Have you been hearing a few things about Charlotte Mason and have been wanting to find out more (maybe even how you might try to homeschool Charlotte Mason-style in your own homeschool)? Well, a few episodes back, I shared with you my interview with Amber O’Neal Johnston who chose the Charlotte Mason homeschooling approach in her home and is reaping great results in her family. In this episode, I’m going to get into details about who Charlotte Mason is and what the major tenants of her philosophy were.
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So, who was Charlotte Mason?
Charlotte Mason was an English educator who was born in 1842 and died in 1923 and who launched several schools and a college based on her philosophy of education for school and home. She also wrote a six-volume work about her philosophy. She believed in providing high quality, rich curriculum for children and helping to cultivate in the whole child their natural love for learning.
What were some of Charlotte Mason’s techniques?
Charlotte Mason believed children needed ample time in nature in order to learn about the world around them. Spending quality time outdoors and receiving fresh air was important and more natural than staying indoors. Getting fresh air daily was high on her list of priorities for children. She also felt it important for them to learn to interact with the elements of nature: animals, plants, and natural outdoor environments.
Reading a portion of “living books” which are well-written and give a complete idea of the subject matter as primary sources was also an important aspect of her methodology. Students then repeat to you what you’ve read to them, showcasing their newly-learned knowledge of the subject matter.
Ms. Mason believed that teachers should let the child observe a photograph or painting for few minutes, turn it over, and allow them to tell you everything they observed about the picture.
Scheduled free time
Also a very important part of the Charlotte Mason (CM) method, scheduled free time is a child’s down time to unwind and enjoy the resources in their environments available to them. Often as parents, we forget how important it is to allow our kids free time as an essential and reasonable part of their day.
Their free time is not time wasted. It is a scheduled free time that we can as parents proactively ensure that our kids are receiving. This is one of the beauties and gems we discover when we see how we truly can homechool Charlotte Mason style should we choose.
5 basic tenants to homeschool Charlotte Mason style
Remember that a child is a full person.
Children are full people when they are born, are made in the image of God, and should be respected. Although sinful, they are in need of guidance, but should ultimately be respected as they are made in the image of God. When they come into the world, they come with an innate desire to engage in the world around them. Children are not just cogs in a system, they are intelligent beings who wish to pursue ideas.
Education is the science of relations.
Children always want to be connected to their world, so it is our job as educators to foster the ability of our children to connect to the world in the way that’s best for them. Encourage them to ask lots of questions and show them how the different topics are related to one another.
Children deserve a rich curriculum.
Children can always tell quality from poor learning materials. they will best interact with materials that are rich, full, beautiful, and developmentally appropriate. Well-written living books will give your children the most in-depth information they are looking for. Make sure the material is developmentally appropriate- somewhere in the middle- and not too easy.
Learning should be teacher-guided and self-directed (if you plan to homeschool Charlotte Mason style!)
Teachers should plan the curriculum and the materials, set it out for them like a smorgasbord of content to devour, and see what they catch. Charlotte Mason says “The function of a teacher is to design learning experiences, not principally to convey information.” Give students very little lecture and don’t get in the way as they explore materials. If they have questions then answer them, but it’s best not to be overboard in jumping in front of them to teach. Let them explore.
Education Is an atmosphere.
Children learn from their atmosphere (wherever the classroom may be). They are learning from their environments, including the general sense of their home life (respect or disrespect, laziness, temperaments of mom and dad, comfort levels at home).
As women, we have a responsibility to make our home life the peaceful reservoir we want it to be a space of oasis for our families and anxiety free. We should pray for shalom in our homes so that they are a place of peace and restfulness for our families. One of the ways to serve our families in this way is to offer ourselves as women to become the prayer warriors of our homes and to provide that anchor for our families to hang onto.
Remember, mamas, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength, no matter what homeschool method or approach you use. Just continue to be the mama God has called you to be.
Resources mentioned on the podcast – ways to homeschool Charlotte Mason Style
My YouTube video: Pros and Cons of Charlotte Mason Method
Karen Andreola’s A Charlotte Mason Companion
A Summary of the Pedagogy of Charlotte Mason – https://www.trinityschoolnc.org/uploaded/Articles/A_Summary_of_the_Pedagogy_of_Charlotte_Mason.pdf
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Until next time, Happy Homeschooling!