Dr. Jack Beckman
Dr. Jack Beckman If Charlotte Mason (1841/42-1923) was right, then education is indeed a life as I have spent the last 41 years under the regulus and patterns of teaching and learning - initially as an Early Childhood educator in the classroom, then as an educational leader, and finally as Professor of Elementary Education at Covenant College. Each of these contexts has allowed me the privilege of working with students, teachers, and parents on a variety of levels involving instructional pedagogy, curriculum development, and teacher professional learning.
My present work at Covenant College is both challenging and fulfilling. Over the past fourteen years I have moved to the other side of the teacher's desk in my work with preservice elementary teachers. From freshman year Christian Mind through senior Fall Block and student teaching, I witness the progression of growth in their identity from students to full instructional practitioners ready for the classroom. It is thrilling to hear stories of how God is using their gifts and talents in His kingdom work. These dedicated teachers are His "faithful presence" in a world filled with many diverse needs. One of the delights of my work is teaching a course to our undergraduates (and the wider community as well) on the life, philosophy, and work of Charlotte Mason. As far as I know, Covenant College is the only higher education institution to offer such a course for college credit.
I also have the opportunity of teaching in our Master of Education program during the summer. For three weeks, cohorts of teachers and administrators come to the campus to complete a three-year specialty either in curriculum and instruction or educational leadership. My expertise centers around learning theory and instructional supervision.
Moreover I have recently dusted off my administrative skills for two areas of the educational department. The first is my role as Coordinator of Early Childhood in which I collaborate with a gifted team of professors to continually assess our teacher preparation programs for effectiveness, best practices, and ongoing PSC accreditation activities. Second, I am now the Chair of the Department, a responsibility that positions me as a leader among equals in our common work.
Bonnie lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. She taught her own five children, and now teaches in a Humanities High School Tutorial and in Middle School weekly classes. Her students know she has a love of reading, poetry, art, music, and letter writing, and they come to know her favorite authors and artists. For The Children’s Sake by Susan Macaulay was the first book she read 24 years ago to start the journey of homeschooling, and Charlotte Mason has been a mentor every step of the way. Raising the next generation to be Culture Carers is one of her passions. Bonnie can attest that Charlotte Mason’s principles and methods work.
LeAnn lives in a little cottage on a quiet country lane just outside the capital of South Carolina with her husband and children, ages 7 to 16. She is the COO of Burkholder Management, LLC, though her favorite position is that of educational mentor/facilitator to her own children and the CM Community Group that meets in greater Columbia area. LeAnn first discovered the writings of Charlotte Mason 12 years ago, after a challenge from a friend. Since that day, Mason's philosophy of education has breathed life into her personal life and overflowed into the lives of her children, homeschool group and surrounding community. LeAnn hopes to share her passion for learning with you and inspire you on your own journey.
Heidi Buschbach, mother of 4 (ages 14 down to 5), has been studying Charlotte Mason’s philosophy for the past 9 years as she strives to put living principles into practice in her homeschool room. Heidi leads a local CM fine arts and nature study community in the Twin Cities area called “Spread the Feast.” She also enjoys organizing CM events for parents and families, such as monthly fellowship teas, nature hikes, immersions/seminars, topical mentoring sessions, and book discussions.
Heidi has a particular interest in researching Charlotte Mason’s methods for implementing music education. This past year she enjoyed working with her church on an outreach program for the local recreation center, where she took on the challenge of combining her music degree, Musikgarten training, and Mason experience into a CM Music and Nature summer camp called Nature Song. Heidi looks forward to sharing her musical discoveries with the Charlotte Mason community on her new music education website entitled “Miss Mason’s Music.” (missmasonsmusic.com)In her free time, Heidi enjoys fermenting kombucha and kefir, baking bread and other yummy foods from scratch, gardening, singing in her church choir, hymn sings, and having parties in her home. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Four years ago, Becca and her husband Chris embarked on a wonderful adventure moving their family of five from the heart of New England to the beautiful piedmont of North Carolina. Amongst the Carolina Chickadees and peculiar Sweetgum trees, Becca enjoys joining her sons in the feast of ideas set forth by Charlotte Mason's philosophy.
Growing up, Becca's mother immersed her in French language and culture. Becca graduated the top French student in her high school class and continued her French studies at the University of New Hampshire. When Becca began to teach her children French, she discovered her understanding of Mason's method was limited. Unwilling to skip this important part of Mason’s feast, she began digging into Mason’s writings and archives to gain a fuller understanding. She shares her discoveries and suggested resources on her website,www.masonslivinglanguages.com.
Becca loves to garden and cook. One day she'd love to be able to bake bread like her mom. She misses her chickens and ducks left behind in Maine, but has happily embraced the warm sunshine in January and February.
Kelli has been involved in the Charlotte Mason Community for over 15 years. She currently facilitates the Peoria area Charlotte Mason Study Group and enjoys studying and discussing those vitalizing ideas on education and life. She is also privileged to be involved in a few Charlotte Mason Institute projects and is excited about all the research, development, training and support that CMI brings to our communities! She has a passion for sharing the beauty and breadth of ideas in a Mason educational approach with others through speaking, mentoring, consulting, and supporting educators. Through God’s abundant grace, her children were home educated through high school graduation and are currently university undergraduate or graduate students. In her studies over the last few years, she has been encouraged and challenged to consider the magnitude of this relational education, ‘a liberal education for all’, that Mason aims to place before children with ‘minds astonishingly alert’.
Liz is mother of six, grandmother of 10, and has been homeschooling over 30 years. With her daughter Emily, she operates the Living Books Library, lending books to 50 families in her southwest Virginia area, and encouraging other homeschool librarians around the world. Devoted to teaching and supporting Mason educators, she co-hosts A Delectable Education podcast with Emily Kiser and Nicole Williams.
Sara, a native of New Mexico, now lives in North Carolina with her wonderful husband and six boys. Their 100+ year old home and huge trees provide great fodder for the imaginations of their young children, as well as great specimens for nature study. She loves singing, playing music with her family and teaching music and geography in a learning community. Her current favorite pursuit is learning Greek along with her boys. Home education is a passion and a pleasure as she strives to teach her children to be life-long learners.
Erin lives near Philadelphia, PA with her husband and two daughters, ages 12 and 6. Several years ago she was introduced to Charlotte Mason's homeschooling series. Since then, she has studied Mason's life-changing ideas with a wonderful community of fellow homeschoolers. Erin and her family run the publishing company Riverbend Press, providing notebooks and artist prints to the Mason community and assisting CMI with its publications. Erin has degrees in Economics and Political Science. Prior to staying home she worked as a Treasury and Finance Consultant.
Elaine is a writer for Mason’s Alveary Spanish curriculum. She currently teaches at Crestwood Day School in Birmingham, Alabama and has been teaching Spanish since 2009, specializing in TPRS/ Comprehensible Input methods. She has three beautiful girls ages 4 and under with her husband, Keith.
Erin is a daughter of the Most High King, wife, homeschooling momma of four girls, an artist and teacher. Erin is passionate about art and loves to pass that passion on to others. She has been teaching and training up the next generation in art for the past 20 years in public, private and home school settings. Erin graduated from the University of NC at Greensboro with a B.F.A. in Art Education, concentrating in ceramics, and a minor in Psychology. She is thankful to be in a season where she is finally able to put her ideas into actual works of art. This is her tenth year homeschooling her daughters and studying the Charlotte Mason philosophy.
Kathryn first encountered Charlotte Mason’s philosophy at the humble age of 2 or 3 when her mother, Kerri, discovered Mason. After twelve formal years of picture studies, nature walks, narrations, living books, and more, she graduated high school in 2015. In the 2015-2016 school year, Kathryn studied Mandarin Chinese as an international student in China. In the fall of 2016 she matriculated at Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis, MN, and is planning on majoring in English and Counseling. Her interests include: music, hiking, living books, bread baking, and card games.
