The Charlotte Mason Way

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We feed a child’s lively curiosity.

“But mind does not live and grow upon entertainment; it requires its solid meals,” she says. Therefore, we safeguard a child’s curiosity with the best we have to offer in books and things. Children are born learners. We can see how babies devote themselves to it—with eyes, ears, nose, hands, and mouth. We can’t do the learning for them. They do that part on their own. When we attempt to “learn them” boredom sets in. 

– Charlotte Mason

The Charlotte Mason method is based on Charlotte’s firm belief that the child is a person and we must educate that whole person, not just his mind. So a Charlotte Mason education is three-pronged: in her words, “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.”

An Atmosphere, A Discipline, A Life

By “Atmosphere,” Charlotte meant the surroundings in which the child grows up. A child absorbs a lot from his home environment. Charlotte believed that the ideas that rule your life as the parent make up one-third of your child’s education.

By “Discipline,” Charlotte meant the discipline of good habits—and specifically habits of character. Cultivating good habits in your child’s life make up another third of his education.

The other third of education, “Life,” applies to academics. Charlotte believed that we should give children living thoughts and ideas, not just dry facts. So all of her methods for teaching the various school subjects are built around that concept.

 

7 Characteristics of a Charlotte Mason Education

The Charlotte Mason way is a method, not a curriculum, so understanding this will help you make the most of anything you choose to use as your curriculum to educate your children. With this method of educating, your children will learn how to learn, observe and process information. Learning the different aspects of this method will help you to educate the whole child, and growing an independent, self learner.

The teachings and philosophies of Charlotte Mason, a British educator from the last century, are currently experiencing a revival, especially among American private and home schools. Mason’s educational ideas were originally used by governesses in England to educate the children in their charge. Eventually, schools based on her philosophies sprung up throughout England, and her original training school became a college to supply teachers for the Parents’ Union Schools throughout the world.

Mason developed a lifetime love of learning in her students by actively engaging children firsthand with nature, literature, science, history, art, music, and avoiding dumbed-down materials — what she referred to as twaddle — as much as possible.

1. Habits

Charlotte believed that the development of good habits within a child provides the foundation for early education. She wrote, “The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days.”

For this reason Charlotte advised delaying formal academics until age six, instead advocating play and work within the gentle boundaries of the family unit.

Charlotte saw good habits as so crucial that she recommended putting all else aside if a bad habit appeared, and working with the child (in a friendly way) to reconcile the issue before it could develop further.

2. Style of Lessons

Charlotte Mason style lessons are short, especially for young children. The goal is to train the child to focus fully on their work, but only for the amount of time they are developmentally capable of.

For early elementary-aged children this often means only 5-15 minutes per subject. In older grades the duration extends to 45 minutes or more.

When a child becomes restless, Charlotte advised changing the lesson to a different type of subject–maybe moving from handwriting to music study, or from math to handicrafts.

Short lessons means that more subjects can be incorporated into a school day. This fits with the Charlotte Mason philosophy of introducing many topics to children and allowing them to delve deeper into the ones that spark their interest.

3. Living Books

Living books are the opposite of textbooks–quality literature (either fiction or non-fiction) written by an author with a passion for the topic. The writer’s passion and expertise breathes life into the book, as opposed to a textbook that gives impersonal overviews of many topics.

Living books present inspiring stories that engage the minds of children and adults alike, providing characters our children can look up to and emulate.

4. Narration

A Charlotte Mason-style education uses narration as one of the central methods to evaluate a student. The goal is to teach a child to think and express themselves clearly.

Up until the age of 10 or 11, Charlotte advises teachers to use mainly oral narration with a child. After listening to a short passage of a book, the child will tell back, in his or her own words, important aspects of the story.

Letting a young child do this orally helps them develop analytical thinking skills without getting stuck by the physical mechanics of handwriting.  At around age 11 Charlotte Mason teachers begin having children do written narrations, which lengthen and become more in depth as children get older.

5. Dictation

Dictation exercises introduce and reinforce spelling and grammar concepts.

Charlotte recommends using inspiring quotations or Scripture for dictation. The child studies the passage until they are certain of the spelling and punctuation. Then the teacher dictates the passage slowly while the child writes it down.

Formal grammar study is usually delayed until age 10 or 11 in a Charlotte Mason education.

6. Art & Music Study

Charlotte Mason believed in exposing a child to greatness in many forms, which is why she introduced music and art appreciation at her schools.

