Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesdays in 2013: Charlotte Mason at Our House!

In 2013, I, Maureen, will be your Tuesday hostess.  I will be sharing with you how I use the Charlotte Mason philosophy and method in my home with my children, aged 9, 6, 3, and 5 months.  I hope that you will learn something new, find something to share, and maybe be inspired to see your children in new ways.

If you've always been curious about the Charlotte Mason method, but you've been too confused or overwhelmed to 'go there', I think you'll find some little jewels for meditation here!

Charlotte Mason was a British educator in the 19th century who developed a system of education for governesses and mothers to use with their children.  It was also used in day schools, or cottage schools, for the working poor.  Relying heavily on the experience of the natural world and fine literature, Charlotte Mason’s philosophy was a revolution of gentleness in a harsh and dry educational climate.  She favored mothers keeping their children at home and not pushing early academics. 

There are many fine books on Charlotte Mason available on Amazon or at your local library.  Please see the reading list at the end of this post.

Charlotte Mason learning is unique.  It is not school-at-home.  The mainstays of a Charlotte Mason education are living books, narration, and short lessons.  Beyond that, there is a lot of variation in how modern home educators adapt the Charlotte Mason philosophy for their own use. 

So, what is a living book?  To begin, a living book is a book written by an individual.  In other words, NOT a textbook.  In edu-speak, that means a living book is a ‘primary source.’  It’s the difference between reading about  The Iliad, versus reading The Iliad.  Workbooks might be available over various subjects, but not required.  I will be sharing with you my family’s favorite living books for various subjects, focusing on some hidden gems I’ve never seen on other homeschool reading lists.  And believe me, I read lots of book lists!

Narration is another important concept in Charlotte Mason education.  And while I consider narration very important, I have never found the method Charlotte Mason originally used to adapt well to my real, modern family.  Nor have I found other modern CM homeschoolers’ methods to work very well.  So I have developed my own form of narration that I call ‘natural narration’ which I will be sharing in a series of posts this spring.

An while short lessons might seem self-explanatory, it can be tricky to apply the concept of short lessons with different children and with different curricula or books.  So I’ll be sharing some creative ways to break up tasks and exercises, especially for boys.      

Other Charlotte Mason topics on which I’ll be extrapolating include ideas for living math, nature study for the lazy mother, art and picture study for the lazy mother, and a Renaissance education on a shoestring.  Please do leave a comment if there is a topic you’re burning to hear about.  I am NOT a Charlotte Mason expert!  But I love Charlotte Mason and I love to see mothers discover how incorporating some CM ideas into their homeschool can make the days- not to mention the subject matter!- more enjoyable, less tedious, and *frankly* easier all around!!!

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
-Charlotte Mason

I hope you’ll join me on Tuesdays in 2013 here at Growing Your Homeschool!  Here are some quick reads to give you more background on Charlotte Mason and the Charlotte Mason method:
For the Children's Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School  (By far the easiest to read, most inspiring CM book ever written.  In my humble opinion, obviously!)

Charlotte Mason's Original Homeschooling Series (May be a bit heavy reading, but this is the *original* CM 6 book series, by Charlotte herself!)

Charlotte Mason Study Guide  (Out of print, too bad, because this book is great, but definitely available through interlibrary loan.)

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