Any homeschool parent who is new to Charlotte Mason’s methods could say,
“Surely it couldn’t be this easy and enjoyable?”
Well, after applying her methods and principles in our homeschooling for over 20 years, I can honestly say, it can be simple, easy and enjoyable!
A Charlotte Mason approach mostly depends on great authors and living books to do much of the teaching, taking the pressure off the parent to be the “fountain-head of all knowledge”. In fact, Ms Mason instructed the parent to not “get in the way” of a child’s learning. Her methods gently leads the student to become a self-learner and to love learning.
Based on short lessons with expectation of full attention and best effort on the part of the student, a CM education focuses on quality over quantity and eliminates all the busy work and boring worksheets and textbooks,
Charlotte explained, “We are able to get through a greater variety of subjects, and through more work in each subject, in a shorter time than is usually allowed, because children taught in this way get the habit of close attention and are carried on by steady interest” (School Education, p. 240).
Narrations eliminate any need for tests and exams. After listening attentively to the chapter, the child tells back what they remember and understood. This method is deceptively simple and profoundly effective. Read more here and find a collection of over 100 narration ideas here.
A Charlotte Mason education is rich and wide, offering learning in foreign languages, Nature Study and an emphasis on the Fine Arts. Ms Mason recommended daily time spent outdoors in nature. Her students kept nature journals and learnt about biology and botany from detailed their observations and reference books. In a short weekly Fine Arts lesson, her children were regularly exposed to famous musicians, classical music, famous artists and their masterpieces, as well as poetry and Shakespeare in a very simple and enjoyable way.
I discovered that reading living books was the key to keeping our homeschooling simple and enjoyable. Good literature, well-written stories, diverse subject matter, noble ideals, following a character’s struggles or discoveries, and exposure to complex vocabulary offered daily opportunity to learn and grow. It is really that simple and it works.
So don’t make it harder than it is by teaching your children the way you were taught in school. Try and trust and enjoy this delightful way of learning and living alongside your child—the Charlotte Mason way!
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