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 Conference Workshop Sessions - All 

Cabin In The Cotton-III-1944

Celeste Cruz

Foreign Language through the Forms

Foreign language is perhaps the most intimidating of subjects for the homeschool mother, especially when we consider Mason's encouragement to start with immersion and aural/oral work rather than a textbook approach. But what if teaching a modern foreign language "the Charlotte Mason way" could be a fun, doable experience at home?  In this session, we'll review Mason's methods for modern foreign language learning through all the Forms and discuss strategies for implementing them whether you are bilingual or not.  We will also try out some of the activities that PNEU teachers used in their classrooms. Bring your challenges and fears and we will troubleshoot how to integrate this very important subject into your family culture.

Assessment "in the Round:" The Case for Term Exams

In this session, we will look at Charlotte Mason-style exams from both a philosophical and a practical perspective. We will discuss general principles governing PNEU exams, how questions and expectations changed through the Forms, how Miss Mason's schools managed the exam process, and how students (and teachers!) were assessed using the results. We will then take that understanding and consider it in the context of the homeschool.  What might Exam Week look like in the home? What subjects should be covered, and how can we prepare questions and set the proper atmosphere for best work?  How can exam performance help us assess our students' progress and our own methods and materials?  Can exams really be enjoyable, helping us to be better teachers and our children to be better students? (Hint: the answer to that last question is a resounding yes!) Whether you are new to term exams or hoping to breathe fresh inspiration into the process, this session will highlight the powerful role exams play in Mason's paradigm.

Christmas Morning Breakfast

(date unknown)

Liz Cottrill

Book of Books

The subject of Bible was of first importance in Mason’s curriculum. That it is a unique book is undeniable, but how do we present it to our children in an appetizing lesson? How should we teach it with the reverence it is due and in a living way? Liz will describe Bible lessons throughout the school years, its special place in the curriculum, and how to make the most of this daily lesson.

Literature: Light for Life

The heart of instruction in a Mason education is living literature in nearly every subject, but the feast also includes the world’s great literature as its own subject throughout the 12 years of lessons.  This workshop will discuss the progression of the presentation of poetry, fairytale, mythology, novels, Shakespeare, essays, and drama throughout the years, its scope and variety, purpose and plan for the knowledge of God, knowledge of man, and knowledge of the universe.

Planting Living Book Seeds

For twelve years, Liz and her daughter Emily have operated a private lending library of only living books.  This workshop will explore why such libraries,even on a very small scale, are a source of life in a community.  Besides sharing their personal story, come to hear what living books are, how to find them, collect and keep them in order, and possibly how you might share them with others.

The Hoe Cake-1946

Nancy Elliott

Braving Plutarch

Plutarch’s Lives depicts an incredible tapestry of human lives, provoking all to discover and develop their own viewpoints regarding the character and consequences of each life described.  What can we learn from their struggles and triumphs?  Was his life an example?  Or, was it a warning?  As Plutarch is post-graduate level reading, the notion of teaching from such a text could easily appear unnecessarily daunting.  In order to demystify what is involved in the teaching of such an important work, Nancy will follow the teaching format she uses as she takes the group real-time through a portion of the text and into group discussion.  She will also discuss the different translations available, as well as the realities of narration and the grand conversation within a group setting or at home.  Nancy will share her passion for teaching Plutarch that has grown from her experiences in seeing students begin to develop a deeper understanding of themselves and others while studying the lives he depicted.

The Wash-1940

Kerri Forney


Throughout Charlotte Mason's writings is the foundational idea that 'knowing is doing.' In Volume 6 she writes, "There is no education but self-education and only as the young student works with his own mind is anything effected." Keeping notebooks is an essential part of self-education. It is important for both the assimilation of ideas and the formation of habits. Together we will explore the ideas presented in Mason's writings, as well as the Parents' Review. We will also review the most common types of notebooks and how they are used.

The Squirrel Hunter-1940

Shannon Goods

Why Study Latin?

Unless you happen to be fluent in more than one language yourself, you may have found it difficult to incorporate a foreign language into your homeschooling (let alone adding four languages like Charlotte Mason had her students doing!)  In light of this difficulty, I imagine many of us wonder if Latin is worth the effort, or even still relevant today, or if we should just focus our limited resources on a modern language.  We will explore these questions together and see how Latin fits into the overall picture of language learning.  We’ll begin by looking at Mason’s philosophy for foreign language in general and then compare that to how she approached the study of Latin, as well as the place of grammar lessons.  Then we will cover some practical tips on how to teach (and learn) Latin and try a sample lesson together.

Secondary Science in a Charlotte Mason Paradigm

Much has changed in the realm of science since Charlotte Mason’s days, so are her ideas still relevant to how we should teach science to our children today?  Can her methods work equally well for the student who loves science and wants to pursue a career in the field and the student who is less interested?  How can a busy parent with little scientific background teach science anyway, especially the experiments?  We will explore these questions and more in our time together.  I will share from my experiences teaching science in a public high school compared to teaching science to middle and high schoolers in a CM co-op.  Then we will dive into the practical aspect of how this can work.  You should leave the session armed with some tools and strategies to bring science to life in your home with Charlotte Mason’s methods, and perhaps even a renewed interest in science for yourself.

