and discussing CM-style exams. Feel free to bring any examples from your own homeschool experience. In January through May, we will begin reading and discussing Volume 2, “Parents and Children”. Please come and join us even if you have not read the chapters! We would love to see you! You can access CM’s books online @ http://amblesideonline.org/CM/toc.html

FTCS,
Cindy

Upcoming Meeting

The CMNWA group will be meeting next on Thursday, November 4th, 7-10pm at the Hendricks home in the Fayetteville area. The discussion for this meeting will be over reading selection Chapter 20-Appendix III (pp. 215-302 of the red-backed copy and online copy) from the book “School Education”. If you are interested in joining us, please email charlottemasonnwa@gmail.com for directions. Please come and enjoy the discussion even if you haven’t read…we would love to have your fellowship!

Free online original and modern English version:
http://amblesideonline.org/CM/toc.html

CMNWA at ETC

The local homeschool group, Eclectic Teaching Consortium, invited our Charlotte Mason book study group to share at the August meeting. Alison Hendricks gave a basic overview of Ms. Mason’s philosophies and then mini-application times were shared in small groups. Afterward, the group reconvened for narration of the small group time. The link below is a recording of Alison’s talk. It was a sweet time of fellowship and learning! Thank you ETC!

A Drop in the Bucket of CM Education

Bible Handicrafts

We found out recently that in Volume Six of Ms. Mason’s books, she stated that the handicrafts they used in the PUS schools were not extraordinary and therefore she didn’t list them. We discussed the fact that in this day and age, it is quite extraordinary to do crafts and many are dying arts. Since so many of us struggle with this area of our curricula (especially where boys are concerned), I thought a list would be helpful. Here is a list that my mother came across of arts and crafts listed in the Bible, along with their references. I hope these may be of use to someone. Alison

Perfumers Ex. 30:25, 37:29, 2Ch 16:14, Ne 3:8
Bakers Ge 40:1, Jer 37:21, Hos 7:4
Barbers Is 7:20, Ez 5:1
Boatbuilding 1 Ki 9:26
Braziers Ge 4:22
Brickmaking Ge 11:3, Ex 5:7
Caulkers Ez 27:9
Carpenters 2Sa 5:11, 2Ki 12:11, Is 41:7, Jer 24:1, Mt 13:55, Mk 6:3
Carving of wood Ex. 31:5, 1Ki 6:18, Ps 74:6
Confectioners 1Sa 8:13
Coppersmiths 2Ti 4:14
Dyers Ex 25:5, 26:14
Embalming
Embroidery Ex 28:39, 35:35, 38:23, Ez 27:16
Engraving Ex 28:11, 35:35, 38:23, 39:14, Zec 3:9, 2Co3:7
Fishermen Mt 4:18, dLk 5:2
Founders Jdg 17:4
Fullers or Washermen 2Ki 18:17, Mk 9:3
Gardeners Jer 29:5, Jn 20:15
Masons 2Ki 12:12, 22:6, 1Ch 14:1, Ez 3:7
Master-workmen 1Co 3:10
Molding Ex 32:4, 1Ki 7:15, 23; 2Ch 4:17
Needlework Ex 26:36, 28:39, Jdg 5:30, Ps 45:14
Painting Jer 22:14
Gatekeepers 2Sa 18:26, 1Ch 16:42, 23:5, 2Ch 35:15
Potters Is 64:8, Jer 18:2, Ro 9:21, Rev 2:27
Refiners of metals 1Ch 28:18, Mal 3:2,3
Sewing Ge 3:7, Ecc 3:7, Ez 13:18, Mk 2:21
Silversmiths Ac 19:24
Smelters Job 28:2
Smiths 1Sa 13:19, 2Ki 24:14, Is 44:12, 54:16, Jer 24:1, 29:2
Spinners Ex 35:25, Pr 31:19
Stonecutters Ex 31:5, 1Ch 22:15
Tailor Ex 28:3
Tanners Ac 9:43
Tentmaking Ac 18:3, 1Th 2:9
Weaving Ex 28:32, 35:35, 2Ki 23:7, Is 19:9
Workers in metals Ex 31:4, 1Ch 22:15,16, Is 40:19