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A Charlotte Mason ‘pilgrimage’!

July 5, 2012

‘Scale How’

Charlotte Mason’s ‘House of Education’ from 1894

My interest in the life and works of Charlotte Mason stems from early on in my research before embarking on educating our children at home, I read a Catherine Levison ‘how to’ book and I knew I had to pursue this further.

I am still early on in my research (4 slow years!) and discovery and am trying to implement her methods with my children, but my interest isn’t purely to aid my ‘teaching’, I am fascinated by a woman who influenced the face of education in a time where children were ‘seen and not heard’, were physically punished for poor spelling and didn’t have the freedom to express their informed opinions or feelings about a particuar text or subject. Charlotte’s work and life was ‘for the children’s sake’; she believed and fought for the plain fact that ‘children are born persons’ and wanted to give them all an opportunity to create a life long love for learning,  enjoy good ‘living’ books and an appreciation for God’s creation.

The circular plack on the front wall of Scale-How

My recent, short trip to Ambleside with my children left me feeling inspired and quickly planning to go up again but also saddened by what I saw. ‘Scale-How’ was a teaching training college from 1894, after Miss Mason died in 1923 it became the ‘Charlotte Mason College’ and was a warm and popular place for young ambitious teachers to train before heading into a working environment.

The front door – the beginnings of a great adventure to many young wannabe educators

In 2010, due to financial crisis, the decision was made to close down the teaching college; it is still part of Cumbria University but is no longer involved with teaching training. The buildings are worn, tired and left behind, you can see on the photo of the door below graffiti scrawled on the paint work; I felt fearlessly protective of her name and her work just by seeing how this building had been treated; a building that holds a million stories and memories of lives impacted by who she was, the God she served and the children she loved.

A building clearly in need of some loving attention!

The side of Scale How; windows boarded but gardens kept beautifully

To the left there are many huge old trees that I’m sure Charlotte and her students sketched and studied!

A building known as ‘the beehive’ used for Miss Mason’s students to practice teaching in!

Thankfully her legacy lives on in the homes of thousands of families and little independent schools across the world; the University have built a new building further up the hill and named it the ‘Charlotte Mason building’.

Further down the winding path on the same land is the Armit museum and library which holds hoards of archived material; books, journals and newsletters. The Museum itself doesn’t hold much information on Miss Mason but the library is a delight for those like me who love to get their hands on original material. I loved thumbing (and smelling!!) the early editions of the home school series but needed to plan ahead to get into the archives (next trip…); the library also displays a beautiful original portrait of Charlotte Mason which captures her shining eyes and soft face; I was captivated!

I have many more photo’s to share of beautiful Ambleside but will spread these out over various posts; we also had the privilege of visiting Beatrix Potters House ‘Hill Top; we had hours of adventures in wellies and raincoats by lake Windermere and made some happy family memories!


Before I leave I have a little gift for YOU! I bought a souvenir booklet  called ‘Charlotte Mason, a pioneer of sane education’ which is a ‘gift’ from CMCA as a celebration of the college centenary in 1992 I’d love to send it to you!  All you have to do is comment on this blog post with your favourite Charlotte Mason quote (or just a comment!) and one week from today when my hubby is back from Africa I will ask him to randomly pick one blessed reader to recieve this gift!  I will send it anywhere in the world so get commenting Mama’s!

This is one of my favourites:

In this way: give your a child a single valuable idea, and you have done more for his education than if you had laid upon his mind the burden of bushels of information.
(Vol 1, Part V Lessons As Instruments Of Education, p.174)

Look forward to hearing from you!

25 Comments leave one →
  1. homelovinglady permalink
    July 6, 2012 5:24 am

    “If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children when these are overdone, we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play!” ― Charlotte Mason

  2. leahboden permalink*
    July 6, 2012 9:08 am

    Ugh, just realised wordpress didn’t save lots of late night edits I did last night; should have said ‘quote’ not ‘post’! Hope it didn’t confuse or put off anyone! Come on – share those quotes! L

  3. July 6, 2012 11:46 am

    Love the quotes, Leah. I’d love to share one, but it’s hard for me to find just one quote – I love ALL of Miss Mason’s words. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing these photos, although it is sad to see the school in such disrepair. 😦
    Hope you have a lovely week-end.
    Many blessings!

    • leahboden permalink*
      July 6, 2012 1:32 pm

      Thank you Lisa! I agree, all her words are inspiring, I could ponder on a few sentences for weeks! Blessings, Leah

  4. July 6, 2012 11:49 am

    Lovely! What a memorable trip. Thanks for visiting my place.

    • leahboden permalink*
      July 6, 2012 1:32 pm

      Thanks Jamie – your blog is lovely! Leah x

  5. July 6, 2012 6:57 pm

    Not really a CM quote but the idea that “education is a life” has been the foundation of our homeschool for many years now. Love this blog entry with your account of the visit to Ambleside! Thanks for the chance at the giveaway too! Off to Tweet the entry to my readers.

