Thursday, January 12, 2012

Learning about the Charlotte Mason Style of Homeschooling

 This fall I got a book I had long seen in the CBD Catalog and thought looked interesting but had never purchased. I decided to get it this fall however and I am very thankful I did. I really enjoyed it. The book is "A Charlotte Mason Companion- Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola. (I just found Karen's blog and here is the link in case you also would like to check it out.)

  Much of the book I enjoyed because it reinforced the way I had been homeschooled and the way I am homeschooling my own children. It encourages things like reading what she calls "living books".  Living books are defined as ones that are written by a single author who shares personally his/her favorite subject with us. Generally a textbook would NOT be a living book. This is the sort of book we have long enjoyed and sought out for our home. Reading this book however made me renew my desire to make sure all the books we have are really good books. Some of the other ideas that I read about in this book that fit in already with the philosophy that I already had are:
  • Having God as the focus and center of the homeschool.
  • No Homework (meaning schoolwork is all finished in good time and not drug out into the evenings.)
  • Free afternoons for young children (I believe my kids basically fall into that category).
  • Few Lectures
  • Enjoying nature and seeking to learn more about it.
  • Appreciating ideas and culture
Some of the things that she talked about that made me get some new ideas were:
Using narration. Narration in the Charlotte Mason method is used after a child has read (or been read too and somehow heard about) something and then they tell you (or write down) what they remember and understand. We have done some of this spontaneously, Our kids often want to tell us about what they have learned just for the fun of it, then we also often will discuss what we learn at the supper table- either Ken will ask or I will encourage them to tell. However after reading this book I have started to try to gradually work more narration into our days. I have started with the book that I have been reading to the kids about the constitution as I wanted to make sure that they were learning from the book as it is a little deep.

Other ideas that I gleaned from this book are:

  • Doing more in the area of nature study.
  • Learning about and appreciating art.
  • Reading, learning about and writing poetry.
On the poetry line I found a series of books called "Poetry for Young People" at the library. We checked out the book on Emily Dickinson (because I knew I liked some of her poetry even though I am not always found of poetry) and we have been enjoying it. It had a very neat introduction to Emily Dickinson herself and then quite a number of poems that have been fun to read. I am looking forward to checking out other books in the series. We have added in the reading of poems to our afternoon reading time.

That has been a little of what has been going on in our homeschool lately. I feel very blessed to have gotten this book and am looking forward to sharing it with other young moms that I find sometimes getting stressed out about this job of homeschooling. This book is a great one to help people realize that homeschooling doesn't need to be anything like public school. It can be so much better and so very much more fun!


Becky R said...

I love nature studies, but we have done none yet this year. Yikes! I need to get outside more. It is hard as I also watch my 19 month old nephew 6 days a week (about 60 hours), so we have to work around his nap schedules. But still I love being outside, need to add that in. Plus we have gotten away from daily reading, which we did last year.

Julie said...

We used this book for our nature studies. My kids are all grown except our 15 year old son, but we still refer to this book quite often. The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock.

Melissa said...

I've read that book too - it is a good book - very, very encouraging.


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