Mirrors and Windows at Redeemer School

For 25 years behind us and many more to come, Redeemer School has cultivated a rich, literature-based curriculum—founded in our faith in Christ and inspired by the principles of Charlotte Mason—for Transitional Kindergarten through 8th grade. Our teachers spread a broad feast of learning in front of every student, providing a varied array of subjects and ideas to form new learning and to make new connections across subjects. As we endeavor to this high calling of teaching the next generation, we do so with the view from the Bible (Genesis 1:26 and 5:1) that each child is born as an image-bearer of the living God. We believe each child, as an earthly reflection of the Lord, brings to their learning the ability to think, to create, to solve problems, to love, and to learn to exercise wisdom, justice, and mercy as they mature.

Charlotte Mason’s curricular emphasis invites students to develop authentic, personal relationships with God, others, and the world around us. It is this second category—with othersthat Redeemer School has examined closely in recent years.  In the spirit of continuously improving, we reviewed our curriculum—with a particular focus on history, poetry, and artist and composer studies—in light of two important questions: 1) “Are we ensuring that our historical studies are based upon learning from our eternal Creator and Author of history?”, and 2) “Are we incorporating all of God’s image-bearers in meaningful and purposeful ways that include a variety of perspectives?”

A fellow Charlotte Mason educator and writer, Amber O’Neal Johnston, beautifully articulates this second question’s intention as providing “mirrors and windows” for children. She says, “Books as mirrors are books that children can see themselves reflected in. As they’re reading, they will recognize parts of that book and be able to say, ‘Oh, I know about that. I have that, I dream that, I’ve heard that. My family lives this way.’ Then also, books as windows.  In such situations, they’ll look through the book, and they’ll say, ‘Wow, I can see another world. I can see the way people, who maybe have similarities but are different than me in other ways—I can see how they live,’ and most importantly, ‘I can see their humanity.’” (www.heritagemom.com; quoted with permission)

Our review of what “mirrors and windows” we were already offering—from art to history to hands-on learning—gave us much to celebrate! We observed teachers of all grades encouraging a love of God, love for creation, and love for others, and explicit and implicit reminders of the Lord’s sovereignty through all of life and in our historical studies. Increasing in developmental depth and breadth from K through 8th grade, we noted studies of different cultures around the world; famous leaders and heroes; local history; Native American history in North Carolina and beyond; ancient civilizations, including Egyptian , Greek, Mayan, and Incan; European history from the Middle Ages to the Age of Exploration; and an honoring and honest study of American history from the founding of the nation through the Civil Rights movement.

Drawing on a rich literary foundation, we enhanced what was already established and made connections to new mirrors and windows. Some of these included additional Native-American, Latino, and African-American leaders, perspectives, and stories throughout different places and periods in American history; we expanded resources about the Civil Rights movement in our local/regional history; and developed new studies on ancient African civilizations, including Mali, Ghana, and Songhai. Artists, composers, and poets, such as Effie Lee Newsome, Clara Schumann, Scott Joplin, Frida Kahlo, and Romare Bearden, were also added to complement and further enhance these enrichment studies. With an average of 1,000+ books for reading in each classroom library, we also expanded these selections across all grades to cover wide and diverse topics and perspectives and reflect all image-bearers.

Our staff enjoys engaging in this continuous improvement process, and we are already seeing the blessings of blending these old and new mirrors and windows! Most importantly, through our review of all grades, Redeemer School’s emphasis remains clear that the Lord is the Creator and Author of both Scripture and history. We give Him all the praise as all image-bearers in our school community continue to learn more deeply from the past, connect this knowledge of our shared humanity and need for salvation to the present, and hope for the future.

“We cannot live sanely unless we know that other peoples are as we are with a difference, that their history is as ours, with a difference, that they too have been represented by their poets and their artists, that they too have their literature and their national life.” ~ Charlotte Mason

Redeemer School is currently accepting applications for TK through 8th grade for the 2021-2022 school-year. To learn more about us, and/or to sign up for a tour, visit our website redeemerschool.org/admissions/inquiryform.


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