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Into the classrooms we go!

Good evening. This post is going out on the late side, but I hope you'll have a chance to read it before tomorrow. As you know, we talked at our recent lunchtime meeting about the many benefits of striving for an atmosphere where we can 'be in one another's classrooms.' There is such potential for a true feeling of collegiality if we can pull this off, so we are rolling this out, at least in trial-run form, tomorrow!

First, especially in the younger forms, seeing one another teach and work with 'the method' will strengthen our development as Charlotte Mason teachers. If there is a natural, normal in-and-out of many moms in all of the short lessons, we will be able to talk freely together about what is and what is not working for our students. We will pick up on little strategies that we may not have thought of. Moms will get the chance to observe their own children in classes, and also to see other students outside of the subjects where they are the main teacher, which can really lend insight into what each individual child struggles with or excels at. The younger classrooms often have 'helpers' and scribes around anyway, so we really hope this will feel barely any different than what you are already used to. Some of you never get to see the younger forms at work, and we really hope you will enjoy having a peek at this world!

Let us emphasize that we are not worried about any of our teachers! This change is truly to increase our group exploration and implementation of Charlotte Mason's method.

In the JH and HS forms, it may feel a little more unusual to have visitors in the classroom. Our goal is to see this as a way to foster the attitude of "we are all learners here together." In this feast of ideas, we hope that in not too long it can feel natural for even our adult learners to jump in and take a bite of the meal. It will model for our young people that learning does not end at graduation, and that the ideas they have been invited to wrestle with are valued by their parents as well! Just as we relish the chance to discuss things at Symposium, this more open-door policy will increase our chances to join in the learning our students are immersed in.

In general, at least at first, observing guests should expect to sit quietly on the edges of things. While there is no ban on your involvement, it should be initiated by the teacher and natural to the class. We suspect that a gentle development of what this should look like will emerge if we proceed with patience and grace. Observation rather than participation should be the key.

It is easy to feel a little territorial about our classrooms, or to feel anxious about teaching in front of other adults. I was once mortified at the thought of teaching in front of other grown-ups, but my work in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd forced me to overcome these feelings (try having to SING in front of other adults! When you aren't much of a singer!). In the end, it has helped me to see that whatever learning I can facilitate for a group of kids is something anyone should be able to join in. It's weird at first, but it really does get easier.

Our goal at Lumen Christi Consortium is to create an atmosphere that is so full and rich with learning that our love of the living ideas moves us to a generosity and charity. Sharing this feast with everyone at the table––from the very youngest to the oldest as is fitting––should be our impulse. We hope you are excited at the prospect of having more of an inside look at the learning happening across our community.

Details on how this will work tomorrow at the Morning Meeting!

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