In Charlotte’s schools, one composer or artist was studied each term–both through experiencing the music and art, reading living books about the artist, and perhaps reproducing the style through art or music lessons.

7. Nature Study

Charlotte thought children should spend as much time as possible outdoors, especially as young students.

Students kept their own detailed nature journals and also used nature best roids guides to discover and identify the natural world in their neighborhood.

Charlotte Mason’s ideas created an educational revolution when she developed them. She believed that, regardless of what social class they belonged to, children deserved dignity and respect. She hoped education would open the doors of equality and opportunity to all.

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Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy can be characterized as a Christ-centered philosophy of education for Christian discipleship, a unique contribution in the history of Christian and educational thought.

This method of homeschooling allows you the freedom to slow down, to cherish the sweet moments of childhood, and to embrace the world around you, while completely losing yourself in the books of people, places and ideas. If you feel like you need to simplify your homeschooling, the Charlotte Mason method can help you do that.

 

Charlotte Mason Books All Homeschool Moms Should Read

Charlotte Mason books are so inspiring and full of ideas that can be implemented with any curriculum, or routine in learning.

 

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1.  A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning by Karen Andreola

This modern classic is written by the homeschool mom who first carried Charlotte Mason’s writings to America in her suitcase in 1987. Miss Mason’s books were soon republished for a new generation. After ten years of intense study and successful application of Miss Mason’s principles with her own children, Karen wrote A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning ™.

Today’s parents can now see what a Charlotte Mason education looks like in a contemporary setting while gleaning from its many benefits. Charlotte Mason’s principles of education are not only a way of learning but also a way of life. A Charlotte Mason Companion gives you powerful tools to create an extraordinary learning experience. At the turn of every page, you will meet a practical idea and the inspiration to carry it out. Chapters on using good books, heroes in history, poetry, art and music appreciation, nature study, the atmosphere of home, the discipline of habit, keeping up enthusiasm, (to name a few) are referred to again and again by Karen’s readers. Since its debut in 1998, A Charlotte Mason Companion continues to be one of the most trusted and often quoted books in the home school world. Plenty of encouragement, wisdom and gentle instruction await you in this beautifully written and beautifully illustrated book.

 

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2.  A Charlotte Mason Education: A Home Schooling How-To Manual by Catherine Levison

The immensely popular ideas of Charlotte Mason have inspired educators for many decades. Her unique methodology as written about in her six-volume series established the necessary protocols for an education above and beyond that which can be found in traditional classroom settings.

In A Charlotte Mason Education, Catherine Levison has collected the key points of Charlotte Mason’s methods and presents them in a simple, straightforward way that will allow families to quickly maximize the opportunities of home schooling. With weekly schedules, a challenging and diverse curriculum will be inspire and educate your child. A Charlotte Mason Education is the latest tool for parents seeking the best education for their children.

 

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3. The Charlotte Mason Way Explained by Dollie Freeman

Although this method originated in the 1800’s, it is still very relevant to today’s homeschool. Learn how to implement the methods of old into today’s homeschool, while satisfying state requirements and preparing your children for higher education.

This eBook is jammed packed full of information on every method and how to teach it into today’s homeschooling using the Charlotte Mason Way, through preschool to High School. You will be getting the experience of a veteran Charlotte Mason homeschooler, who has used this method of teaching for seventeen years.

 

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4.  For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

For the Children’s Sake is a book about what education can be, based on a Christian understanding of what it means to be human-to be a child, a parent, a teacher-and on the Christian meaning of life. The central ideas have been proven over many years and in almost every kind of educational situation, including ideas that Susan and Ranald Macaulay have implemented in their own family and school experience.

 

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5. When Children Love to Learn: A Practical Application of Charlotte Mason’s Philosophy for Today by Elaine Cooper

They’re hallmarks of childhood. The endless “why” questions. The desire to touch and taste everything. The curiosity and the observations.

It can’t be denied-children have an inherent desire to know. Teachers and parents can either encourage this natural inquisitiveness or squelch it. There is joy in the classroom when children learn-not to take a test, not to get a grade, not to compete with each other, and not to please their parents or their teachers-but because they want to know about the world around them!

Both Christian educators and parents will find proven help in creating a positive learning atmosphere through methods pioneered by Charlotte Mason that show how to develop a child’s natural love of learning. The professional educators, administrators, and Mason supporters contributing to this volume give useful applications that work in a variety of educational settings, from Christian schools to homeschools.

