Last November I attended an excellent Simply Charlotte Mason Encouragement Conference in South Florida. After one of the sessions I was catching up with Sonya Schafer, who is easily one of my favorite speakers, and she mentioned the ongoing work of reproducing the original Charlotte Mason Homeschooling series. My heart almost stopped! Like many other CM homeschoolers, I treasured my original “pinks,” which had been published by the Andreola family until they could no longer make copies. Once publication of the original pinks ceased, a few “reproductions” were released that were not true to the original writings. I was always so frustrated when trying to help incoming families that were trying to understand the CM philosophy. I was grateful to have the online reproduction of Charlotte’s writings on Ambleside, but for those mothers desiring to read unabridged, unedited, paper copies of Charlotte’s writing they had only eBay to look to and the prices on there ranged from barely affordable to YIKES. When Sonya said they would be reprinting this series with the blessing of the Andreola family I felt such a rush of gratitude knowing that these new books would be authentic and authorized!
You guys know I love my books. Between rescuing and restoring old books, finding new treasures to love, and snapping up deals for my community, book deliveries are a fairly regular occurrence around here. This was probably one of the most emotional box openings ever for me! I read Charlotte Mason’s writings at a time in my life when I had prayed that God would cut through confusion and disorder and show me a clear path for my children. Through a series of events that only He could have orchestrated, I met Charlotte. Oh, how her writing pierced me! I walked away feeling like God had given me a firm plan through Charlotte’s faithful work. The influence of her writing on our homeschool life cannot be measured. When I opened the box and pulled out this beautiful new edition, I was instantly teary-eyed, remembering my first reading and thinking of all the other parents out there that now have access to these books. The love and dedication that went into preserving and publishing these beauties is evident from the moment you open the first book in the six volume series, entitled “Home Education.”
A touching forward by Dean Andreola, an endorsement by Susan Schafer Macaulay, the original introduction to the series by Dean and Karen Andreola, the original forward by John Thorley, and the original prefaces to the Home Education series and the 4th edition of the series by Charlotte Mason, are all included in the opening pages.
I am happy to say that the differences between the Simply Charlotte Mason books and the original Pinks are differences I am pleased with. No missing passages, no heavy edits, no disordering of pages. The text is complete and authentic. The text is also bigger. Hallelujah, the text is 28% bigger! No more late night squinting while I transfer words back and forth between my original books and my common place journal. Speaking of my journal, there are wide margins for note taking in these new books which means these reprints serve as both source text and personal journal.
I gave it a whirl the other night and am happy to say that reading, note taking, and journaling have never been easier when studying Charlotte’s words. The new books also lay flat when opened. If you have ever tried to transfer notes from the original books you will understand the glory of that last sentence.
Another meticulous detail I greatly appreciate? Original page numbers are preserved at the top of the newly enlarged text while new page numbers hold guard at the bottom of the page. I had to smile when I saw that, I have always loved how organized, and thoughtful Sonya Schafer is. All of the resources SCM releases are beautiful, practical and functional and these long prayed for reproductions are no exception.
I had high expectations for these books and I am so happy to say they were met and surpassed. I received an email from a brand new homeschooling mother the other day. She asked how to get started with Charlotte Mason homeschooling and how to find out more about Charlotte Mason. How wonderful to include in my response, “You can find Charlotte’s complete and original writing over at Simply Charlotte Mason.”
Thank you to Sonya Schafer and the dedicated team over at Simply Charlotte Mason for this labor of love.
Materials were received free of charge in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions stated above are my own.