Monday, February 5, 2018

Charlotte Mason Method

I have so many friends who are 100% CMers. CM meaning Charlotte Mason of course. The Charlotte  Mason Method was developed by Charlotte Mason, a British educator whose life purpose was the education of children. She sought to improve education for all children, regardless of their social status. Back in the 1800s when she taught, Children were educated based on their social status, with the rich and well to do getting the best education, of course. She believed ALL children deserved a quality education. Her belief was that the child is a person, and the whole of that person should be educated-not just the mind.

 “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.” Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason believed we should surround the child with living education, not dry and boring facts. If the child is immersed in wonder and life, they will absorb much more of what they are learning than if they are presented with facts to merely memorize, regurgitate, then promptly forget. Children were to be raised knowing how to behave through good character habits. The school room was the world. Instead of teaching handwriting and spelling through rote memorization, Charlotte Mason would have students copy passages from the Bible and other great works of literature. Science was largely the hands on study of nature, and history was brought out in the form of "living books." Books that told the story, rather than just the facts. 

A Charlotte Mason education respects the child's innate desire to explore and learn what fascinates and interests them. As a result, it is an ideal education for the special needs student.

We do not do 100% Charlotte Mason based education, but we do a lot. I have found Mr. B does very well if we mix methods depending on the subject. We do not subscribe to one method 100%, rather we reserve the right to change it up when needed. There are time I do have him do a traditional spelling test, but most often I have him copying things I have written in order to learn. I remember from my college days, we tend to write like the works we read. I had a class called "Sociology of Science and Technology." In this class we had 8 texts to read and summarize over the course of 15 weeks. The way the professor had arranged this was brilliant for the 15 students in the class. Of course that plan fell apart when all but 4 of use dropped the class in the first week realizing it was going to be a VERY hard class. So instead, we would each read 2-6 chapters each week, write a summary paper on what we had read, and then present-or teach-the class about the part we had read so that no one had to read the entire book at any time. Some of these books were quite "academic," meaning we had to break out the thesaurus and dictionaries to even understand what we were reading. It was horrible, but we survived. The professor commented that each of us had a different writing style with each book we summarized. Our styles took on that which we were reading. Charlotte Mason Method has a "No Twaddle" rule. This means the method only prefers great works of literature such as Shakespeare, Newbury Award winners, etc. This is where I veer off. I allow Mr. B to read whatever he wants to read, but I make sure he has a good variety, including quality works, to emulate while learning composition. 

I do go with almost 100% Charlotte Mason when it comes to History and Science. I believe boring will not bring results. Hands on, living books, and a true interest is the heart of retention. When we were learning about Columbus, we read all sorts of living books, watched documentaries, and even visited replicas of the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria! THAT is a lesson that as truly stuck with him all these years later. 

Science is another. I follow his lead, and we do a lot of nature studies and exploring the world around us. Science kits, and living books abound in our home. And we may even have a nature journal or 20 lying around. While we do not use a 100% CM inspired approach, I feel we have the best parts covered in our homeschool! 

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