About Us 2017-07-18T12:43:15+00:00

OUR VISION

At Charlotte Mason College we are concerned that children should not merely acquire knowledge and skills, but should have opportunity to experience abundant life within all that is good and true and beautiful. Staff, parents and students all participate in a learning community where each of us is engaged in the pursuit of a lifestyle filled with goodness truth and beauty…

CMC families pursue lifestyles of….

…’goodness‘ – through Christian character training via the disciplined development of the habits needed for success in life. The CMC program employs Charlotte Mason’s gentle common-sense methods of child training.

…’truth‘ – through the search for knowledge in the sciences, humanities and the arts. Students engage with quality classic literature from the great thinkers and leaders throughout history; and

…’beauty‘ – by preparing and maintaining a warm, loving, positively affirming atmosphere in the home and/or classroom setting; setting up an aesthetically beautiful and ordered learning environment; and by becoming familiar with classic artworks and music composers, with joyful participation in the creation and performance of their own music, dance, art, and drama.

EDUCATING FOR LIFE

“The people themselves begin to understand and to [search for] an education which shall qualify their children for life rather than for earning a living. As a matter of fact, it is the man who has read and thought on many subjects who is, with the necessary training, the most capable in handling tools, drawing plans, or keeping books. The more of a person we succeed in making a child, the better will he both fulfill his own life and serve society.” 

– Charlotte Mason, Towards a Philosophy of Education, 1923. 

At CMC we believe in a well-rounded practical, academic, and cultural education for all, in order to prepare every student for a constantly changing world of varied opportunities. In some schools, the ‘non-academic’ children are relegated to the ‘trades’ pathway, whereas the higher performing students are prepared for university. Both of these assumed outcomes can be somewhat narrow in focus. At CMC, we prepare children to live life well in a way that also prepares them for success whether they pursue further tertiary study, careers, trades, marriage, family, friendships, and recreation hobbies – prepared for all of life!

We aim to re-ignite the love of learning through a balance of practical hands-on activities, cultural and artistic pursuits, a smorgasbord of inspiring food-for-thought, academic skill development, and Christian character training.

Group lessons in the on-campus classrooms are kept intentionally small (8 – 16 per class). When we reach 17 students we divide into two classes of 8 or 9. All children need extra support and special attention at one time or another, so our small class rooms enable this need to be met.

Commentators have called Charlotte Mason’s methods ‘the gentle art of education’. Although she lived a century ago, her understanding of children, her elegantly simple and common-sense methods have been validated by the latest research on brain function and educational psychology, and these methods will effectively bring out the very best in your children.

OUR HISTORY

CMC is governed by the Parents National Education Union (Australia), which had its roots in the original Parents National Education Union (PNEU) in the UK over a century ago. The founder of the original PNEU (UK), Charlotte Mason (1842-1923), was a British education philosopher, reformer and pioneer in the field of education. Her concept of ‘living books and real life experience’, as a foundation for educating, shaped many of the schools of Great Britain at the turn of the 20th century. In 1896 Charlotte Mason wrote a book titled ‘Home Education’ and later books titled ‘School Education’, ‘The Formation of Character’, ‘Ourselves’, ‘Parents and Children’, plus a final treatise called ‘Towards a Philosophy of Education’ (1923). She established a network of schools in England and other countries, a correspondence education service, and a training college for teachers, nannies, governesses, and tutors called ‘The House of Education’. In the 1930’s there were a few PNEU schools in the southern States of Australia. One of these (The Wilderness School) is still operating today, though not strictly following her philosophy.

In 1995, the McNeice family, inspired by Charlotte Mason’s work with the original PNEU, established a non-profit ministry providing parents with a service that would hopefully inspire parents with a vision of an education towards living an abundant life. For 22 years, they supported all home-educators with a legal advocacy service and provided advice for families using a broad range of resources and strategies. In 2012, they registered a range of nationally accredited qualifications (Certificate III, Certificate IV, and Diploma) in order to provide an alternate pathway for homeschool graduates.

