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If you’ve been homeschooling for any length of time, you’ve heard of Charlotte Mason. Maybe you knew she had a huge following, but you’re not sure why. How can an educator over 100 years ago still have an impact on education today?
You don’t see what the big deal is. When I first began homeschooling, I felt the same way and did not research her methods. I was intimidated by the 6 volumes of her teaching philosophy!!!!
Yet, 4 years ago, due to the frustration with the high cost of curriculum, I stumbled across a website called Ambleside Online . It got me curious why Charlotte Mason’s philosophy was so popular and decided to read more.
Thankfully, over time, the wealth of information online deciphering Charlotte Mason’s principles convinced me to take the plunge in 2014. I haven’t looked back since.
For those who are new to homeschooling or are curious about it, Charlotte Mason was a British Educator in the early 1900’s. Charlotte believed that a child is a person and we must educate that whole person, not just his mind. The Charlotte Mason education is three-fold and in her words, “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.”
In a nutshell, here are my 7 reasons why I LOVE Charlotte Mason’s method of teaching and why you should too! And, because I love my readers and want you to love Charlotte Mason too, I've partnered with several other bloggers to bundle a Charlotte Mason giveaway! This giveaway is valued at almost $90 so don't miss out on it.
Ms. Mason stated ‘Sow a habit, reap a character’. Such true words were spoken. If you establish a habit with a child at a young age--when they are old, they won’t depart from it. Need I say more?!
Charlotte Mason was adamant about establishing many various habits. For example, she touched on remembering, attention, thinking, imagining, truthfulness. But, obedience was the key. If a child didn’t learn obedience, he/she would not learn the other good habits. It's hard to reverse bad habits once they are established. So, starting early is essential.
Narration is simply reading an assignment and asking your child to respond in his/her own words what he/she recalls of the story from beginning to end. This can be done orally when they are young or written when they are older.
The great benefit to this is two-fold. Your child will make mental notes while reading to recall later. This allows him/her to absorb the information. Plus, it's a wonderful skill builder for teaching others in the future as well.
Charlotte had me at short. Research suggests adults can only retain new information for about 15-20 minutes. How can we expect our young children to retain information longer?
For 8 and under, Miss Mason consistently gave 20 to 10-minute lessons. She believed that if the lessons are too long, children get into the bad habit of mind-wandering. Keep it short when they are young.
In upper elementary grades, students can have longer lessons. For example, subjects such as math, geography and Latin can be 30 minutes long. Other subjects, such as memory work and writing stay around 10 minutes per day.
For middle school students, lessons can be longer---up to 45 minutes for more difficult subjects like foreign languages. Lessons may run from 10 to 30 minutes, but Miss Mason’s schedule revealed there is a place for longer lessons.
When students are in high school, 30 to 45-minute sessions are typical.
Dictation sounds so tedious but its actually quite easy to implement into your homeschool day. Dictation is simply asking your child to read a passage or poem over and over again. When they are ready, Mom reads the passage one sentence at a time. They should be able to write it on paper with proper syntax and spelling. Incorrect spelling and grammar must be fixed immediately, avoiding bad habits.
You can get a copy of Charlotte Mason's dictation 'Day by Day' on Google Books by clicking this link here
. You'll search by adding the year after 'Day by Day' ie Day by Day Year 5.
In Charlotte’s schools, a composer or artist was studied in each term. This included music and art, plus reading living books about the artist. We LOVE classical music and use online tools to study a composer, artist, and music each month. I send an email to my child's account with a link to the month's respective artist, composer and/or folk/hymn song.
We recently discovered Learn Music in our Homeschool
. It's a great resource to check out with wonderful music, great printables for composers and awesome music to listen to. Check it out by clicking on the image below. Please note that this is an affiliate link, thank you!
Also, in honor of Presidents Day, Gena from learn.musicinyourhomeschool.com
is offering a FREE President's Day music lesson with beautiful melodies of contemporary music you'll enjoy. It will lift your spirits quickly! Click on the image below to gain access.
In addition, here's a great resource for artist studies! We've used this website's printables for several years and are thankful Erica from Enrichment Studies provides beautifully organized artist and composer studies. Check out this link here or image below to find out more. You can get a FREE artist packet each month just by joining her subscriber list.
You may wonder, what are living books? I asked this myself years ago as well. Living Books have rich language, their engaging stories, and bring the characters alive! Basically, it's the opposite of textbooks!
In today’s society, we have a lot of what Charlotte referred to as 'twaddle'. Twaddle is 'dumbed down' literature with no meaning. I remember a phonics set I bought my daughter that had her favorite character, Dora. They were just plain twaddle. The author threw in a few phonetic words as he/she struggled to pull together a story with little meaning.
With technology, it's easy to stay indoors and become inactive. However, the Charlotte Mason education discourages complacency with encouraging outdoor walks with your children EVERY SINGLE DAY! And, Mason lived in rainy England. It may seem a burden at first, but a study of natural science is wonderful and peaceful. You can get fresh air while discussing God's beautiful world. She recommends getting a journal and encourages children to draw creatures and plants they encounter during their nature walk.
Our rule is to get outside for at least 15 minutes. If we travel away from the yard, we'll take a backpack with water, journal, pen and a snack and walk through the woods behind our house or a park nearby. Homeschool moms need nature too --- we can get away from dishes, laundry, and a multitude of sounds from electronics.
The Charlotte Mason giveaway bundle below has great resources for ideas on Nature Study so check it out below and enter to win!
