If you’re looking for a homeschool style that doesn’t involve worksheets, boring textbooks or dumbed-down twaddle, Charlotte Mason is worth a look.
Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Methods
Her approach is based on a Christian worldview, which enriches relationships with God, self, others, ideas and work. It’s a gentle tug on Christ-like maturity.
Charlotte Mason homeschooling methods emphasize short lessons, quality over quantity, and daily repetition. These principles are time-tested and effective, especially for kids who have trouble focusing on longer lessons.
The key to implementing this approach is to create a written schedule for your homeschool that fits into your busy life. Couple this with a simple kitchen timer and you may be surprised at how well your children can keep up!
Another teaching strategy commonly used in Charlotte Mason homeschooling is narration. This involves reading a passage from a living book to a student, who then needs to narrate back in their own words what they’ve just heard.
Copywork and dictation exercises also play a significant role in language arts programs that follow a Charlotte Mason style. These types of activities can help a child learn how to spell and properly punctuate while at the same time practicing their writing skills.
Living Books – Charlotte Mason Homeschool
The Charlotte Mason method of education teaches that children learn best through stories. This means that students should not be assigned texts that merely teach them facts or information. Instead, they should be able to delve into the world of a subject through stories that are both interesting and inspiring.
That’s why many Charlotte Mason homeschool curriculum companies include living books in their curricula. These are books that are written in an engaging and alive manner, often by the author who is passionate about the topic.
However, it’s not always easy to determine which books are truly “living.” Some parents have found it helpful to hunt down a local living library. These libraries are often operated by Charlotte Mason homeschoolers who have collected lots of wonderful living books and want to share them with other families.
Narration is a practice that Charlotte Mason introduced as an educational tool. She believed that it could be a much better way to teach children than by memorizing lists of facts and vocabulary words.
The practice of narration has become a favorite among many homeschoolers. It is a natural activity that enhances children’s relationship with their knowledge and allows them to grow into skilled communicators.
To begin with, ask your child to narrate what they read or learned during their reading session. They can retell a passage, an episode, or a chapter.
Once your student has mastered oral narration, they can begin adding written narrations to their daily routine. They should start with one written narration a week on a half sheet of paper and gradually increase that to two.
The art of narration is not a hard skill to develop, but it does take time. Be patient and consistent in building up this skill.
Free afternoons are a key component of the Charlotte Mason method. These hours are free of bookish lessons and provide a time for children to pursue their personal interests.
While some afternoon occupations will be parent-directed (such as chores or arranging for organized events) much of it will be at the child’s initiative. This allows them to cultivate their creative abilities and to build independence.
For this reason, it’s important to find ways to make these days productive and meaningful. For example, if your children have special needs you might schedule doctor appointments or errands during these times.
Another way to use those hours is to encourage children to pursue their interests in nature. This can include exploring different plants, collecting rocks or studying outdoor survival skills.