Method of Education

"As a stream can rise no higher than its source, so it is probable that no educational effort can rise above the whole scheme of thought which gives it birth;…"

— Charlotte Mason

As an independent Christian school based on the philosophy of Charlotte Mason (1842-1923), The Vine School follows the Ambleside method and approach. These include: 

  • providing a broad and varied curriculum of inspirational and disciplinary subjects through direct encounter with living books and other resources
  • instilling the importance of daily habits in order to author a full and free life
  • valuing right relationships with God, self, others and creation

Our primary concern is the kind of student each child is becoming, not the mastery of particular technique. We‘re confident that the pupil who masters the art of learning will attain his full potential for mastering data and technique. The pupil who masters the art of relating well to God, self, others, ideas, and creation will attain the fullness of life for which he or she was created.

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“As a stream can rise no higher than its source, so it is probable that no educational effort can rise above the whole scheme of thought which gives it birth; and perhaps this is the reason of all the fallings from us, vanishings, failures, and disappointments which mark our educational records.”
— Essex Cholmondeley, The Story of Charlotte Mason

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Our desire is that our pupils should become intimately acquainted with as many as possible of the interests proper to them: not learning a smattering of this or that subject, “but plunging into vital knowledge, with a great field before him which all his life he will not be able to fully explore” (Charlotte Mason). The courses of study vary between the grades and are studied at a depth appropriate to the age and stage of the children.

Narration is the basic methodology of Charlotte Mason education. Narration is an active retelling of what the pupil has heard and learned. Such a retelling requires the use of the child’s whole mind as well as their memory, and demands careful attention to a single reading of the source, without review and repetitions.  It develops active listening and analytical thinking.

Ambleside pupils do scholar’s work by reading primary sources of literary merit that present inspiring ideas in all subjects.  They are not given dry, predigested facts and texts. Their study also includes direct contact and observation of real objects from nature (plants, minerals, animals, the elements), and art, music, and other human disciplines (maps, instruments, machines).

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