Just like so many others, Kerri Forney was introduced to the life-giving principles of Charlotte Mason through the reading of Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s For the Children’s Sake. She and her husband, Scott, along with their five children (ages ten to twenty) are growing in their ability to live out these principles in Franklin County, NC. Besides being involved with the Charlotte Mason Institute in various capacities and leading a monthly CM study group for parents in North Raleigh, she and some of the kids regularly enjoy rescuing used, living books wherever they can be found for the purpose of finding new homes for them.
Lara Call Gastinger
Photo credit: Sarah Cramer Shields
Lara is a botanical artist and illustrator in Charlottesville, Virginia. She was the chief illustrator for the Flora of Virginia Project after she received her master’s degree from Virginia Tech in Plant Ecology. She was awarded a gold medal at the Royal Horticultural Society garden show in London and her work has been in several national and international traveling exhibits and catalogs. Her painting was accepted into the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation and she is represented by Susan Frei Nathan’s Fine Works on Paper.
The subjects of her art come from the natural world and reveal detailed evidence of change, decay, and processes that occur in nature. She strives to make a plant portrait in such a way that it reveals its character and uniqueness. Her focus is on the small details in nature, down to the small venations in leaves, which hopefully inspires others to look deeper and pause a bit longer. Her work can be followed at instagram.com/laragastinger
Since 2001, Storm has been a part of three Charlotte Mason Schools serving in many roles. He has been a teacher, a school board member, a volunteer serving on Administrative Committees and a founder of two Mason Schools. Currently he serves as an Instructional Coach helping teachers build classroom community and repair harm when it occurs at Gillingham Charter, a K-12 Charlotte Mason Public School located in Pottsville, PA. He and his wife Nicolle led the team that started the school in 2011. Storm is also a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary and a Free Methodist Pastor. He and Nicolle planted a church in 2012 which incorporates Mason’s principles into church life.
Nancy lives in a little town on the prairie called Windom, Minnesota. She and her husband Kent have home-educated their six children for over 20 years using the principles and practices of Charlotte Mason. Nancy has helped build a thriving educational community in southwest Minnesota that continues to learn and grow. She administrates the Parents’ Midwest Educational Union (PMEU), a parents’ book discussion group; Truth, Beauty, Goodness (TBG), a student learning cooperative; the teacher-training Awakening sessions; and the Living Education Retreat, now in its 12th year of sharing and spreading the ideas of Charlotte Mason. Speaking, consulting, and mentoring are three of her favorite things to do. A trip with Kent and dear friends to Ambleside, England in 2014 forever changed her understanding of Mason’s teacher training and deepened her love for Mason’s relational philosophy. She currently writes at her CM-inspired blog, Sage Parnassus. Her newest project, Living Education Lessons, is an online mentoring community. She enjoys family, 'bright eyes', flower gardening, collecting vintage honeypots, exploring the flora and fauna of new places, and of course...books. You can contact her at email@example.com.
Emily lives with her husband and three young children in the southwestern Virginia mountains. For the past eleven years she has operated a private lending library for local families full of living books. In that capacity she became acquainted with the teaching methods of Charlotte Mason and has devoted herself to learning as much as possible about the philosophy and practice of that great educational pioneer. It has been her great delight to help families implement the Charlotte Mason model of education locally through the Living Books Library, regionally by teaching seminars, and beyond with her Picture Study Portfolios and A Delectable Education Podcast. A perpetual student herself, Emily can imagine no greater joy than to share in the educational journey of her own children as they enjoy the feast of ideas and build relationships in as many directions as possible under the ultimate guidance of the Holy Spirit–the Supreme Educator of Mankind.
Marcia and her husband Steve, live in central Illinois on a little farmstead. She has been homeschooling her six children from the beginning. Each year adds another layer of understanding and implementation to her Charlotte Mason approach of learning and living. In May 2017 they graduated their first student. The Mattern family has been involved with a Charlotte Mason learning community with other families in Peoria called Sursum Corda. Marcia facilitates a Math games group and a Natural History Club for local CM families. Marcia keeps busy in her free time by tending bees, working as a doula, organizing an Atrium for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and searching for the best book to read.
