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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Imagination, from AO Camp 2019

From Imagination talk. Pics on right from our Philippine mission
I was asked a few times to share the notes of my talk. This was not as easy as you might think. Some of my notes are something like this:
Poll. Strawberry Story. Aesop's frogs.
Then I have a couple paragraphs of actual notes, and then something vague again.
 Also, I crossed things out and rearranged them as I went along in my talk, and one of the things people especially liked was something I kind of said off the cuff on the spot- it's not in my notes at all. I won't even be sure exactly what I said until the recordings are finished and available for purchase.
People also wanted to know about the parts I cut to make up for the time I ate up by giving those off the cuff remarks, but I've been asked to speak at L'Harmas in Canada this October, and I plan to share some of that 'director's cut' part of the talk there, and I want it to be fresh.=)  (pro-tip- if you are American and not interested in traveling outside of the continent, a passport card is about half the price of a regular passport and you can use for driving into Canada).

Nonetheless, I wanted to share something about it for all the people who asked, so here's what I settled on doing:
 First, I have an awesome summary to share. It's awesome because I did not write it and summarizing is simply not my gift. I am indebted to my longtime internet friend Linz(at)Home (I finally got to meet her at AO Camp!) for the following summary of my plenary. Her Instagram acct is here.

Here are her notes, shared with permission (Thanks, Linz!!)
 "The reading of stories to children can empower imagination and empathy, “putting oneself in another’s shoes.”
Active sympathy is an act of imagination.
Children need fairy tales not for their own amusement but because they build the mind and squeeze out self-preoccupation.
“The weak diet of school texts produce people with little moral imagination.” (CM)
 Imagination is a seed that grows from what it gets.
Living books fill the imagination and POINT IT OUTWARDS.
(Moralizing) twaddle doesn’t help you put yourself in another’s shoes, it makes you judgey and priggish. 😬
With Littles, be generous with the positive stories and save the heavy truths for later.
Accurate observation builds imagination. Picture to yourself the story. It builds a web of knowledge (not linear, stacked facts),
self-knowledge, not self-absorption.
 Find a connection to what you’re reading -“oh, grandpa was from this country..” Emotions are engaged and reading widely can show us truths about ourselves.
Stories are also conversations through the ages. We meet people in other times and places.
Use stories that don’t have a perfect, tidy end. There is value in the questions “then what? Was that the right thing?” Let them wonder. It opens connections in the brain."

 I think Linz did a fabulous job.
For those interested in the more in depth stuff from my notes, including multiple quotes, and much of the material I had to cut, plus excerpts from the articles I used in my research (except the material that will be part of my talk at L'Harmas),  I have gathered all that and more together, tidied them up, organized them, and included them along with several new Parents' Review articles (new as in they are transcribed online in readable form for the first time as far as I know), and some other goodies in the newest, hot off the press, just finished, e-zine of Education for All! You can purchase that here:

And here is my rough bibliography if you want to do your own research:


Also, all six of Charlotte Mason's volumes on homeschooling, with a special emphasis on volumes 4 and 5, available online at, and the following books:

A Landscape with Dragons
Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child
Tending the Heart of Virtue
Beauty for Truth's Sake
Books that Build Character

I'm not a podcast person so I haven't listened to any, but I have no doubt that A Literary Life is excellent because I have never felt like Cindy Rollins has steered me wrong, and she and Angelina Stanford are doing this new podcast that looks so yummy I might have to try a podcast after all. (I did, it was!)

Regarding the material in my bibliography, the books I have read over the last few years. The articles I read or reread in the three months before my talk.  I still have, literally, 25 tabs open to PR volumes I wanted to peruse before getting down to business and writing that talk, but... I finally had to slap my hands and tell myself enough was enough, I could read those volumes later when working on a sequel- or a book!  Anyway, I'm a bit giddy about finishing up the second volume of Education for All.  You don't have to read All the Things.  That's just my personality.  Research is one of my passions.  But I share them here for those who want to read all the things, or for those who just like to wander here and there amidst the links, dabbling as you go.

Happy Wandering!! (see what I did there?  It's a bit of an inside joke for those who were able to come to AOCMCamp!)

$5.00- Education for All, vol 2- the Imagination (and more) issue!- transcript of the imagination talk from the AO Camp meeting, with additional material I had to cut to save time.  
 $5.00- Education for All, a new CM journal,   Feed Your Mind!  This issue contains several articles on handicrafts, outdoor play, nature study and science. See sidebar for purchasing options if you are in the Philippines.

 $3.00 Five Little Peppers and How They Grew Copywork (grades 2/3, carefully selected with an eye toward finely crafted sentences, lovely bits of writing pleasant to picture in the mind's eye, and practice in copying some of the mechanics of grammar and punctuation typically covered in these years.

  $3.00 Aesop's Fables Copywork for Year One!  Carefully selected with an eye toward well written sentences, memorable scenes, and some practice copying sentences that model the basics of capitalization and punctuation.   Suitable for use with children who have already mastered the strokes and letters for basic penmanship.

Picture Study!  Miguel Cabrera's beautiful, diverse families, painted in 18th century Mexico this package includes 9 downloadable prints along with directions for picture study and background information on the artist and his work. $5.00

Common Kitchen:  What's for lunch?  Isn't that a common problem in homeschooling families?  What to fix, what is quick, what is frugal, what is nourishing?  How can I accomplish all those things at once?  We homeschooled 7 children, and I was a homeschooling mom for 29 years on a single income.  I collected these recipes and snack ideas from all over the world.  These are real foods I used to feed my family, my godsons, and sometimes my grandkids.  Includes some cooking tips and suggestions for sides, and for a variety of substitutions.  I think every family will find something they can use here. $5.00


  1. Here and commenting because I HATE that Facebook are blocking you. This is my silent protest. ❤️❤️❤️

  2. Aw, thank-you! I appreciate the support. FB is so frustrating and discouraging.