Now available: The Plutarch Project Volume Five

The Plutarch Project Volume Five: Alexander and Timoleon, is now available on and on other sites such as . The e-book is price-matched with the print book (that is, if you buy a print copy, you can also get the Kindle version for US.99).

As always, the studies, including text-only versions for student use, are also available on the AmblesideOnline website.

Formation of Character: Final post (and a surprise)

Karen Glass and I have come to the end of our posts on Charlotte Mason’s fifth volume, Formation of Character. You can read Karen’s closing thoughts on her blog.

I was glad to have this opportunity to explore the book again. In spite of its long chapters and sometimes esoteric subject matter, it’s an unexpectedly practical book that seems to ask one question: what sort of life are you shaping? If you’re a parent, how can you guide your child’s growth without stepping over the limits? If you’re looking at your own life, how do you want to be remembered? Nobody is without hope for change: as Charlotte Mason said, we’re all born with possibilities. And as the late poet Mary Oliver asked,

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

from Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day”

Karen and I have a surprise to wind things up. We took some time last week for an out-loud, inter-continental chat about Volume 5, and you are welcome to listen in.

Wisdom from Part IV: A generous zeal for education

This week’s excerpt from Charlotte Mason’s book Formation of Character is found on pages 427-428, and is from a tribute to Thomas Godolphin Rooper, a longtime friend of Charlotte Mason and the P.N.E.U.

For their part, the students held their Inspector in great reverence as well as cordial regard: they saw that he knew and that he cared. Once or twice, in his generous zeal for education, he came to us, I believe at great inconvenience, to give lessons before the students on subjects in which he knew he could help them…

It is difficult to speak of Mr. Rooper’s delightful and stimulating conversation, and of his genial interest in everything. We have lost a great man, and at a moment apparently when his achievements, his gifts and his knowledge should have been of special value to the nation he served. “To me personally the loss is irreparable,” writes one of his many friends; and perhaps seldom have such sorrowful words found a wider echo. His extraordinary devotion as a brother is known to many. But to all who mourn him he has left, not only the legacy of his life amongst us, but of three sayings, spoken when he was very near the end: “hope”; then, after a long interval, “press forward”; and later, “help from Him.” Whether spoken consciously, to his sisters, or unconsciously, the messages are those of his life. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. May we all “hope,” “press forward,” and look for “help from Him.”

I cannot close this inadequate notice of a great, good man better than by quoting a few phrases from an essay on The Grammarian’s Funeral––with the motto “Great Men do mean what they say,” by Mr. Rooper:––

“His whole life was a long ascent, in the course of which there was no level ground.”
“He lived to magnify the mind.”
“Left play for work, grappled with the world, bent on escaping the common life.” 
“He had laid out his plan for his lifetime.”
“A great work will require a lifetime, and its payment will never be received this side the grave.”

So let us––

          “Leave him still loftier than the world suspects, Living and dying.”