Bruce and Karen McNeice

Over the years, Bruce and Karen McNeice have worked with more than 3000 families as they launched out into this journey of training their children with enthusiasm, conviction and determination, occasionally mixed with fear.

In 2014, the Parents’ National Education Union (Australia) Inc was established – to continue the work of Charlotte Mason’s original PNEU that operated from 1887 to 1989; and then in 2017, PNEU (Australia) gained successful registration as an accredited non-government School and School of Distance Education.

Since 1995, the ministry had operated under the names of Christian Academy of Life, Unity College, and Eastgate College. From 2017, the new registered school took on a new name (Charlotte Mason College) to more accurately reflect its philosophical foundations, joining a growing movement of Charlotte Mason Schools in numerous countries around the world. Many home-educators also search the internet for information on Charlotte Mason’s methods, so this new name will make it easier for them to find us and get the help they need.

The kind of parents that enquire and enrol in CMC, tend to be those who are not satisfied with a conventional education; but have in mind or are searching for a higher vision of who their child can become. They are searching for an education that treats their child as a precious person with unique qualities, and that values the role of the parent as an important member of their child’s education team.

CHARLOTTE MASON METHOD

The Charlotte Mason Curriculum is a broad general and cultural education curriculum with four distinctive features that make it such a unique and highly sought after programme.

i) The Content – Q: “What is taught?”
ii) The Embedded Worldview – Q: “Which values & belief-system undergirds the moral, spiritual and character training?”
iii) The Learning Philosophy – Q: “How is it taught?”
iv) The Accredited Qualification – Q: “What do you get at the end; and what doors of opportunity will it open for you?”

i) The Content – The whole library as our textbook, and the whole world as our curriculum! 

A Charlotte Mason Curriculum provides a broad general and cultural education from Preschool to Year 12 and beyond. It employs the liberal arts and sciences to provide a rigorous tertiary preparation using what is known as ‘living books’ and the ‘great books’ to engage students in ‘the great conversation’ with the cultural giants, thinkers and leaders who have been influential in the development of Western civilisation and culture. Most textbooks represent the editor’s concept of what is important in a subject. Rather than limiting the students to the ideas of one author or publishing company, students learn to be true ‘scholars’, investigating many primary sources and immersing themselves in the real life stories of the scientists, authors, philosophers, artists, leaders, geniuses, and the common people of the period they are studying. They become like the Bereans, who the Apostle Paul said were ‘more noble’ because they didn’t just take his word for it, but searched out the scriptures to see what was truly true.

In this programme we use the whole library as our textbook, and the whole world as our curriculum! Our scholars access the wisdom of thousands of years of great thinkers, so the students can learn from the past in order to know what to do in the present. Ideally your child-scholars don’t just study science, they investigate, experiment and and encouraged to think like a scientist. They don’t merely memorise historical facts, they learn to live like a historian or an archaeologist. They don’t just read literature, they immerse themselves in the story, act it out, explore around the topic further, and practice being an author, writing in the same genre, learning to think great thoughts and express great creative ideas.

ii) The Embedded Worldview

Charlotte Mason proposed that “Anyone who wants to teach children needs to decide whether man [sic] is just physical, or something more. It can’t be both ways, and even the most trivial detail of the school day will line up with one or the other of these two fundamental perspectives.” (Mason, 1910) 

Because the secular State education system, stems from a belief that humans are merely the meaningless product of matter, chance and time, there is no inherent unifying meaning so that each subject is independently adrift. However, in a Charlotte Mason philosophy, we believe there is an overarching story that unifies all subjects and brings them to life; because there is a transcendent personal God who is really there, who is not silent, who acts in real space and time history, and who offers meaning and purpose to people. Therefore, without having to force any cross-curricular activities, topics and subjects naturally integrate in a way that makes sense, so the students discover the big picture of life. Subjects are interwoven within thematic units of study; they interconnect, so there is a reason for studying Science, Literature, History, the Arts, etc.

iii) The Learning Philosophy

The CMC philosophy of learning draws on the work of great thinkers and educators such as Charlotte Mason, Mortimer Adler, Dr Francis Schaeffer, and Socrates.
Charlotte Mason’s motto was, ‘Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.’ 

