Charlotte Mason Curriculum
Charlotte Mason Curriculum After teaching in private, Christian schools for years nearly 20 years, I entered the homeschool world in 2004. Early on I learned about the Charlotte Mason approach to learning. Charlotte Mason (1842 - 1923) was an educator in England. Many of the years I have worked with homeschooling families, I have offered elementary classes using Charlotte Mason methods. Here are the reasons why I have used this approach.
Charlotte Mason Curriculum Approach
- Whole and Living Books. Children learn so much from whole original books. For instance, a regular history textbook is a summary of what the authors believe to be the crucial points. Authors must discard much to get everything into the history book. By editing material, in this fashion, much of the compelling narrative is gone. For many, the regular history textbook is very dry and uninteresting. Students using the Charlotte Mason approach read or listen to great classical writings.
2. Teaches Narration. To measure what children understand, the parent/teacher encourages them to "narrate" what he reads. By telling the essential parts of the reading, the children demonstrate what they have learned. Alternatively, tests tend to show what the children do not know, rather than what they do.
The children make Books of Centuries. As the students read the whole, living books and learn about different events, dates, and people, they place them in their personal Century Book in their own words and drawings.
3. Each open page covers one century. I have had students make Books of Time with an accessible page for a decade. Either way, you give your child a means to see how different moments in history relate to one another. These books help the student to understand general concepts in history and have a reference point for critical details.
4. The children keep a Nature Journal and go on Nature Walks. Even in Britain, Charlotte Mason recommended that families go on nature walks daily. We now know that taking walks in the great out-of-doors is a healthy thing to do. While on those trails, children drew pictures of animals, plants and other things in nature. Aside from scientific knowledge and drawing skill, they become keen observers, a vital science, and living skill.
5. Gives the children opportunities to learn using short lessons. In this method, students are exposed to and learn many subjects, but spending short times for each item. These brief experiences gradually build as the children mature. While making frequent changes in content, the brain can concentrate longer.
6. Encourages the study of themes from Classical Education, including memorization of poetry, logic and multiple foreign languages.
7. Can be used along with a Unit Study that you create.
Adaptable for use with various ages and works well with both large or small groups of children.
Books that have been helpful in my understanding of the Charlotte Mason Approach:
A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison. Her original homeschooling series is available
All in all, we see that Charlotte Mason had a keen understanding of her students and communicated it well with those who teach children.