Today a dear friend took us out to the village of Ilam (pronounced ‘eye-lamb’). Apart from it being picture perfect and just so cute…

Could you live in one of these?

That is the village school! How cute is that?

…this village has some historical significance. In September 1665, the village tailor was sent some cloth from London. The cloth was infected with Bubonic Plague (black death) and within days, the village tailor was dead. The plague spread through the village, the young Rector at the time, along with his predecessor, persuaded the villagers to stay in the village and seal themselves off to avoid spreading the plague to the surrounding area. Most stayed. 257 out of a population of around 350 died before the plague finally died out in the October of 1666. During these dark days, people from the surrounding area would leave food for it’s inhabitants up on the hillside paid for with coins from the villagers dipped in vinegar (great disinfectant BTW).

Walking around the church yard, the villagers grave stones mark that terrible time in British history. As I walked around the old church, I wondered at the tales that the walls could tell!

Apart from this wonderful chance of forming yet another relation with history, we enjoyed a walk along the DoveDale valley. What a stunning limestone valley. Just have a look at the views surrounding us as we drank in the liquid sunshine.

And just to top off a lovely walk…

there was opportunity to get a little wet ;o)

The child, though under supervision, should be left much to himself–both that he may go to work in his own way on the ideas that he receives, and also that he may be the more open to natural influences.
(Vol 1, Part V Lessons As Instruments Of Education, p.178)

As I move forward on my journey to implement Charlotte Masons philosophy into our every day learning and living, I find myself becoming more relaxed about it. A few years ago, in my eagerness, I would have been trying to force the relation in this meeting with history. Trying to impart loads of -what must be boring – chatter to my children. I have learned that I do not have to do this. My children have a desire to learn embedded inside of them. Not a word did I impart – I did not want to be the one to interfere with their relation. And what do you think happened? Well, as we walked around the graveyard, all sorts of questions came my way. Who are these people mum? what happened? Look how old these grave stones are – when did these people die? I simply answered the questions put to me and engaged in the conversation about what it must have been like. Then off they ran to sit on a neat little chair that someone had carved out of a tree trunk,

…and to explore a distant bridge across the field.

What I have realised is that the signs that our children are forming a relation are there – we just need to quit jabbering long enough to see it! When a child shows an interest, starts asking questions and wants to know more about something – that is the sign that a relation is forming. She wants to know because she cares not because it is something that is required. I am learning to trust my children. My job is to provide plenty of opportunity for my children to meet and form a relation, to provide plenty of ideas and plenty of time to explore. Charlotte Mason mentioned that:

Teachers mediate too much. –Everything is directed, expected, suggested. No other personality out of book, picture, or song, no, not even that of Nature herself, can get at the children without the mediation of the teacher. No room is left for spontaneity or personal initiation on their part.
(Vol 1, Part V Lessons As Instruments Of Education, p.188)

Hmmmm – food for thought isn’t it? I have to just mention here – I have mentioned it before on my old blog – that adopting Charlotte Masons ways is not an overnight miracle. It is years of slowly implementing, slowly learning and re-educating oneself. In the CM group I attended at the time – I heard this lesson of letting the children alone for them to form their own relation. However, I was unable to put it into practice because it was so against the grain of my ‘schoolified’ brain. But as the years go by and I see how Miss Masons suggestions work – I am won over. I am able to step back and trust my children enough to watch Miss Masons wisdom move from theory (in my mind) to being played out.

So, if you are starting out on your journey with Miss Mason, my I encourage you to focus on one thing at a time, watch the seeds you have planted grow and blossom. This will encourage you in what you are doing. Slowly add Miss Masons ways to your homeschool, step by step and easy does it. You cannot run before you have learned to walk. That’s what I love about reading the entries to the Charlotte Mason Carnival – this are real moms encounters with success. I am constantly inspired! May I also add to never stop learning yourself. If you really do desire to have a completely Charlotte Mason approach in your homeschool, then invest in a set of her books and make a point of studying. I know it can be heavy going at first, but you will reap a rich harvest!


  1. Beautiful photos and very interesting bit of history.

    Thank you for the reminder to allow children to make their own connections. It is a learning process for us Moms implementing Charlotte's philosophies. I often find myself saying too much instead of waiting patiently for questions, or missing their questions because I'm too busy pointing out what I want them to notice.

  2. Olivia – I feel the same way about England – I just love it and feel so blessed to be living here. I love history and England is the perfect place to be if you do ;o)

    Serena, as I read your comment I found myself saying 'hear hear'! I think it is natural thing for us mums to want to point things out all the time. I really have to hold back my own agenda!

    Shirley Ann

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