Originally from California, Brittney and her husband have been in North Carolina for nearly ten years, where they are now raising three sweet and rambunctious young children. Brittney worked as an upscale hairstylist and salon educator for eleven years before coming home to serve her family full time. She stumbled upon Charlotte Mason's philosophy nearly five years ago, before her oldest child was four, and was immediately drawn in by living books, nature study and handicrafts. She rediscovered her love of poetry, literature, philosophy and notebooks as she dove into Mason's writings and the Parents' Review. As her knowledge of Charlotte Mason's philosophy grew, her passion to share it with others grew in kind. She started Considering Lilies, a community for Charlotte Mason families, and she coordinates Grace to Build Retreat, an annual event in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Most afternoons you can find her out of doors, exploring with her children or working on a handcraft or personal research project. Every summer she raises silk moths and butterflies and keeps a wildflower garden. If there is time, she does dishes and laundry.
Art and his wife have been home educating their three children for more than a decade. Over this time, Art has been studying Charlotte Mason's writings and attempting to apply her living ideas to his family's homeschool. In this course of time Art has written several essays about Charlotte Mason's theology and philosophy which have been published in the two volumes of Essays on the Life and Work of Charlotte Mason, published by Riverbend Press. Art also blogs regularly about Mason's theory of education at CharlotteMasonPoetry.org. Art walks in Mason’s theological tradition as a member of an Anglican church near Detroit, Michigan. Outside of the home, Art leads product engineering for a Chicago-based software company.
Lynda is an artist who homeschooled her six children starting in 1996. In a search for a fuller understanding of education, she tried various methods. When her grown daughter started homeschooling using Charlotte Mason methods, Lynda realized that it was the philosophy that she had been searching for. She is currently teaching art, sloyd, Shakespeare, and an architecture and design course at The Mason Academy.
Lynda has researched art in Mason’s programs and how it compares to art instruction of the day. She recently took a trip to Ambleside to further her understanding, and she visited the Armitt Museum archives, where she found first-hand knowledge of Mason’s life-giving educational methods.
Debbie and her husband Chris have been married for 28 years and have been blessed with six children. In 1993, led by the Lord, she started the journey of educating her children at home; five have since graduated. Her children have had a wide range of talents and challenges which have kept Debbie "on her knees" seeking the best ways to help them. Charlotte Mason’s approach and RightStart Math were major parts of her successful journey.
Gladys is a CM educator with over two decades of experience in the home and school classroom. She has found the truth in Mason’s words, “Education is a life.” Although all six of her children have reached adulthood, she finds herself drawn to all of the beauty learned through her years educating with the Mason philosophy. Art museums, living books, and travel nourish her spirit, and she is eternally grateful to live in the truth that “Every child is born a person.” This is what compels her in pursuing a graduate degree at Regent University and holding board positions on the Charlotte Mason Institute as well as the Alabama International Dyslexia Association. She is a certified educational therapist, an academic language therapist in training, and operates a thriving private practice.
Over the decades, Andy’s work outside the home has included teaching English as a Second Language to adults, training children and adults with vision problems to get around their communities, planning CM conferences, and helping with curriculum. Her work with visually impaired students from preschool to high school took her into regular and special ed classrooms in 20 or more school divisions in three states. Seeing so many kids disengaged and bored with worksheets, she would come home and groan to husband Carroll about how much an educational revolution was needed. She is so thankful the ideas and methods of Charlotte Mason are gaining wider acceptance and practice. During her children’s younger years, Andy tried to homeschool her two children with CM methods but, to her overwhelming disappointment, found that “air traffic controlling” all those layers were beyond her personal limits. At the time, she did not understand her attention deficit issues, and she knows how dealing with executive function deficits can be mistakenly attributed to moral failure. When she started exploring attention issues, she did not fit the typical ADD profile generally understood at that time, and she was told by a special education teacher, “You can’t be ADD because you have a master’s degree.” So she began self-educating by reading everything she could find on ADD. In her forties, God brought her insightful, competent people who understood attention deficit disorder and helped her make radical, life-nourishing changes. Introduced to a relationship with Christ in college, Andy is grateful to God for the tremendous stability and blessing that walking with Christ has brought to all of life. In learning to steward the neurochemistry she has been given, Andy is also grateful to God for the added blessings that understanding and applying executive function strategies bring.
