Twelve years ago, I came across the method of Charlotte Mason, an English educator from the 1800's. When I began looking into what she taught and why, I was beyond interested. I was hooked! At that time, my oldest child was just starting 2nd grade and my second child was starting Kindergarten. I purchased Karen Anderola's book, A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflection on the Gentle Art of Learning. This book has been a great source of direction for me, as it has given me the simplicity of the Charlotte Mason method, without having to read the long and rather difficult to understand, series that Charlotte herself wrote.
I must admit that I haven't implemented everything that she found to be important and necessary in an education. Howbeit, I didn't see the need to implement foreign language at a young age, I could see the benefits of so many of her other methods and I have embraced them and made them the core of our family's home education.
These are the methods that I have used over these years and believe to have been the keys to developing my children into self-learners:
- Living books: these are books that are not twaddled down to a child's level, but thought-provoking in their content, full of adventure and biographies of men and women who have left their mark in history.
- Narrations: starting with orally telling-back what was read to them, what they read themselves, to a written narration that increases in length as the child grows in their studies.
- Observation and nature times: I absolutely loved how this one area was the way that my struggling reader grew in confidence and developed his interest that always ended with reading in field guides to learn what he just found in nature.
- Copywork: using great literature, verses, poetry and other wonderful selections introduced my children to great thoughts of others, while learning to improve their own handwriting, grammar and spelling.
- Dictation: a perfect tool for building confidence in spelling, grammar and proper techniques in writing.
- Journaling: this has been such a gift to me and something I couldn't imagine not having in our homeschooling experience. Not only has it developed artistic ability in all of my children, it has allowed a way to take observations to a record keeping. Journaling has become so much of our family's education that it is required for all science in high school.
This isn't a curriculum but rather a way to bring your curriculum to a deeper and more rewarding way of learning. If you have any questions, I would be so thrilled to answer them for you! Stay tune to more about how we use the Charlotte Mason method in our home education!