Monday, March 30, 2009

Charlotte Mason - The Basics

The more I get into Charlotte Mason principled education, the more I like it.

I started out with Classical Education, but I think it was just toooooo....structured and "too much" for me. Plus, it totally wouldn't have worked for my second daughter. But, my hats off to those that teach classically!

I'm also intrigued by the Robinson method - because it is also literature rich - and I love the concept of my kids teaching themselves! But, I think, all by itself the Robinson curriculum would be too narrow, since it doesn't incorporate other languages, art, nature study, handicrafts, physical education, or life skills into it's curriculum. To my understanding these are things the students can pursue on their own if they want, but they aren't to be a part of lessons. I'd love to understand more about how students teach themselves...but overall I would identify myself as an imperfect and newbie Charlotte Mason educator.

Charlotte Mason style learning incorporates a lot of reading - but not just any reading - real, living, not dumbed-down books. We are not to bring down the world to the level of the child, but we are to bring the child to the richness of the world. In the early grades there is an emphasis on reading aloud and verbally narrating (summarizing) what was just read. Topics, ideally (I have a hard time with this) should be short (15-20 minutes long) and varied. By varied I mean you switch to very different types of studies to keep interest in schoolwork up. So...

  • 15-20 minutes reading and narration
  • 15-20 minutes copywork
  • 15-20 minutes art or art study
  • 15-20 minutes math
  • 15-20 minutes or longer nature study
  • 15-20 minutes more reading
  • 15-20 minutes science
  • 15-20 minutes free writing or verbal grammar.

This is just a general idea. It's flexible, but the principles are powerful. A great (and FREE) website to check out in Ambelside Online - you can get lots if not most of the materials for free online (classic books).

My Study Of Charlotte Mason This Week

I am planning to take one chapter of the Charlotte Mason Original Homeschooling Series and do a narration (book report) of my own each week. This will motivate me to work through the books. If you want to leave a link where you are incorporating something about what I am reviewing on any given week, feel free to do so with Mr. Linky - or just leave a comment. I may not have anyone take me up on it, but I want to give you the opportunity if you want.

Here is this week's summary:

Charlotte Mason Original Homeschooling Series - Volume 1

Home Education - Training and educating children under nine


There is a natural law of education much like the law of gravity. It permeates the child's ENTIRE life - leaving no part untouched.

Goals of education:

  • Science as a staple
  • The teaching of Latin
  • The teaching of modern languages
  • The teaching of math
  • Mastery of handicrafts
  • Writing skills, which are dependent on:
    • Knowledge of History
    • Knowledge of Literature
  • Mastery of life skills
  • Technical training

Yet, we need to go beyond these goals to follow the Law of Education.

Priciples Of The Law Of Education

  • Authority and obedience are natural and essential to education
  • But, children need to be respected as individuals with their own unique personalities (tailor the education to the child)
  • There are 3 main educational priciples:
    1. Children need a proper atmosphere to learn (do not bring the atmosphere down to the level of the child)
    2. Children need good habits to learn
    3. Children need living ideas to learn (not dry, lifeless ideas)
  • The child should be prompted to seek after knowledge on their own, and shouldn't be spoon fed ideas
  • Provide a full and generous curriculum but take care to help your child connect the dots - understand the whys and whens and hows. (For History I think homemade timelines do this.)
  • Children should be taught the difference between "I want" and "I will". We can desire something but not have the will to learn it. In order to learn something better it is helpful to turn to learning something different and/or interesting. Then, later turning back to the original thing we werew trying to learn or do.
  • Teach children logic & teach them to carefully and discerningly think through ideas
  • Our spiritual life is not supposed to be seperate from any of our studies, but we should seek the Divine in all that we do.

No comments: