What is the Charlotte Mason Method?
What is the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling? And who is Charlotte Mason? Charlotte Mason was an educator who believed in educating the whole person. For example, she thought that alongside your studies, you should also be learning to form good habits. And learning from your everyday life experiences.
She believed children should be outdoors… soaking in the world around them. Really paying attention to what is happening in nature while outdoors.
That children should be molded while they are young. Forming good habits, and reading good “twaddle free” literature. Being exposed to works from famous artists and composers, and memorizing scriptures/ good poetry.
(This will be a series of posts about the Charlotte Mason Method and how to apply them in your homeschool.)
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I love the Charlotte Mason Method
I love her ideas of education. When I went to public school as a child, I hated being there 90% of the time. School was so dreadful to me. But, when I think of the Charlotte Mason method, and her views on education, it sounds so wonderful!
Science was my least favorite subject. I would’ve LOVED it, had it been in the style of Charlotte Mason. Learning from nature and getting to observe God’s amazing creations. Instead of keeping my head in a textbook. (Seeing as she believed that the word of God was very important in educating a child, science is taught from a creationist viewpoint.)
What does a Charlotte Mason education consist of?
Formation of good habits:
Manners, self control, service, all other fruits of the spirit ( love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control), and etc.
Every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend.Charlotte Mason
We are unconsciously forming habits every day of our lives. Getting up at 6am, brushing your teeth, washing your face, doing the dishes…. these are all habits.
(I have put together a reproducible list of habits in The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Charlotte Mason)
Good quality material, no nonsense (twaddle-free), can be fiction or non-fiction. There are so many books to choose from, but making sure that your child is reading quality books is very important. Find authors who love the topic they are writing about. (It will show through their writing!)
Check out our list of Living Books for Science.
To introduce children to literature is to install them in a very rich and glorious kingdom, to bring a continual holiday to their doors, to lay before them a feast exquisitely served. But they must learn to know literature by being familiar with it from the very first. A child’s intercourse must always be with good books, the best that we can find.Charlotte Mason
Telling back the story. Types of Narration consist of written narration and oral narration.
(Read this post for a further explanation of narration, and how to use narration in your homeschool.)
Copying a passage, usually for the purpose of handwriting practice. The children should use quality passages for this as well. Copying work from famous poets, scriptures, and famous quotes is a good place to start.
Poetry, artist studies, composers…. Charlotte Mason believed that a child should be exposed to these great artists, authors, and composers on a daily basis. Educating the entire person and improving culture, instead of just exposing a child to the basic subjects of schooling.
Close observations in nature. Being in nature was a huge part of education in the eyes of Charlotte Mason. A child can learn so much from being outdoors.
Exactly as it sounds… informal strolls in nature. Taking walks with your children… not trying to teach them lessons as you walk. Just letting the child soak in the nature around him. They will notice a lot more than you think!
Spending a great deal of time outside. (a recommended 6 hours or more!) Charlotte Mason emphasized the need for fresh air for healthy minds and bodies.
Never be within doors when you can rightly be without. -Charlotte Mason
Short, to the point lessons (for young children 15-20 min lessons… a little more for math) Young children tend to lose focus when lessons are any longer than that.
Usually manipulative based, such as Math-U-See, Ray’s Arithmetic, or Living Math.
Charlotte Mason recommended learning French as a second language. (However, any language will do.)
Memorizing scriptures and good/quality works of poetry. Memorization helps sharpen your mind!
Used in learning to spell, and helps with grammar as well! Dictation is when a child copies word for word what is being read to them.
Knowledge of God is most important.
Of the three sorts of knowledge proper to a child, the knowledge of God, of man, and of the universe,–the knowledge of God ranks first in importance, is indispensable, and most happy-making.Charlotte Mason
Those are just some of the things…
Those are just some of the things in a Charlotte Mason Education. You will see these terms quite often while reading about the Charlotte Mason method. There is so much to learn from her!
I really recommend reading her volumes (you can read them here) or at least skim them. If they are hard to understand, there are plenty of other books written about the Charlotte Mason method. (not all are written by Charlotte Mason) They are summaries of her philosophy…or her works written in modern English. .
Other Good reads on the Charlotte Mason Method:
A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning(TM) (This book is wonderful! I highly recommend reading it!)
Feel free to ask!
If you have any questions about Charlotte Mason’s methods, I will do my best to answer them. I am in no way an expert of the Charlotte Mason method, but I do practice her methods in my homeschool.
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You will find more Charlotte Mason posts and resources on our Charlotte Mason Homeschooling page.