Reflections on Modern Miss Mason by Leah Boden
I’ve just finished reading Leah Boden’s new book, Modern Miss Mason. In it, Leah as she shares what living the Charlotte Mason way can look like. You won’t find schedules or subject guides here. You will find inspiration and practical advice for discovering and implementing a Charlotte Mason lifestyle for your family.
A Modern Miss Mason
Leah Boden, like Charlotte, is British and this brings a unique perspective to her book for two main reasons. One, she can interpret some of Charlotte’s work and identify Victorian ways of thinking much better than a non-Brit, and this helps her draw out ideas and apply Charlotte’s method in a modern context. Two, she lives only a few hours’ drive from Ambleside, and she has had access on multiple occasions to the place where Charlotte established her House of Education and she’s read much of the Charlotte Mason and PNEU archives stored at the Armitt Museum and Library. She herself is a Modern Miss Mason (except she’s a Mrs).
Finding Miss Mason
After sharing her story of how she discovered Miss Mason, Leah goes on to teach us how to implement a Charlotte Mason lifestyle. She explores Charlotte’s principles of education in a very natural way and shows us how that can look from day to day, week to week. She doesn’t just draw on Charlotte’s ideas here but she also introduces us to some modern thinkers on education theory that give us a more contemporary take on education and psychology. She challenges assumptions that we may have had about teaching our children and encourages us to try it another way.
‘It is commonly believed that lowering our expectations promotes better self esteem in children (“Never mind, let’s try an easier one”), but that is not the case. Having high expectations shows that you believe they can do it, which in turn has a positive impact on their own beliefs, behaviours, and outcomes.’ Modern Miss Mason by Leah Boden p. 191
How To Be A Modern Miss Mason
From theory, she moves on to the nuts-and-bolts of narration, living books, nature study and culture. Giving examples from her own experience of home educating four children and through helping many others, she shares practical ways of implementing Charlotte’s method. At the end of each chapter, she also gives you a list of ways to practically try these out. You won’t be able to do them all but they are there to spark your imagination for ways to apply what you’ve just been taught.
Cultivating A Modern Miss Mason Mindset
The last part of her book is really for the mother alone, food for the soul or mother culture – as Charlotte would say. Here you’ll read about the importance of cultivating your own inner life so that you too can grow and be stimulated. She reminds us – it’s not just about the children. We as mothers need to keep ourselves intellectually alive, find community and nourish ourselves and as we also nourish our families.
Even though my homeschooling days finished a few years ago, this book reminded me of the wonderful opportunity and legacy following a Charlotte Mason education can leave with our children.
I’m glad I read Modern Miss Mason!