I’m so pleased to announce that Anne White’s new book, Minds More Awake: The Vision of Charlotte Mason is now available. Anne is a dear friend and long-time colleague, but that is not the reason I recommend reading her book. If you are homeschooler interested in Charlotte Mason’s ideas, you will want to read this book. If you are teacher who works with children, you will want to read this book. If you are a parent, you need to read this book, and the sooner the better.
The book is deceptively simple. One minute you are reading about making chili in the crock pot, and the next moment you realize that the discussion has turned to integrating principles of education with a sharp focus on the key elements that will make those principles most effective. How did that happen? It is Anne’s gift—the gift of chatting comfortably and relating even hard-to-grasp principles to real-life situations that you will recognize.
She has a knack for spotting principles in unlikely places, and when she points them out, you may blink hard and wonder how it is that you didn’t spot that for yourself. This is a book that will encourage, not discourage you. These are important principles, but they are achievable. Anne doesn’t even leave you wondering what they will look like in practice—she brings the principles to the table and shows you what a math or reading lesson might look like when the principles are put into action.
Minds More Awake is a book to read once, and then again and again. It’s a little bit like fertilizer. There are Charlotte Mason’s own books to read, of course, and a few secondary sources that illuminate or illustrate how to make her ideas work. There is enough soil, air, water, and sunshine in them to grow an education. But adding a little Minds More Awake is going to be like a judicious sprinkling of fertilizer. There’s something here that will support and strengthen what we already know about Charlotte Mason’s ideas, and make the whole process a little more vivid, a little more vibrant. Anne White encourages us to make Charlotte Mason’s principles real in our own lives.
…there is a need in the world for the wisdom-made-practical that we have benefited from ourselves, even if it’s not labelled “C.M.” or packaged in the way we expect. Susan Schaeffer Macaulay includes a description in For the Children’s Sake of an arrangement where young girls (probably those who would be labelled at-risk) came to someone’s house together, learned homemaking skills, and had discussion times over cups of coffee. They might not have been interested in nature walks, but they did have ideas and questions. We need more people who can create safe, friendly spaces.
I highly recommend carving out a little space of time to read this book. As we get ready to begin a new school year, it will be rejuvenating.