Thursday, December 12, 2019

{From My Pre-Reading Journal}

I usually share excerpts {From My Commonplace}, but this time around, I'm sharing some quotes from my Reading Journal, where I keep favorite selections from my pre-reading.

These two books were talking to each other this week...

"What is perhaps worse, though, was the damage done in creating laws that a significant minority of Americans would be disinclined to obey, laws which moreover could never be seriously enforced. In doing so, the architects of Prohibition had seriously undermined respect for the law itself."

-- from McClay's Land of Hope

"Now, such cruel punishments as these did harm in many ways. In the first place, it did harm to the whole people to be accustomed to see justice done by such bad means. Men who see an example of cruelty and carelessness for human life set by those in high places, and approved of by the law, are in danger of becoming themselves cruel and careless."
-- from Arnold-Forster's The Laws of Every-day Life

I'm reading Ourselves right now too, and between that and my Form 3 kids' other reading, there's just so much to consider about integrity, justice, the true meaning of law, and more. So timely in our political climate.


  1. Celeste, forgive my timing in asking a question when your baby is due at any time. I'm not sure who else is best to ask. I'm still very much of an "infant" in terms of my knowledge of Mason's philosphy and application of it. In terms of assignments or lessons, is there a good place to start? I've read a little about not over-talking with your children, but posing good questions. I assume that's the point of pre-reading. Would you direct me to some reading or share with me how you create your "joyous lessons" and what a few might entail? I have a 6th grader, 4th grader, and 1st grader.

    Thank so much.

    1. Hi Marty! I think any solid general CM book would have some initial direction for you. I really like When Children Love to Learn, if you haven't read it already. It talks about implementing in a school setting, so it gets a little more into what a classroom lesson would look like, which I actually found very helpful even though we homeschool, of course.

      Other resources...

      I talk about how I prepare lessons weekly here: It is from a couple years ago, but most of it still holds true to my practice today. Yes, my pre-reading time is when I think through what I will offer my kids in the way of questions, presenting an inspiring idea at the start of the lesson, etc. Those elements are minor, though, compared to the reading of the text itself and the student's narration, which are the most important parts. My pre-reading is a chance for me to see where there might be good stopping points for narration, when we might need a map handy, how to whet their appetite before we begin, etc.

      I have done a few different talks including immersion lessons on this kind of thing, and they have been recorded...
      The CMEC fall retreat was on this very topic, the role of the teacher in lessons, but right now it is available only to members of the Charlotte Mason Educational Center:
      Also, our CMEC 2018 Summer Retreat had a couple sessions on the role of the teacher and how I prepare lessons:
      The CMEC really is my #1 resource on this but the resources aren't free. I am a contributor to the curriculum and love the emphasis on mother-teacher training. :)

      I also talked about Pre-Reading and lesson planning a bit on the Schole Sisters podcast a long while back. Maybe you would find it helpful?

      I'm not sure any of that fully answers your question, but maybe it will give you a place to start?