When I first decided to homeschool, I came to it from a Christian school teacher’s perspective. I thought about how fun it would be to plan lessons and write on a whiteboard and set up a little classroom in my home. I personally enjoy reading and research, so I started reading everything I could about homeschool and homeschool curriculum. It started with Jeannie Fulbright. I found her science books at the Apologia website and then discovered her website and journal. Her description of free time and journaling was very appealing to me. Over the next few years, I read more and more about the Charlotte Mason method. The more I read, the more I found I agreed. Her methods just seemed to make so much sense.
Charlotte Mason was a British educator who lived in the late 1800s and early 1900s. She believed that the purpose of education was for students to have a “full life.” Charlotte Mason said, “The question is not, — how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education — but how much does he care?” She believed that a feast of great ideas and wonderful, inspiring books should be spread before the student. Students need to develop good habits, exert mental effort, and focus their attention upon their lessons. Her methods included short lessons, narration, copywork, dictation, and nature study. They studied history chronologically and read literature that correlated with the historical period they were studying. Students did not memorize dry, boring facts, but scripture and poetry, which would give their minds great ideas to meditate upon. Students were given plenty of free time to explore their own interests.
I plan to implement most of Miss Mason’s methods in my homeschool. I also know that I have to be me. I am not Charlotte Mason and I do not live in her era. I have to be who God made me to be. I have the benefits and drawbacks of my time and culture. But the focus on character, God’s truth, and a love of learning that Charlotte Mason’s methods support is just what we need in our home. So I do have a schoolroom in my home, I will be planning lessons, and the kids will write- do some of their copywork- on whiteboards- but it will look different than what I had first imagined. And I am excited about it!
Descriptions of the Charlotte Mason method abound on the internet:
http://www.charlottemasonhelp.com/ This is my very favorite Charlotte Mason website. If you are at all interested in the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, I highly recommend this website. The author shows you with explanation and examples what a Charlotte Mason education really looks like.
Other websites that have excellent information and articles: