Karen Canon made the acquaintance of Charlotte Mason over a decade ago. An immediate and profound relationship sprang up as a love for learning and fullness of life were transmitted from the 19th-century British educator to this modern-day homeschooling mom of five. She has never looked back and is eternally grateful to Miss Mason and her colleagues for paving the way for an educational lifestyle that so resounds with the Divinely sanctioned nature and purpose of humans.
With one graduate under her belt, Karen spends her time delightedly sharing in the education and pursuits of her other four school-age children. She enjoys reading, digging deep into the writings of Charlotte Mason, and coming alongside others to confidently live a Charlotte Mason educational life.
She has spoken at the Midwest Parent Educators Conference in Kansas City and leads a local CM study group. You can visit her study group’s online home at cme-kc.com.
Sarah Lancaster is wife to one college sweetheart and mama to three funny, smart, beautiful girls. Unlike some women, she didn't know from birth that she would homeschool her children. In fact, she used to joke that if God had a calling to homeschool for her, He had better contact her on the phone. Well, that phonecall never came, but when kindergarten rolled around for her eldest, there was no doubt in her heart that it wasn't time to send this precious child off... at least, not yet . They would try a year, and then reevaluate. Then "just one year" turned into "definitely one more." After a year and a half of curriculum hopping (although stumbling and slogging might be a better description), she finally took a deep breath and leaped into the Ambleside Online (AO) curriculum. Despite her fears that it would be too hard, too confusing, or too much, AO turned out to be a delight. Miss Mason's principles of education opened a kind of joy in homeschooling that neither she nor her kiddos had known before.
These principles have not been limited to the children's schoolwork, either. Over the past five years, they have trickled down into Sarah's parenting, teaching at church, and her own personal reading. Despite a background focused mainly on fluff novels and too much TV, she has dived into the challenge of history, biography, educational philosophy, poetry, natural history, and theology with gusto. There are stumbles and frustrations (and still a few fluff novels), but Mother Culture provides a beautiful way to integrate her roles as mama, educator, and woman of God.
Beyond teaching her own children well, Sarah's passion is to help CM communities expand, both online and in real life. Too many moms are feeling lonely and isolated. There are beautiful opportunities right now to develop systems of support, friendship, prayer, and encouragement. In the online world, Sarah has been a moderator on the AO forums for the past three years. She moderates the Form I (Years 1-3), Meet and Greet, and Art areas, but you can usually find her wherever the conversation is buzzing, books are being discussed, or there is mention of chocolate. Off the web, you can find Sarah involved with her local homeschooling group. For the past five years, she has been a part of a book group reading and discussing Mason's volumes. Two years ago she helped to start and lead a Charlotte Mason co-op. This kind of face-to-face interaction has blessed not only her heart, but the hearts and lives of her children as well. Whether it's Shakespeare or barbeques, it's a joy to see CM families come and do life together. Sarah is excited to see how this regional retreat will open new doors for moms to pursue their own learning, build relationships, and encourage each other in this exciting journey we are all on.
Getting ready to homeschool their children, Dawn and her husband took a test to see what educational philosophy best suited them. They were both off the charts with unheard of Charlotte Mason. A friend directed Dawn to the Ambleside Online website, where upon seeing the material, she panicked and ran the other way. It would be a bumpy six-year journey back to Charlotte Mason.
After two years of literally detesting homeschooling and buckets of tears from all, they almost enrolled their oldest child in an Ambleside International school. Ultimately, they chose to keep him home, but during the decision process Dawn read For the Children's Sake and began to slowly implement Charlotte Mason ideas in their homeschooling.
Then, in 2014, when a friend started a local Charlotte Mason Co-op and reading group, Dawn completely embraced a Charlotte Mason education. It took the building of community to provide the motivation she needed for the inspiration of self-education for herself and her children. Although there are still tears, she no longer detests homeschooling. Rather, it has become a passion. Dawn praises God for the path He has graciously placed her on, hills and valleys and all.
Dawn is humbled and blessed to help others on the journey. She has the joy of serving on the advisory committee for her local co-op, Aspen Grove Educational Community. She also had the privilege to help launch the first Charlotte Mason Educational Retreat in Colorado in 2016. Though she cannot quite see around the bend, she’s excited as she looks ahead to the future.
Misty Sena knew from childhood that she wanted to homeschool her children. She would play in the yard with dolls, school books, and chalkboard – teaching. However, her visions of textbooks and desks in the dining room began to shift drastically when her firstborn was placed in her arms. Here was a person.
When her oldest was still a toddler, Misty confided in a group of homeschooling mothers of various methods. She had ideas about what she wanted, but didn’t know how to get it. She shared that she wanted her children to have schooling that treated education as a discipline. She wanted their souls to be nourished rather than merely "filled." She wanted books that were both interesting and rigorous. And she wanted to make school a part of everyday life. A woman in the group gave an answer, “It sounds like Charlotte Mason would resonate with you. Check out AmblesideOnline. With her very first visit, Misty had found her community of kindred spirits. This was eight years ago. With the confidence and encouragement of her husband, she dove into Charlotte Mason’s writings and ideas.
Now Misty is the mother of four wild and wonderful boys and one sweet and sensitive girl, ranging in age from 1 ½ to 9. She is currently learning much about personal limits, simplicity, and grace while navigating life with these five exuberant little souls.
Misty is passionate about creating community and sharing Charlotte Mason with others. For the past three years she has been a moderator at the Ambleside Online Forum and in the Spring of 2016 started a local homeschooling group which aims to educate and encourage it’s members in using Charlotte Mason’s Principles.
"There is nothing I now desire to live for, but to do some small service to my children, that, as I have brought 'em into the world, so that it might please God to make me (though unworthy) an instrument of doing good to their souls.” - Susanna Wesley
Jennifer Taylor had the unique experience of receiving a Christian liberal arts education from Milligan College, whose philosophy of education states, “We begin with the confident declaration that all knowledge is ultimately unified, brought into being by a Creator. Because knowledge is unified, we can see the connections between history, literature, the arts, philosophy, and the Creator of all these disciplines.” This formative philosophy laid the foundation for her life in education.
Upon receiving her undergraduate degree in science, Jennifer went on to pursue a Master of Education from Milligan and has over fifteen years of teaching experience. She has held teacher licensures in Tennessee and Colorado where she taught at the elementary level in rural, inner city, and suburban communities. She discovered Charlotte Mason when her eldest child was approaching school-age. Mason’s works convinced Jennifer to begin homeschooling her three children using the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education. Jennifer has since founded Aspen Grove Educational Community, a community that exists to support local homeschooling families using a Charlotte Mason education. This largely takes place through a multi-age co-op and a monthly book study group,"CM in the Rockies”. Jennifer also provides educational services to include evaluations, consultations and tutoring to CM homeschooling families. To learn more about this and to read her blog visit www.asacrededucation.com. "My passion is teaching children of all ages using Miss Mason's methods and supporting homeschooling families in this approach through study and community."
Jennifer lives with her family in the beautiful foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Monument, Colorado.