C is for Charlotte Mason – The ABCs of Homeschooling {guest post – Dawn}

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I have been doing a lot of investigation of Charlotte Mason methods lately and am very intrigued by her beliefs about teaching. The first thing that caught my attention was her belief that young children should be outside investigating the world the Lord made. Nature studies are a wonderful way to incorporate learning with the world. The child finds something of interest, and you study it! Charlotte Mason methods are not child-directed, except for in the VERY EARLY years, before formal training begins.

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She doesn’t believe in “textbook learning” (except for math *grin*) nor does she believe in long lessons. Each subject lesson should be 15 – 20 minutes in length for the youngers and no more than 45 minutes for the olders. The reasoning behind this is to keep their attention knowing they are quick lessons. (With a VERY high spirited younger this caught my attention quickly!)

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Habit training and living books are two things she is best known for. Living books instead of dry boring text books. Living books are written by one author who is passionate about the subject. The book is something that captures your attention. Habit training starts young and with attention. Charlotte Mason did not believe in “twaddle.”  

Narration is how she believes children should learn. This means reading something short to them and having them explain it back. Youngers should do oral narration and olders should do written narration. Grammar and spelling are done through copywork.

She believed that math should be taught in a way that the students see how it will be important later in life. Math is a life skill. Being “well-rounded” is also important, as with other methods, making sure to study art and music as well as poetry and foreign language.

I am still researching Charlotte Mason methods but so far I am VERY IMPRESSED and I am planning both my 11th Grader and Kindergartener around her methods for the 2013 – 2014 school year. Some important Charlotte Mason resources:

Charlotte Mason’s Original Writings

Simply Charlotte Mason

Ambleside Online

Charlotte Mason Help

Queens Homeschooling

Barefoot Books

Charlotte Mason Companion

Charlotte Mason Made Easy

A Charlotte Mason Education

More Charlotte Mason Education

Here’s praying you have fun learning!

Do you use Charlotte Mason’s methods in your homeschool?
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Dawn is a woman of God who is married to the love of her life. She works part-time, homeschools their two boys (since 2008) and loves animals. She enjoys learning what the Lord will provide for each day. You can find her over at Guiding Light Homeschool.


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  1. says

    I’m a CM homeschooler! I am planning my first “formal” year with CM methods with my 6 year old, and my 4 year old is doing a very informal Pre-K year.

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