    • leahboden permalink*
      July 6, 2012 8:23 pm

      Oh yes, I love that and live by it, thank you so much Barb x x

  6. July 7, 2012 4:22 pm

    Thanks for sharing your photos. I didn’t manage to make it to Scale How on my recent Ambleside ‘pilgrimage’, but I enjoyed the Armitt museum. I hope you had better weather than we had, but probably not 😦

  7. July 7, 2012 4:23 pm

    Thanks for sharing your photos. I didn’t manage to make it to Scale How on my recent Ambleside ’pilgrimage’, but I enjoyed the Armitt museum. I hope you had better weather than we had, but probably not 😦

    • leahboden permalink*
      July 7, 2012 10:47 pm

      Ha – yes, lots of rain but we had fun!

  8. July 10, 2012 2:59 pm

    Wonderful! Thanks for those thoughts and photos. One of my favorite quotes from her is, “Begin a thing, and it will be done.”

    Bobby Jo

    • leahboden permalink*
      July 11, 2012 9:33 am

      Great quote Bobby Jo – thank you! Leah x

  9. July 11, 2012 12:26 am

    This quote is on my blog page.
    “It is more than anything else the home
    influences brought to bear upon the child
    that determine the character and
    career of the future man or woman.
    It is a great thing to be a parent: there
    is no promotion, no dignity, to compare
    with it.” ~ Charlotte Mason

    Love the pictures you shared! Looks like a beautiful area.

    • leahboden permalink*
      July 11, 2012 9:32 am

      Oh wow – I LOVE this one Lanaya, thank you for sharing and thanks for popping by! Leah

    • leahboden permalink*
      July 16, 2012 7:51 pm

      Lanaya YOU’RE OUR WINNER!

  10. July 11, 2012 8:44 pm

    How neat! I came over through the blog carnival. I have always wanted to visit Ambleside and Hilltop! 🙂

    I like so many of Miss Mason’s quotes, I don’t know which one is my favorite! 🙂

    “This idea of all education springing from and resting upon our relation to Almighty God-we do not merely give a religious education because that would seem to imply the possibility of some other education, a secular education, for example. But we hold that all education is divine, that every good gift of knowledge and insight comes from above, that the Lord the Holy Spirit is the supreme educator of mankind, and that the culmination of all education (which may at the same time be reached by a little child) is that personal knowledge of and intimacy with God in which our being finds its fullest perfection.”
    ― Charlotte Mason

    • leahboden permalink*
      July 16, 2012 7:47 pm

      LOVE it! Thanks for commenting x

  11. July 19, 2012 5:27 pm

    I’ve been lucky to go to Ambleside twice this year! One of those times was with a precious friend from South Africa who introduced me to Charlotte Mason 6 years ago! I didn’t get to ‘Scale-How’, but made it to the Armitt. Just being in Ambleside was inspiration enough though. I can see why Charlotte spent as much time outdoors on nature walks as possible :o) – Loved Hilltop Farm too – *sigh* – what a blessing to live in England!!

    I have so many favorite Charlotte Mason quotes – how do you choose just one? :o)

    blessings in Christ
    Shirley Ann
    Lancashire – England

    • leahboden permalink*
      July 19, 2012 11:01 pm

      We’re heading back up there next week with the whole family for a weeks holiday, I can’t wait! Hoping to sneak off to the Armitt for an afternoon on my own…watch this space! We do live a great country full of beauty and history, a blessing to home educate here! Blessings, Leah x

  12. July 23, 2012 1:44 am

    Some wise advice for the mama’s:

    “If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children when these are overdone, we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play! If she would have the courage to let everything go when life becomes too tense, and just take a day, or half a day, out in the fields, or with a favourite book, or in a picture gallery looking long and well at just two or three pictures, or in bed, without the children, life would go on far more happily for both children and parents. The mother would then be able to hold herself in “wise passiveness’ and would not fret her children by continual interference even of hand or eye – she would let them be.”

    — I’m just beginning this journey into a Charlotte Mason inspired education — and so wonderful thus far! I am happy to have discovered your blog.


    • leahboden permalink*
      August 14, 2012 9:26 pm

      Beautiful quote Vanessa – enjoy the journey, thanks for popping by! L

  13. November 8, 2012 3:21 am

    Wow. Thank you so much for these pictures and your report of the current state of CM’s buildings. I’m deeply touched by this.
    Catherine Levison

    • leahboden permalink*
      November 8, 2012 5:27 am

      Catherine, thank you for popping by my little blog, I feel honoured! Your experience, books and insight have helped and inspired me so much in my own Charlotte Mason journey. I too was moved and saddened by the buildings and location of her work but felt blessed to have been able to visit. Blessings, Leah

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