Education is an atmosphere: The atmosphere of the classroom or home is seen to be crucially important. When considering atmosphere, we care about both the physical environment of the classroom (uncluttered and aesthetically beautiful), as well as the ‘social-emotional’ atmosphere that is both disciplined and friendly, with staff and students always positively uplifting one another.

Education is a discipline: Of course it takes much time and effort to continually train everyone towards this type of supportive learning culture. One of the key roles of the teacher and parent is to work diligently on the formation of habitual character traits until they become the innate ‘modus operandi’ of the child.

Education is a life: Mason believed in respecting the person-hood of each child; and that our role as educators is to foster the love of learning as a lifestyle. Instead of force-feeding them information, she respected and trusted the child’s mind to digest and assimilate quality food for thought; so she was careful to present a smorgasbord of quality mental food, and then allowed them to share their thoughts, discoveries and come to conclusions on their own. In her classes, she tried not to over-explain, lecture, or analyse; and tried not to get too much between the student and the author or artist.

Mason recommended ‘whole’ books rather than condensed snippets. She gave the children time to read a ‘whole’ book by an author rather than a selected reading in an anthology, so they could fully understand and appreciate what the author had to offer. Rather than using textbooks which are typically full of ‘canned bits of information’ with rote memorisation of facts, she recommended what she called ‘living’ books which were excellently written stories and texts authored by someone who is passionate about their topic and brings it to life. Living books were often written in conversational style, and included selected biographies, classics, and historical novels. Quality books of this sort allowed the reader to identify with and understand the personal lives of the characters while gleaning important contextual facts.
She employed a comprehension technique called ‘narration’ as a significant learning tool. The child is required to listen intently to a reading (only once) and then retell it as closely as he/she can. Charlotte Mason believed this helped a child to interact with the material in an original way and to assimilate and connect information in the process. She felt it was important that children be exposed to only the best literature rather than ‘twaddle’ which was how she defined literature written ‘down’ to a child’s level.
Charlotte Mason believed in a structured morning of basic academics and then dedicating time in the afternoon to real-life situations through hands-on projects, work experience, play, exploration, nature walks, visits to the museum, and reading. This would allow education to be a life-enriching, joyous experience, and adventure.

iv) What Qualification or Award will the students receive, and where will that lead to?

Depending on their level of achievement, CMC students will graduate with one or more of these four qualifications by the end of their Year 12 (or Gap-year 13) studies.

Either…

iv) What Qualification or Award will the students receive, and where will that lead to?

Depending on their level of achievement, CMC students will graduate with one or more of these four qualifications by the end of their Year 12 (or Gap-year 13) studies.

Either…

a) Certificate III in General Education;
b) Certificate IV in Liberal Arts;
c) Certificate IV in Science;
d) Diploma of Musical Theatre.

OUR GROWING TEAM

Bruce McNeice
Bruce McNeiceSchool Facilitator
Karen McNeice
Karen McNeiceCurriculum Manager
Troy BeerMinistry Oversight
Stephanie McGillCommunity and Ministry Development
Iain SimondsBursar
Joshua HumphryisChaplain
Amanda TaylorQuality Assurance Officer
Rachel HumphryisDance Specialist
Jared BellMedia and I.T.

ENROLMENT INFOMATION

Please email me a prospectus.

We would love to connect with you and are happy to touch base and see if Charlotte Mason College is a solution for your family.

Also, keep an eye on your inbox for some great information for parents of distance education, developed by our principal, who has over 20 years of experience in home based education.