And, let's not forget you can save money using this method. Thanks to Ambleside Online, you can get an ENTIRE Charlotte Mason based curriculum at your disposal for FREE! Look for their rich literature book list mostly free on Amazon using a Kindle app. If you prefer paperbacks, you can buy them used on Amazon or ebay. If you’re organized enough, order books online at the library. You'll find the majority of classical books available. Don’t forget to set up reminders for yourself to avoid late fees!
We have been using Ambleside Online for over 3 years and it has been life-changing for us. My daughter was struggling to read the first year we started. But, by the end of the year, her reading comprehension and fluency soared! My son’s vocabulary has exponentially grown thanks to Charlotte Mason’s philosophy.
If you haven’t researched Charlotte Mason’s methods yet are looking for alternatives, I advise looking into Ambleside Online . The website has a ton of advice and resources on how to get started. There is a learning curve, but thanks to the internet, a little research will get you on your way quickly.
New to homeschooling? Consider this method as an option. It's not too late for older children! Ambleside Online has written lesson plans geared towards beginning older students.
I'm excited to announce a delightful Charlotte Mason giveaway for those who are new OR LOVE her philosophy and would enjoy some extra help in homeschooling the Charlotte Mason way.
Here's what you'll get if you win the giveaway...
Rain or Shine Charlotte Mason-Inspired Course $29 Value
If I haven't convinced you to get outdoors, Meghann from Practically Hippie certainly will in her Rain or Shine 6-week course. This course is valued at $29 so you can enroll now or....win a free spot in her course by entering the giveaway.
In this 6-week course, you'll learn practical steps on how to spend more time outdoors with your babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
The course will cover:
- The benefits of time spent outdoors
- How to create a family culture that values an outdoor life
- How to find time to play outside and still keep up with the responsibilities of life
- How to find outdoor locations that inspire creativity and curiosity
- Common barriers to outdoor play and how to overcome them
- Age-appropriate ideas and activities for young children to create learning opportunities
- How to create outdoor adventures for your children
Each week, you'll get a 30-minute video lesson, a PDF download, and a homework assignment to get your family out in nature. You'll also gain access to a private Facebook group where you report back on homework assignments, and encourage each other during the course.
Go HERE to find out more or click the image above.
Summer Nature Study and More $7.50 Value
Once you take Meghann's course, now you are ready to get serious and get into a nature study! This nature study e-book from Katie's cottage, valued at $7.50, uses nature to introduce more formal scientific study topics and areas. So to use an old saying, “You can have your cake (Charlotte Mason style nature study) and eat it too (study more traditional science topics). You can incorporate science into your homeschool using this wonderful resource! Thank you, Katie, for donating this great treasure.
Charlotte Mason Elementary Homeschool Bundle $24.97 Value
Lara from LaraMolettiere.com has graciously offered one lucky winner a digital copy of her Charlotte Mason Elementary Bundle! Valued at $24.97, this would be a wonderful addition to your planning. We use a Book of Centuries as well and have had it for many years! Also included is a nature journal, just print it out and take it with you on your nature walk.
Here's more information below.
With this bundle, you get the Complete Charlotte Mason Homeschool Planner, My Book of Centuries, and My Nature Journal at a fantastic price!
Charlotte Mason Complete Homeschool Planner: A beautifully illustrated printable PDF planner filled with many pages and options to help your homeschool thrive and be well organized.
My Book of Centuries: My Book of Centuries timeline notebook for preschool through 3rd grade is a perfect addition for your Charlotte Mason homeschool.
My Nature Journal: A lined nature journal for your youngest explorers. Grades PreK 4 – 3rd grade.
If you want to sign up now for the course, register here
and gain access to an introductory lesson on Feb. 19 to get you ready for the course launch on March 1! Space is limited as this will be a special small group course that relies heavily on group interaction.
Charlotte Mason Homeschool Student Portfolio $8.00 Value
Do you need to declutter a multitude of disheveled papers and get your child's portfolio organized? If so, you will love this Homeschool Student Portfolio from Talking Mom 2 Mom
. It's styled perfectly to organize your child’s homeschool journey designed for a binder. You can use this to meet your state's requirements or just for memories to organize neatly all in one place.
Richele and Lindsey are well-known authors and designers in the homeschool community. I've used Richele's Princess Training for God's Glory
many years when my daughter was younger and I highly recommend it!
Charlotte Mason Homeschooling in 18 Easy Lessons $12.00 Value
Cindy from OurJourneyWestward.com has generously donated a copy of her digital e-book with 18-week lessons that are practical, easy-to-understand, and easy-to-implement. Valued at $12, you'll get all of the basics for adding Charlotte Mason’s methods to your homeschool.
Each week, she walks you through one new Charlotte Mason method and teaches you how to easily incorporate it into your homeschool, regardless of ages! Click on the image below to find out more! Thank you, Cindy!
Charlotte Mason Habit Training Calendar 2018-2019 $4.95 Value
Sarah from HolisticHomeschooler.com just created a 'hot off the press' 20-page Charlotte Mason Training Calendar starting at February 2018 to February 2019. Charlotte Mason inspires us to focus on one habit at a time and prioritize with obedience as #1. This is key to a successful homeschool day!
Valued at $4.95, this calendar serves as a daily visual reminder to focus on a high priority habit for 6-8 weeks at a time for an entire year! Check out Sarah at Holistic Homeschooler here.
For the next I Love Homeschooling Series, we will discuss my favorite audio resources. Make sure you sign up for my newsletters below. I don’t want you to miss out! Until next time my friends….
IT'S TIME TO ENTER TO WIN THE CHARLOTTE MASON GIVEAWAY!!!
By entering in this giveaway, your email address will be added to all sponsors' subscriber lists. Thank you!