Dr. Carroll Smith
Dr. Carroll Smith was introduced to Charlotte Mason many years ago through Mason’s book An Essay Towards a Philosophy of Education. From there the seeds of ideas given by Mason in her various books have slowly taken hold and have grown year by year as Carroll worked as a middle school teacher, a principal and a college professor. He founded the educational nonprofit, The Charlotte Mason Institute, to promote the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason and cherishes the relationships that have gown over the years through a collective camaraderie with people interested in seeing education from a very different paradigm. He enjoys reading, gardening and discussing ideas with friends. He and his wife, Andra live in Roanoke, VA.
Amy Snell - With a graduate degree in Literature from the University of California-Irvine, Amy had taught in a variety of classroom environments as an Advanced Placement literature teacher, college English instructor, and mentor of fellow teachers. Amy then discovered the 19th century British educator, Charlotte Mason, whose philosophy quickly convinced her to begin homeschooling her children. As her family thrived using Mason’s methods, Amy wanted to share and learn more about Mason’s philosophy with others, including speaking at the Charlotte Mason Institute National Conference, hosting Mason book discussions and workshops for parents, running a Nature Study Club, facilitating Truth, Beauty, Goodness afternoons, and creating the Mason Academy as director, teacher, and parent. Amy now serves as the Board President of the Charlotte Mason Educational Center of PA and as its Curriculum and Methodology Consultant.
Dr. Jennifer Spencer
Dr. Jennifer Spencer is the Project Manager for Mason's Alveary, the curriculum for homeschools and schools published by the Charlotte Mason Institute. She has been an educator for twenty years in public, private, and home schools. She obtained an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education, a masters in Elementary Education, and a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. She was lucky enough in 2009 to be part of the team that digitized the Mason archives for the Charlotte Mason Digital Collection. In 2011, she helped found Willow Tree Community School in Shelby, NC, where she worked as teacher and principal for four years. In the past, she served on the Board of Directors at the Charlotte Mason Institute. Jen enjoys hiking, reading, and supporting her two children in their musical endeavors. She lives in Gaffney, SC with her husband, Wes, the kids, Drew and Marley, and one sweet, spoiled, and ill-mannered lapdog, Buddy.
Dr. Austin Spruill
Dr. Austin Spruill is the Medical Director of the Roanoke Wellness Center. He received a B.A. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from UNC-Chapel Hill. He received his M.D. from East Carolina University and completed a pediatrics residency at the University of Virginia. After 20 years of practicing pediatrics in Roanoke, VA, he retired in 2013 to start a family-centered wellness program to address the rising incidence of weight-related disorders in both children and adults in his community. He is an active member of the Obesity Medicine Association.
Andrea St. Amour
Andrea has homeschooled for 23 years, first in North Carolina and now in Pennsylvania. Her family participates in The Mason Academy and the programs provided by the Charlotte Mason Educational Center of PA, where she is the High School Coordinator. She is lucky to have a community of Charlotte Mason moms, dads and now young adults to support continued understanding and refining of the methods which have brought a revival to her home school and her home. Of course, there are several challenges that have formed her homeschool experience: Mom is the only person in the household who is a morning person; a household with several adults working from home means that the morning school often gets interrupted; one child has severe dyslexia and another has an even more serious reading disability due to a brain injury. Her husband Paul, a philosophy professor, says that he enjoys the folksongs and hymns that he overhears the kids singing in the shower and their “SLNs” (spontaneous lengthy narrations) on long car rides.
Danielle was first exposed to several of Mason’s principles through the guidance of many gifted science teachers and professors (even though they didn’t know who Mason was!). When she and her husband, Jay, began looking for an educational alternative for their children, she stumbled upon Home Education. The text immediately resonated and it was a natural switch from research scientist to Charlotte Mason educator. She and Jay have established their school on a little homestead in North Carolina. When she isn’t raising food or learning alongside the children, she can be found researching neuro-atypical development or family genealogy. Danielle holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania and an M.S. in Chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University.
