Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Homeschool Method: Charlotte Mason

One extremely popular Homeschool Method of education children is based on books written by Charlotte Mason.

I have heard about this method off and on for years, but it wasn't until 2 or 3 years ago, that I took a really hard look at it.

There is a very good write up in the Wikipedia explaining this method ...


Teaching philosophy

Mason's philosophy of education is probably best summarised by the principles given at the beginning of each book mentioned above. Two key mottos taken from those principles are "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life" and "Education is the science of relations." She believed that children were born persons and should be respected as such; they should also be taught the Way of the Will and the Way of Reason. Her motto for students was "I am, I can, I ought, I will."


I don't feel right about copy pasting their entire excellent article - but urge you to read the part about the Teaching Method.


This is a very popular method, especially among Christian groups.  My sister uses this method with her 4 children, and they love it.  

There are also hundreds of homeschool blogs using this method as well - so it is very easy to find out more about it.

This style of teaching focuses on developing the Character of the Child and giving them a well rounded education - especially teaching the child to listen, remember, notice, take notes, and communicate well.

Some of the core ideas using Charlotte Mason (and this is just a brief explanation):

Living Books - reading high quality books, (biographies, history, science, adventure) - at first out loud, and then providing more as the child reads on their own.

Narration - teaching the child by telling a short story, then asking the child to repeat as much of the story back that they can remember.

Dictation - using good examples of spelling and grammar literature for the child to copy in order to teach spelling and grammar

Music Study / Art Study - concentrate on one person or style at a time to learn art and hymns

Nature Study - taking long walks, drawing what they see and exploring, and identifying what they find

Of course there is so much more than this - but the Big Idea to this method is to shape and develop a child's character by example and immersion in quality.  She was not a fan of "dwaddle", the busy work that so many children of today indulge in.

Some highly recommended books ...  and most using this method say, if you don't have time to read all 6 books, just read book 6.  She wrote these books as her children grew up, so each one gives more of what she had learned.




An article on the 7 basic principles of a Charlotte Mason Education

A company that only sells items to teach with the CMM

The "leading blog" on CM Homeschooling

and more blogs

Many of the blogs that I follow use at least a few elements of this style in their homeschools,
But this one talks about using it more than the others.

I actually suspect over half of the homeschooling blogs (most blogs represent a single family) use all or part of this method to teach - and a simple search of "Charlotte Mason Homeschool Blog" will give you more material than you could ever cover.

At least one of my sister's use this method wholeheartedly, and I know it is a method of choice in the homeschool groups that we join for fun and events.  I think it is an extremely useful method and well thought out - tons of information available for anyone wanting to use it.

But I don't use it much.  Maybe because by the time I learned about it, I was kind of set in my ways and didn't feel like changing it all?    

What we do - 

the living books - my children LOVE the books on this list and I indulge them.  You will find that most of the great classics are on this list, and you will find many a familiar friend (books) on the available lists of suggested books.

Character Training - perhaps not the same way, but we do work on character

Math Manipulatives - to teach complex math concepts.

And off and on, we do give a nod toward other aspects, but it just didn't fit my personality well, and what we were doing was mostly working.  Once I studied and learned from this method, I Incorporated some of it into what wasn't working as well.  

But that is part of the beauty of homeschooling - each parent and child combo is unique, and we can treat each as individuals with unique personalties and learning needs and styles.  I'm not forced into a single mold that somebody thought was perfect ... for them and the way they taught.  I can incorporate my beliefs, values, character, loves, joys, challenges, religion, and lifestyle into my homeschool - and so can anyone else.

May 20 ... Added this link.

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