Please give a short explanation Charlotte Mason Homeschooling.
What first attracted me to the writings of the 19th century British educator Miss Charlotte Mason (1842-1922) was what she called “living books.” She confidently replaced the Victorian textbook-workbook-grind (its emphasis on tests and grades) with living books and narration. The standard textbooks used throughout my own schooldays were dull. They left no impression on me. I got by. In my homeschool I aimed to satisfy and safeguard my children’s natural, God-given curiosity. Living books, books alive with ideas, kept our homeschool interesting. It kept my children curious. Boredom and tedium close the mind. Curiosity keeps it open like a flower in sunshine.
Charlotte Mason believed that the best way to gain knowledge from all these lovely vivifying books was with narration. When a child narrates he tells back in his own words what was just read aloud to him. What he narrates, he knows and remembers. Narration takes the place of multiple-choice quizzes or worksheets. To narrate exercises the whole mind. In the late 1980s I hadn’t met anyone else who did school with narration. At first I wasn’t exactly sure what I was doing. But I am so glad I placed my trust in this method. I soon saw that its benefits were many.
There is much more I could say about how wondrous school can be when Charlotte Mason’s principles for learning are tried. But I’ve set these other ingredients aside for my column. I hope you will join me as we explore together what I call, “The Gentle Art of Learning.”
Charlotte Mason’s principles will work well for all teachers who see education as something to understand as well as something to do, for all teachers who see the child as person to understand as well as to teach.
In her day Miss Mason’s saw her method being worked out with thousands of children. It enlightened the dull child as well the bright. I’ve been in touch with mothers who have children with special needs and I’ve been told that “The Gentle Art of Learning,” is particularly advantageous. Even a blind child can do Nature Study by learning to identify a tree by the feel of its bark, a bird by its song, or an herb by its fragrance. He can write by narrating orally from the books read aloud to him, etc.
Batches For Big Families
The mother of a large family learns to cook in “batches.” The principle of batches can apply to some of Charlotte Mason’s lessons, too. Together children can observe the same art prints, take nature walks and record observations in their nature notebooks, become familiar with beautiful music of the great composers, memorize the words to a hymn; listen to poetry read aloud, or to a story on audio while folding a batch of clean laundry, for instance.
Reading Worth the Effort
All my children looked forward to their reading lessons. Here is the key. Giving a student review of juicy “sight words” among all his “sounding out” practice (and adding a few new sight words weekly) helps him progress more swiftly and in a more interesting manner. Reading is not all about “sounding out.” Reading is recognizing words as the symbols of interesting things, ideas, and actions. The more interesting the things, ideas, and actions - the more appealing reading will be for the child. I learned this from Miss Charlotte Mason’s book, Home Education.