A practical follow-up to Crossway’s For the Children’s Sake, this book follows a tradition of giving serious thought to what education is, so that children will be learning for life and for everlasting life.

 

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6. Habits: The Mother’s Secret to Success by Charlotte Mason, complied by Deborah Taylor-Hough, author of A Twaddle Free Education

A selection of Charlotte Mason’s writings on the topic of Habit Formation in children. Her teachings on the topic of education required six large volumes to cover. This book makes it simple for homeschooling parents to find exactly what they need to learn about Charlotte Mason’s thoughts on establishing good habits.

Mason developed a lifetime love of learning in her students by actively engaging children firsthand with nature, literature, science, history, art, music, and avoiding dumbed-down materials — what she referred to as twaddle — as much as possible.

 

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7. The Outdoor Life of Children: The Importance of Nature Study and Outdoor Activities by Charlotte Mason, complied by Deborah Taylor-Hough

Book Number Two in the Charlotte Mason Topics series, The Outdoor Life of Children is a compilation of Charlotte Mason’s writings on the topics of Nature Study, teaching natural philosophy, and the importance of children being out-of-doors. Now all of Charlotte Mason’s writings on Nature Study and the outdoors (from the original six-volume set) are located in this one, easy-to-use volume.

 

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8. Ideas and Books: The Method of Education by Charlotte Mason, complied by Deborah Taylor-Hough

A selection of Charlotte Mason’s writings on the topic of the place of ideas and books in the education of children. Mason’s teachings on the topic of education required six large volumes to cover. This book makes it simple for homeschooling parents to find exactly what they need to learn about Charlotte Mason’s thoughts on ideas and books.

 

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9. The Living Page: Keeping Notebooks with Charlotte Mason by Laurie Bestvater

“We all have need to be trained to see, and to have our eyes opened before we can take in the joy that is meant for us in this beautiful life.” Charlotte Mason. “Composition books and blank journals are readily available at every big box and corner store, available so inexpensively as to be common and ironic as we reach that digital dominion, the projected ‘paperless culture.’

Shall we despair the future of the notebook? Is the practice an anachronism in an age where one’s thoughts and pictures, doings and strivings are so easily recorded on a smartphone or blog,and students in even the youngest classrooms are handed electronic tablets with textbooks loaded and worksheets at the ready? Or is there something indispensable in the keeping of notebooks without which human beings would be the poorer?” THE LIVING PAGE invites the reader to take a closer look in the timeless company of 19th century educator, Charlotte Mason.

 

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10. Minds More Awake: The Vision of Charlotte Mason by Anne E. White

To open the door to the treasures (and the treasuring) of knowledge is to set children on the journey to an intentional, purposeful life. This exploration of Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy focuses on two “power tools,” the Way of the Will and the Way of the Reason, and examines the ways in which Mason’s principles are made practical.

 

11. Charlotte Mason: The Home Education Series

Charlotte Mason’s classic series on home education re-released at last, with a fresh transcription formatted to match the original. Large margins make this edition a pleasure read or study.

More Resources to Explore:

https://simplycharlottemason.com/what-is-the-charlotte-mason-method/

https://charlottemasonhomeschooling.com/

http://amblesideonline.org/

https://www.mfwbooks.com/wps/portal/c/about-us/charlotte-mason

https://www.thecharlottemasonway.com/charlotte-mason-curriculum/

https://cathyduffyreviews.com/homeschool-extras/approaches-to-education/charlotte-mason

My Introduction to Charlotte Mason’s Philosophies

https://www.sonlight.com/

Ambleside Online Booklist by Year

http://charlottemasonpoetry.org/contributors/

http://charlottemasonpoetry.org/parents-union-school-time-tables/

http://charlottemasonpoetry.org/notes-of-lessons/#Art-and-Architecture

http://charlottemasonpoetry.org/learning-styles-and-charlotte-mason/

 

Sourced from:

http://simplehomeschool.net/7-characteristics-of-a-charlotte-mason-education/

https://www.joyinthehome.com/10-charlotte-mason-books-all-homeschool-moms-should-read/

Miss Mason says, “…all children must read widely, and know what they have read, for the nourishment of their complex nature.”

When a child becomes a reader his true education begins. Because all true education is self-education.  By reading he envisions, hears, and feels with his developing imagination. Feeding upon ideas invites him to reason and discern. This knowledge is nourishing.

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