Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival: Physical Training

Welcome to the first Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival of 2014!! I am excited to host this edition. Our topic for the week is from Charlotte’s third book, School Education. We are looking at the section she calls “Some Unconsidered Aspects of Physical Training.” If you haven’t read it yet, you can catch up by reading it at Ambleside Online here.

Time to break out the running shoes

Time to break out the running shoes

This seems like a great topic to me given the new year. It is a time when our thoughts often turn to getting into shape so why not ask ourselves what the whole point is? Why should anyone participate in physical training? And why should we force our children to do so? Charlotte has some great answers that you might not expect and so do these bloggers:

Carol at Journey and Destination writes about the connection between virtue and physical training in her post on “Routines, Interruptions, and Developing Virtue”:

“The idea of virtue being trained or exercised is analogous to training our bodies to become physically strong and fit by exercising (straining, stretching and extending) our muscles. Virtue is developed by use (exercise) and the more ‘muscle’ we build, the more fluid or natural the action associated with that virtue becomes.”

Hearing about her own family’s experiences brings it all home.

Are you going to watch the Olympics? If you are, maybe you will think about what makes a hero.

Are you going to watch the Olympics? If you are, maybe you will think about what makes a hero.

My own post here at Letters to Nebby, “Why PE? And How to Make a Hero?”, discusses what physical training is, why we should do it, and what makes a hero:

“[Charlotte Mason’s] argument is that physical training is valuable because of the moral qualities it produces, things like perseverance and self-control. The physical discipline needs to translate into discipline in other areas of life.”

Tammy at Aut2B Home in Carolina focuses on just one of the virtues physical training can instill, alertness. In her post “Seizing Opportunities” she discusses how this can be a particular problem for kids with autism and how they are working to help such kids. I think this bit could be applied to all children:

“I believe the number one thing parents and teachers do to discourage autism spectrum children from thinking is to issue commands.”

Too often we become a crutch for our kids by always telling them what to do. If we are going to tell them, they don’t have to remember and think for themselves.

Amy at Crossing the Brandywine laments her own lack of consistency when it comes to habit training. I think we can all relate to this. But the new year is a great time to recommit to things, right? In her post simply titled “Uh Oh!” she pledges to do better this year:

“Habit formation, slow and steady, is my “main thing” this year. I plan to revisit and update progress on our habits each month.”

Speaking of New Year’s resolutions, here is another post of mine on what kinds of resolutions we make. If you get a chance, leave me a comment saying what resolutions you are making this year.

If you are not quite ready for the New Year but are still thinking about the holidays, you might enjoy Mama Squirrel’s post at Dewey’s Treehouse. She manages to tie together “Epiphany, liturgy, lasagna (and Charlotte Mason)”! You’ll have to read the whole post to see what she means, but here is a foretaste:

“Like lasagna, we need a framework in our worship, our life and our learning. Or at least we can say that a framework gives it more meaning.”

If the new year has you stressed out, burned out, or losing patience with your children (as I am sure we all do at times), check out these encouraging posts:

In “Yearning for Gentle Parenting EverydayZing Day tells of her struggles and her search for inner calm. I have often found, as she says, that my own (negative) attitude sets the whole household on the wrong path for the day.

Nadene posts on “Perseverance” at Practical Pages. Reading aloud is one of my favorite parts of our homeschool day so I loved this quote:

“Just by doing read alouds, we did our school work when everything threatened to fall apart.  Reading aloud was the glue that held us together!”

And if you are looking for some practical tips, Nadene also has a post called “Mom’s Book of Centuries Record of Work” in which she talks about how to make a book of centuries, its value as a record of work completed, and even the benefit of making your own alongside your children!

Speaking of practical tips, there are a couple of posts on Shakespeare this week as well.

Nancy at Sage Parnassus writes “The Triumph of Grace — Resources for Macbeth” in which she lists lots of resources for the study of this famous play. I was intrigued that an author I have enjoyed, Leland Ryken, is also #1 on her Macbeth list.

And Rebecca at Down a Rabbit Trail shares how her family studies Shakespeare in “Unschooling Shakespeare: Everybody Dies.”

Where I am in New England, nature study is very hard to do this time of year. But I am encouraged by Amy at Fisher Academy‘s Nature Study Monday link-up in which she shares her own nature walks and gives tips on how she does it. I love seeing what other homeschoolers are doing. Be sure to check back with her every Monday for more cool nature studies.

Last but not least, we have another post from Nancy at Sage Parnassus entitled “Cultural Education versus Education for Examinations and Tests.” In this post she looks at a letter written to The Parents’ Review by one Monk Gibbon. The core of her post and his letter is this idea:

“‘Miss Mason looked on education as something between the child’s soul and God.'”

Pretty humbling, isn’t it? This idea is the core of a Charlotte Mason education and it changes how we do everything I think.


That’s it for this edition of the carnival. If you have missed any or want to see what’s ahead, be sure to check out all the details at Amy’s website.


6 responses to this post.

  1. Thank you for a wonderful carnival! I have loved reading the richness and encouragement everyone shared in their posts!


  2. Posted by Rachel on January 14, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    Thank you for presenting this-I appreciate the quotes and synopsis to different blogs!


  3. The carnival looks GREAT, Nebby! Thanks SO much for hosting it. Thanks for adding your personal flair!! 🙂 I am keeping it open in my browser until I get to all the posts! Thanks again!



  4. Thank you, Nebby, for all your work in putting this together. I appreciate your careful placement and comments – it shows how much you care.

    Comfort and joy,


  5. I’m still chewing on your entry and it just hit me. One of the reasons why skilled athletes miss the mark of being heroes is because we have divorced the material world from the moral/spiritual world. By compartmentalizing ourselves, we send mixed messages to persons who focus exclusively on one part of their being to the detriment of others.

    Thanks again for hosting!


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