Jeannette was introduced to the ideas of Charlotte Mason when her husband, David (then her fiance), gave her a copy of For the Children's Sake and said, "This is how I would like us to educate our children!" In God's providence, David and Jeannette were blessed with four children, all of whom were home educated using Mason’s philosophy, albeit very imperfectly. Three of their four children have now flown the coop, including a daughter who is a classical figure sculptor with a studio in NYC, a son who is an internet security consultant based in Atlanta and another son who is in tech school in Nashville. Their youngest son is 14 and still studies at home. Although Jeannette holds a degree from Auburn University with a major in nutrition, her real education has been acquired alongside her children. Jeannette often obsesses over the stories behind the lessons, especially the stories behind art, wildflowers and history. In order to house their ever-growing collection of mostly out of print children’s books, she and her husband utilize very creative shelving! One day she hopes to open a private library/tea room/yarn shop, an idea which provides just the right excuse for buying more books. Living just outside of Chattanooga, TN, Jeannette privately tutors, writes for the local homeschool newsletter Esprit, helps lead a CM support group and often finds herself reading more about books, than reading the actual books.
Brendan has been providing corporate training for companies, governmental agencies, finance institutions and non-profit agencies in the area of overall wellness. Topics have included personal finances from budgeting, credit reports, identity theft, building savings and first time homeownership. Brendan has also taught workshops on Ethics and Values in the Workplace, Communications Skills, Having a Positive Attitude, and Sleep Basics. He has his personal trainer’s certification and enjoys working out and hiking. He has served as an intermediary for the Virginia Individual Development Accounts program, an 8:1 savings program to help new businesses and first time home buyers. He conducts webinars on the national level for consumers on financial and corporate matters. Audiences have included United States Department of Justice, Harvard University, Federal Reserve Bank, National Basketball Association, National Football League, New York Times, Virginia Tech, Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice and Federal Housing Administration.
Brendan has organized and led teams to work with disaster relief victims on the domestic and international level. Trips have included Russia, Kosovo and the Dominican Republic. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Stonehill College in Business Administration and is a home school dad of over 20 years.
Dr. David Wiggins
David R. Wiggins, PhD, is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice in Roanoke, VA. He received his PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from Virginia Tech in 1995, an EdS degree in Counseling from the University of Virginia in 1988 and a MEd degree in Counseling from James Madison University in 1984.
Dr. Wiggins has worked in the human services field since 1978. He worked as an individual, marital and group counselor at Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center for seven years before pursuing his doctorate. He also served as the director and family counselor for a hospital-based rehabilitation program. For over ten years he was the Director of Counseling and Associate Dean for Student Services at Jefferson College of Health Science. He taught undergraduate and graduate courses in psychology and counseling. He has completed internships at the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, C.O.V.E.R. (Community Outreach to Vietnam Era Returnees), Lewis Gale E.A.P. (Employee Assistance Program), and West Virginia Graduate College.
Dr. Wiggins utilizes short-term, practical skills based approach to treating many issues including: attention-deficit disorder, depression, life stressors, anger management, anxiety and other mood disorders, aging issues, disability and medical issues, workplace stress, conflict mediation, mindfulness training, parenting issues, college adjustment issues, stress management and personality testing.
While Dr. Wiggins helps clients with many issues, four primary areas of interest and training include: marital/relationship issues, medical illnesses, adjustment/stress management issues and mindfulness training.
Nicole - Nicole Williams has been home educating her three children using Charlotte Mason's principles and methods for more than a decade. She also taught four of her adopted siblings from middle school through graduation. Watching the feast of life-giving ideas restore her sibling's innate love of learning inspired her to dig deeper into Mason’s philosophy of education and then to share her experiences with others. She does that now by co-hosting the podcast A Delectable Education, writing at SabbathMoodHomeschool.com, and teaching workshops. She is the author of Living Science Study Guides, where she helps families and schools implement Charlotte Mason's particular way of teaching science. Beyond studying Charlotte Mason’s writings, sharing what she has learned, and homeschooling her own children, Nicole enjoys working in her garden, gathering with family around a bonfire, and, of course, reading a good book.