Welcome to my little haven on the Internet! My name is Nancy Kelly and I would love to help you implement a living education in your home. Are you stressed and don’t know where to start? Do you want your family to have a love of learning but your homeschool is more about checking off boxes? Perhaps you simply desire the confidence and wisdom of a mentor to walk this path with you and help you with a plan. I completely understand because 28 years ago, I began traveling this path when I started homeschooling with the Charlotte Mason method. And now, after helping thousands of families understand the philosophy and sharing how to have peace and joy in the home, I want you to have the same tools so that your life and home will be fully alive.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” Colossians 3:15
I invite you to meander through my blog posts. If you’re just starting out, may I suggest Weed it and Reap, The Habits Pendulum, or The Mother’s Key. You can also sign up to receive my new posts straight to your inbox. Maybe you would like to receive my monthly newsletter for pieces of encouragement, news, and CM wisdom. For group mentoring, I provide online classes called Living Education Lessons where we go deep with Mason’s philosophy in community. I also have a limited availability for private mentoring which has transformed many lives. I love to lead retreats and speak at conferences and meet people face-to-face. The Lord has blessed my annual retreat, the Living Education Retreat, which gives husbands and wives the opportunity to rest and learn all about this relational education based so delightfully on the Gospels.
All six of my children have graduated from our Charlotte Mason homeschool, Sage Parnassus. My husband and I have been married forever (37 years!). We live in the southwest corner of Minnesota in a 135-year-old Victorian house with an inviting wrap-around porch. The glorious books on all three levels are pretty inviting, too. I have started and served the local CM community through book discussion groups, teacher training sessions, the TBG co-op community, and more.
“The function of education is not to give technical skill but to develop a person; the more of a person, the better the work of whatever kind.” – Charlotte Mason, Towards a Philosophy of Education, p. 147
What is the Charlotte Mason method?
This simply cannot be answered in a paragraph or two! Let me just say that the CM method is the method that we found to ring true in regards to who the child is and how they learn. It is based on her writings found in her 6-volume series, written about 100 years ago. She didn’t separate the secular and the sacred – no dualism. Her theory of education is in unison with the methods used. It is a life giving -or a living – education for both the student and the teacher or parent. It is a profoundly Christian education.
In a Mason education, the onus of the work is on the student. Mason called this “self-education.” Parents and teachers are inspirers and nurturers. A CM education is much more than a list of inspirational and disciplinary subjects. It is more than the hundreds of glorious books that are used. Nature study is foundational for many things, including wonder and awe of God’s creation, future science work, and the habit of attention. Narration, or telling back, is of utmost importance and changes the way a student processes information. Ideas, relationships, atmosphere, habits – all these are elements of a CM education. But it’s the whole, the way these things work together, that she mapped out so humbly and beautifully into a coherent plan that we can glean from today.
If you read through the pages of my blog, it will slowly unfold a picture of the CM method as applied in our homeschool. I find that by adhering to the principles that she laid out as closely as I can that studies do “serve for delight.” And while there are certain aspects of her philosophy that she shares in common with other methods, I have chosen to sincerely apply what CM prescribes and to focus my research and application on her beautiful, distinctive work. I encourage you to read through her volumes and drink from the source. Join me alongside the flowing streams and avoid the stagnant pools.
Why “Sage Parnassus”?
We needed a name for our house and school, so the boys chose sage because strangers would knock on our door and ask what color we had recently painted the house. The shade of green was called sage. They chose Parnassus because that was the name of Amy and Laurie’s house and school in Jo’s Boys which they were reading at the time. A sweet memory, really, from two little boys who are now all grown up.
They put those two words together and we decided it sounded nice. It worked for me because Parnassus on Wheels is a book I love (about a mobile bookseller) and Parnassus generally refers to the home of poetry, literature and learning due to the fact that Parnassus in Greek mythology was a mountain in Greece where the Muses resided.
What plant is that in the logo?
I chose for my logo the humble rush, juncus species,that grows in Ambleside. It is the symbol that the graduates of Miss Mason’s teacher training college chose to place on their badges, as well as naming their alumni periodical after it – L’Umile Pianta. It is a symbol of humility and Charlotte placed great emphasis on this for all parents and teachers. The rush could “bend to every wind, never breaking, however bent.” This reminds me to listen for and to consider every trend of educational thought while holding fast to the principles of Charlotte Mason. I love to dig deeper and expand on this in my talk, The Way of the Teacher.
What does “maxima reverentia debetur pueris” mean?
That’s one of our school mottos. It means “The greatest respect is due the students”. You can read a bit more about it here and here.