Monday, April 9, 2012

Homeschooling Methods: Charlotte Mason

The Charlotte Mason method attracts many homeschoolers because of its gentle approach. Charlotte Mason lived at the turned of the century in England and taught teachers to use her method. This method has become a popular method for home schools. It focues on such things a forming good habits, nature study, short lessons, narration and inspiring literature.

Charlotte Mason teaches that "habit, in the hands of the mother, is as his wheel to the potter, his knife to the carver - the instrument by means of which she turns out the design she has already conceived in her brain. She instructs in a gentle approach to training a child. For instances there is one example in her books where the mother says to her son that she will be helping him remember to close the door when he goes out. Of course it doesn't take long before she has the opportunity to do this. He leaves the door open and she gently - without nagging - calls him back and reminds him to close the door. When this approach is used consistently it can be a positive approach to helping children learn habits that will serve them well for a lifetime.

In nature study Charlotte Mason encourages the keeping of a notebook where you record nature. This can be done by drawing, painting and writing. Nature walks and observance of the world around us are encouraged.

Narration helps to form the habit of listening. When a child is young you may read a story to them and then ask them to tell you about what you just read to them. If you have several children they can all participate in narrating vocally, perhaps beginning with the youngest who is still learning. Older children should also be expected to do written narrations of what they've listened, read or observed.

Inspiring literature, as stated in my last post, should be part of any homeschooling method. Charlotte Mason calls them living books. She stresses that children should never read twaddle.

To describe her approach to education Charlotte Mason said, "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."

This method is lacking in drill and may work less effectively for teens. It can lead into the Classical method easily.

There are many resources for this popluar homeschooling method. Listed below are some of them:

  • A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levinson
  • More Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levinson
  • A Literary Education by Catherine Levinson
  • Charlotte Mason Study Guide by Penny Gardner
  • Wild Days: Creating Discovery Journals by Karen Skidmore Rackliffe
  • A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola
  • Charlotte Mason't Original Homeschooling Series by Charlotte M. Mason

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