    Amish Letter Writer-1940

Storm Hutchinson

How to Build Healthy Relationship Habits in Students and Teachers

We all long to see students live in respect and compassion with teachers and fellow students.  At an even deeper level, we want to see them take ownership of their learning community and work to support and grow it.  This session will focus on the practical issues involved with making this vision a reality.  It can be accomplished with even the most challenging students turning toward the positive and becoming productive members of a family or school.  These principles work one on one or across schools of 1,000 students.  And best of all, anyone can learn how to implement them!  

Quaker Mother and Child-1944

Emily Kiser

Images of Delight: Drawing in Principle and Practice

Drawing is an important aspect of the Charlotte Mason curriculum. However, this subject is often relegated to nature journal entries and mothers are uncertain how to cultivate this skill which develops students’ powers of observation and expression. Not surprisingly, Miss Mason had a practical and delightful way of drawing out these powers in children. In this workshop we will be looking at how drawing fits into the curriculum, indeed is interwoven through all the subjects, and helps support and equip the students’ other studies, benefiting the whole person. We will also be exploring practical ways to teach drawing (and brush-drawing) to students of all Forms.

Keeping Time: History and History Charts

We have all heard of The Book of Centuries, but some of the other time-tools Mason and the PNEU used are more unfamiliar. The use of charts and notebooks in the PNEU supported a child’s deepening relationship with history and helped him develop his understanding of chronology, the conception of time, through a carefully graduated progression of time-tools. Our students today can greatly benefit from this thorough method of studying time that includes personal time-lines, Streams of History charts, the Book of Centuries, and Miss Beale’s History Charts.

Man Seated Near Stove-1941

Karie Rose

Finding Joy in Learning Differences

                Charlotte Mason’s methods of education were developed with every student in mind.  Having taught my children for 15 years with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia, I have not found a better suited method of learning, particularly for those who learn differently.  Together we will review what Charlotte Mason had to say about the individual needs of her students and discuss how her method addresses those needs while continuing to fan the flames of curiosity, creativity, and independent thinking.  We will look at some of the more current research that validates Mason’s approach to learning.  Lastly, we will discuss some practical approaches to addressing learning challenges that can relieve the pressure of failure and reignite the joy of learning once again.

Getting the Most out of Our Copywork Time

                Copywork can be a very powerful tool that, when used correctly, incorporates multiple facets of our language arts studies with effectiveness and efficiency.  Let’s take a practical look at the approaches of Charlotte Mason in this area as well as Transcription, Dictation, Recitation, Spelling, and even Grammar.  We will seek to identify methods that will reach each of our students' needs and discuss common teaching errors that, when addressed, can increase our effectiveness.

Man On A Bench-1946

Dr. Carroll Smith

Narration Part I 

In this session we will discuss the history of and research behind the practice of narration. Is narration a viable option for learning today?  We will look at both what current research and Mason have to say about this. This session will ground you in the importance of narration so that you can go home and use it thoroughly and with purpose.  (Note:  this session is a pre-requisite to Narration Part II.)

Narration Part II 

Based on what we learned in Part I, we will observe and study the narrations of children at various ages.  Next, we will practice and discuss how to introduce narration to young children or to those who are new to narration.  Finally, we will practice the art of narration.

Mountain Landscape-1936

Dr. Jennifer Spencer

Examinations and Reflective Practice

During this workshop, Dr. Jennifer Spencer will take attendees through an analysis of Mason's exams and how students generally progress over several years of taking exams. She will also discuss the importance of using those exams to inform teacher practice, student accountability, and curriculum development.

Shell Holes and Observation Balloon-Champagne Sector-1931

Nicole Williams

Recitation: The Children's Art

Charlotte Mason said, There is hardly any ‘subject’ so educative and so elevating as that which Mr. Burrell has happily described as ‘The Children’s Art.' In this session, you will learn what recitation is, why it is so valuable, and how it differs from memorization. We will then explore its practice from the first reading lessons through adulthood.

Looking at General Science from Elementary through High School 

(abstract to be added)

Brendan Vigorito

Keys to Living a Full Life

Charlotte Mason said, "Our aim in education is to give a full life.  We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests.  Life should be all living, and not merely a tedious passing of time; not all doing or all feeling or all thinking - the strain would be too great -- but, all living; that is to say, we should be in touch wherever we go, whatever we hear, whatever we see, with some manner of vital interest."

As parents and educators we want to provide a full life to our children and students. Yet in our own lives, are we living a full life or are we merely passing time?

 If we are not living a full life, can we model what it means to live a full life? 

This workshop will discuss some of the keys to living a full and balanced life that can be modeled to those around us.  Life can be fast paced and stressful, resulting in our lives falling out of balance and leading to a frustrated existence.  To live a full life we need to have balance in our finances, spiritual life, physical health, nutrition, sleep, exposure to nature and communication with those around us.  We will also discuss the need for a cheerful heart, which is good medicine as well as the need for us to have resiliency and remain strong and steadfast in adversity.

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