At first glance, the Classical and Charlotte Mason styles may seem very similar, but when you dig a little deeper you will find there are some significant differences.
A Look Into Charlotte Mason
Welcome back for Day 2 of my homeschooling style series! Let’s talk Charlotte Mason style.
By the way, if you missed Day 1, you can go back and check out All About Classical Homeschool.
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Charlotte Mason In Action
Let’s kick off the Charlotte Mason discussion by hearing from two moms that have first-hand experience with the Charlotte Mason approach.
In this video, Rebecca Farris interviews Karen Campbell, homeschool veteran mom, and author of The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling. In this interview, they both share their Charlotte Mason homeschool experiences and provide an overview of the Charlotte Mason’s philosophy.
Grab a cup of coffee and sit down with these moms for the next 20 minutes to get a feel for the Charlotte Mason homeschool style.
Charlotte Mason Overview
Charlotte Mason is all about teaching good habits, forming a Christian character, reading “living” books, taking nature walks, notebooking, learning the arts, and spending time just playing. With your instruction, these activities are geared to create a well-rounded child that loves learning and is able to recognize his or her strengths and passions.
The Charlotte Mason curriculum consists of exposing your children to lots of hands-on learning (museums, parks, nature hikes), reading (aloud and to themselves), arts education (music, painting, drawings, etc.), and allowing them free play and incorporating daily chores into their education.
So What Would Be The Advantages of a Charlotte Mason Curriculum?
- Emphasis on short lessons in elementary and middle grades
- Living Books are much more interesting than typical textbooks
- Inexpensive to step outside and learn in nature
- Easily adaptable to mix with other homeschool styles
- Excellent resources to walk you through setting up a CM curriculum
So What Would Be The Disadvantages of a CM Curriculum?
- Formed on Christian beliefs, so without significant modification, this may exclude secular families.
- Can be expensive if you plan to purchase your living books and everything associated with some of the step-by-step curriculums.
- Using living books to teach math or other subjects that are based on rules/concepts may seem overwhelming for some. Reading living books are not the straightforward “teach rule and practice problem” method.
“The knowledge of God, as found in the Bible, is the primary knowledge and the most important. History is taught chronologically, using well-written history books, source documents and biographies. Literature is taught along with history, using books from or about the same time period. Language arts skills are learned through narration, which consists of the child telling back a story, first orally and later in written form; copywork, or the transcribing of a well-written piece of literature; and dictation of passages from their books. Memorization was used by Charlotte Mason not so much to assimilate facts, but to give children material to meditate or “chew” on, so her students memorized scripture and poetry.” – Leslie Noelani Laurio, Intro to CM
More Great Resources
For more great info and specific details of a Charlotte Mason curriculum, check out this article by Leslie Noelani Laurio. Leslie does an exceptional job of walking you through what to expect in a CM education. She also provides more details on Charlotte Mason, the educator.
Two veteran Charlotte Mason homeschool moms collaborate to create a go-to resource for other parents interested in creating a CM homeschool. Expect to find pretty much anything you will need to set up your own CM education at home, including a free curriculum guide.
“AmblesideOnline is a free homeschool curriculum that uses Charlotte Mason’s classically-based principles to prepare children for a life of rich relationships with everything around them: God, humanity, and the natural world. AO’s detailed schedules, time-tested methods, and extensive teacher resources allow parents to focus effectively on the unique needs of each child.”
“In A Charlotte Mason Education, Catherine Levison has collected the key points of Charlotte Mason’s methods and presents them in a simple, straightforward way that will allow families to quickly maximize the opportunities of homeschooling. With weekly schedules, a challenging and diverse curriculum will be inspired and educate your child.”
A follow-up publication of this manual:
This is a follow up to the 2000 publication that provides suggestions on schedules, materials, and ways to apply the CM method to high schoolers.
What are your thoughts?
Personally, I love the thought of learning through living books, instilling good habits, and learning in nature. But for me, teaching math and the basics of writing and speaking through living books makes me uncomfortable.
What about you? What are your thoughts on the Charlotte Mason style? How do you think this will work for your family?
Are you already practicing the CM style in your homeschool? If so, please share any pros or cons that I missed so we can share with newcomers. 😀
I would love to hear from y’all in the comments below!
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