So, I was gonna sit down and type a big 'thing' on the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, which is the direction I currently lean (with some eclectic thrown in) but its been a busy week and I'm feeling lazy. So, in a nutshell, here is the gist of the CM method: "Charlotte Mason was an influential educator in the 19th century who advocated developing the soul and spirit of a child. Her method is literature based, with English and other subjects taught in an integrated way. This approach has become wildly popular with homeschoolers with many curriculum providers utilizing the Mason Method. You can check out Ambleside Online to get a sense of what the Charlotte Mason home schooling method is all about.
- Focuses on outdoors and nature.
- Children learn through reading real books, narration (tell about what they just learned), copywork (copy sections of good literature), and creating Nature Notebooks or lap books (also called notebooking).
- They study the fine arts and foreign Languages.
- Use few, if any, textbooks or workbooks.
- Instead, they read literature related to the topic of study.
- Quality is more important than quantity.
- Goal is to instill a love of learning.
This teaching method might work well for you/your student if you:
- want to create a learning environment that encourages your child to explore and appreciate the world around him,
- perhaps not rigidly sticking to a schedule,
- see a value in evaluating your child’s learning on things other than formal written tests,
- want to offer a well-rounded education, including enjoying art, nature, music and of course lots of books,
- don’t mind being very involved in the process of your child’s education – discussing books, giving dictation, listening and encouraging narration, and enjoying poetry, art and music together,
- have a child who doesn’t mind not having lots of boxes to check off.”
I borrowed this from my friend's homeschooling site, over at www.homeschoolroundup.com. (Nice writing, Angela!) And on the topic of links, I just added two new pages of resources to the blog! I'll keep adding things as I go along. Although I haven't read The Original Homeschool Series books that Charlotte Mason wrote, I have read several other books about her style and methods including A Charlotte Mason's Companion by Karen Andreola, Charlotte Mason Study Guide by Penny Gardner, For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, and Pocketful of Pinecone's by Karen Andreola. This one helped me envision what a Charlotte Mason homeschooling family looked like because it's written in story form as diary entries of a mother. I really appreciate the way in which CM taught the children that allowed them to explore, create, and ultimately have a love for learning. When children are young, especially before the age of 6 she encourages A LOT of time outdoors. "...to find out all he can about whatever comes under his notice, by means of his five senses; that he has an insatiable appetite for knowledge got in this way..." She also emphasized habit formation and it is considered one of the keys to her methods. Habits of obedience, attention, cleanliness, etc. are all important in the development of the child. For my family, I've taken bits and pieces from Ambleside Online and the Simply Charlotte Mason website to implement. Since Ethan is five, he's technically not to be doing too much sit down academic work. CM didn't recommend starting that until the age of six. I did, however, find a list of subjects on the Simply Charlotte Mason site that a 5 year old could be working on:
- Habit Training
- Outdoor Free Play and Exploration
- Bible Study
- Nature Walks
- Read Alouds (from good, quality books)
- Beginning Reading Lessons
- Copywork (we use Handwriting Without Tears currently but might switch over to CM’s method after this book)
- Math (we use Miquon Math)
- Handicraft (not your typical arts and crafts but actually developing a craft where the end result can be useful)
Its not nearly as complicated as it looks! The only actual sit down things that we do regularly are the Bible study, copywork/phonics, and math and it only takes us about 30 minutes altogether with a break between Bible time and the others. The other subjects are spaced out and more flexibly done. We have outside time everyday, nature walks about once a week, handicrafts right now are life skills (like chores and things) and letting Ethan build his inventions, art and music once a week, and poetry whenever I think of it, lol. For our read alouds, I have a print out from Ambleside and also one from SCM of quality books that I can check out from the library or purchase on Amazon. Its been working out really well for our family! Its such a low pressure way of teaching and learning that we all can enjoy. And the great part is that if something doesn't seem to be working, I have the flexibility to change it! Oh, the beauty of homeschooling! :)