Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Thank You Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason, you have changed my life. No really, you have.


I have been poring over my Charlotte Mason Education books these past few months and I must say things have changed around here. From Kindergarten on I have been using the Classical Method of education and my mind says this is the best way to go. It is labor intensive for the teacher (me) and the student (her). X amount of time each week on all the core subjects. Studying in chronological order. Lots of memorization. Lots of grammar at an early age. Diagramming sentences in third grade! Very orderly, very in depth, very, very good. Or maybe not.

I love the idea of Classical education but the mechanics of it? Not so much. It takes a lot of time and a lot of work. I am not afraid of this work, nor the time but it has not been so effective this past year. Burn out is the word I would choose to describe it. We were well behind in Ancient History by the end of first grade. We skipped the Medieval period in second grade while trying to catch up and all but gave up on the Renaissance in third grade because it was too fast and too furious. And that was just history.


Enter, Charlotte Mason.

*Avoiding twaddle
*Use living books
*Narration as a means of evaluation
*Short lessons
*Nature walks/notebooks
*Art appreciation and picture study
*Copy work
*Free time Handicrafts
*Formation of Habit

These are things that are doable. This makes the days run smoothly. Lessons in the morning. Independent study or reading or handicrafts in the afternoon make Mama and child happy.

Of course we are just testing the waters with this method but so far, so good. I still use the Classical curriculum because it is just THAT good. There is still Latin and by her request we are starting French next week. There is a lot of reading going on too. Audio books, Mama read alouds and her own reading, which right now is the series Guardians of Ga'hoole which she is very "into" these days. But the weight off of my shoulders that the Charlotte Mason method has provided me is just what the doctor ordered. At least for now and until the forseeable future. Deep exhale. Broad smile.


Dawn said...

I appreciate Charlotte Mason's methods too. We've been doing a lot of narration/copywork/dictation this year with Trent- and it has been working well for my reluctant writer. I want to do more of the handiwork and art study.
I love the picture of Athena with the bird. : )

Tara said...

It's great when you find something that works, at a pace that feels comfortable!

Sarah said...

But Charlotte Mason IS classical! I mean, not classical in a Well-Trained Mind sense, but honestly I think the WTM folks didn't "get" what actuually makes a classical education... Classical. Reveling in truth and beauty! Not a demanding set of tasks but the cultivation if wisdom. In my (ever so humble. Obviously.) opinion, the AmblesideOnline site is a lot more true to being both CM and classical than the WTM. But i do like Susan Wise Bauer, i just think her book misses the mark somewhat. A real CM education is just as rigorous as a neo-classical one, albeit less demanding.

P.s. Athena looks radiantly happy. You sound it, too. :)

Amanda said...

Check out this article called the Limits of the Trivium by Terrence O. Moore