I am excited to share with you Nicole Handfield’s story about the new book, Charlotte Mason and the Great Recognition! As I mentioned earlier in this post, on July 7th Nicole presented this project at the Living Education Retreat which consisted of the book and the two high-quality prints (one 8 x 11 and one 18 x 20 with principle 20 written beneath it) by an Italian photographer. While the book may be small in stature, the ideas presented are Mason’s mightiest.
|Nicole and I sharing at the LER|
The story of how this book on
the Great Recognition came to be is inextricably linked to the Great
Recognition itself. When Charlotte Mason explained that the Holy Spirit
is our children’s indefatigable teacher, who will teach them (and us)
all things, this recognition turned my secular/spiritual dichotomy on
its head, opening my eyes to the more intimate involvement of God in our
lives than I had previously considered. And so, I can say in all
honesty, the making of this book is really the work of the Holy Spirit,
who put the silly-sounding idea of publishing a book into my head and
then actually made it happen. I can say with full confidence that it
wasn’t me pushing the project because I am completely unqualified for
such an endeavor and frankly didn’t even know where to begin. And yet,
every single piece literally fell into place, because God was
orchestrating the whole thing.
It all began about a year
ago on a date night with my husband when he brought up the idea of
taking a family vacation to Italy. He wanted to experience traditional
Neopolitan wood-fired pizza, but I wanted to see for myself the fresco
that Charlotte Mason described when she discussed the Great Recognition.
the Cholmondeley biography of Charlotte Mason, I read how Charlotte had
a reproduction of the frescoes hanging in a prominent place at the House
of Education so that it could serve as a daily inspiration for the
teachers in training. I really wanted to have something like that in my
home, to remind me daily that the Holy Spirit is the real teacher in our
homeschool. I thought you could find anything on the world wide web!
However, when I tried to find an image online of the fresco, I could
only find the ceiling vault and the wall fresco separately. Because of
the shape of the inside of the Spanish Chapel, the dimensions of the frescoes are not the same and photoshopping the images together wouldn’t
produce a nice, frame-able image.
myself in Florence looking at the fresco, I spent most of my time trying
to get a great photograph of the two parts (wall and ceiling) in one
shot. However, my camera was not able to overcome the limitations of the
limited interior lighting and my inferior photography skills. So I did
not get the beautiful photograph I wanted.
we got home from Italy, I really felt that more Christian educators
needed to hear this message. I wished that there was a book containing
Charlotte Mason’s discussion of the Great Recognition Required of
Parents as well as John Ruskin’s discussion of the fresco (which
Charlotte read on her own trip to see the Florentine fresco). And it
would be great if it could have photographs of the fresco as well. Of
course, I still wanted a nice, frame-able shot of the fresco for my own
wall at home.
should make the book that didn’t yet exist. I had plenty of reasons why
I was not the person to take on this task. Besides the fullness of my
plate in this season of mothering littles and literally knowing nothing
about publishing a book, I wasn’t even sure that I knew enough about
Charlotte Mason and this concept to correctly describe it in a book.
later attended the Grace to Build Retreat and found myself sitting next
to Nancy Kelly at breakfast on the last day when I brought up my idea
for this book. She said it was a great idea and told me she’d put me in
contact with a publisher. And that was the beginning of this crazy
project that involved the hiring of multiple professionals (including a
professional photographer to get that beautiful image of the fresco) who
put together this lovely book. I asked Art Middlekauff and Nancy Kelly
to contribute chapters to the book as well, and I’m so pleased with
their additional insights into this important foundation of Charlotte
Mason’s educational philosophy.
I earnestly pray that this
book is a blessing to all who read it and that we can all be inspired
and encouraged by the living ideas it contains.
*The first printing of the book is sold out. A second printing will be coming this fall. Riverbend Press will be taking preorders for the art prints. The only other place to to get the books or prints will be this September at the Weekend of Living Ideas Retreat or this October at the Delightful Living Seminar or Grace to Build Retreat.
|These two look rather sweet next to each other!|