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Image of Erica Schaefer courtesy of RMCA and Ruxandra Photography.

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What it means to be known.

Charlotte Mason understood the potential of the littlest of us and then made it her duty to cultivate a way of education that respects our children as persons; worthy to be given the BEST ideas to nourish their minds upon.


I explain the impact of the Master Teacher Training Program (MTTP) and the experiences I have had in the education of Charlotte Mason as a journey. This journey, like so much of life, has not been linear. To understand why this philosophy of education matters so much to me, you must understand some of the “what, how, and why” of my life that brought me to the starting point of this journey.


My parents divorced when I was a young child, and I lived with my mom. She was basically a child herself, and most of our time was spent with the women of our family who were all either widowed or divorced. One particular memory is about my “Little Grammy” (she was my great grandmother). We would enjoy tea parties and special snacks on a Saturday night together. This was in preparation for the Sunday that she and I would spend together at her church. I have no recollection of the words spoken in the church, but I do remember admiring the beauty and reverence of these moments together. As I grew, these times became infrequent and eventually God had been relegated to the two holidays we would spend dressed up and celebrating for celebration’s sake, rather than for any real meaning.


The Lord brought my husband Tyler into my life at the young age of 15, and I was finally brought into a place where my soul felt like it had found a home. I began to have my own children, and I was determined to do things differently. Here, however, is when the real challenges began. I had been blessed with everything a person could ask for, yet I found myself unsettled and discontented. My soul was crying out for something that, at the time, I had no words for. Later, I read Charlotte Mason quoting Maurice explaining, “It is a King that our Spirits cry for”… In desperation, I called out to a God I hadn’t ever really known, but that I believed had always been there. The Lord was so faithful and kind to me as I cried out to Him. He began to slowly bring people into my life who would gently share their own growing relationship with Jesus Christ, and I couldn’t get enough of Him.


It was around this time that God made it clear to Tyler and me that our children needed to change schools. We decided to trust in the Lord to help us provide a way to enroll our three children in a private Christian education. At the same time, God opened a path for me to go back into teaching after taking eight years off to stay at home with my children. The Executive Director at the school invited me and two other teachers from our school to attend the week-long Ambleside Summer Institute. The Institute was mind-blowing! It was wonderful getting to know and grow in a relationship with people who had dedicated their lives to cultivating a method of education based on Charlotte Mason’s philosophy. I was forever changed by that experience and liken it to Paul’s experience of having scales falling from his eyes.


I have only been affirmed in my belief that Charlotte Mason was Divinely inspired as she wrote about children. She understood the potential of the littlest of us and then made it her duty to cultivate a way of education that respects our children as persons; worthy to be given the best ideas to nourish their minds upon.


I hope and pray that I have gently sown seeds in my children’s and students’ hearts about the love of our Heavenly Father. I also hope that they have experienced what it means to be known and to come into a life-sustaining relationship with true knowledge and understanding through this education.


Erica Schaeffer

Administrator and Teacher | Rocky Mountain Christian Academy (RMCA), an Ambleside Member School

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