If you’ve been researching homeschooling methods for any amount of time, you’ve probably ran across the Charlotte Mason method. When I began homeschooling, I stumbled onto the Charlotte Mason Education almost immediately and fell in love with the idea of living books. However, my journey to embracing the Charlotte Mason Method has been a bumpy one.
In this post, I’d like to share a bit about why I chose a Charlotte Mason education for my kids even after abandoning it for a few years.
We, believing that the normal child has powers of mind which fit him to deal with all knowledge proper to him, give him a full and generous curriculum, taking care only that all knowledge offered to him is vital, that is, that facts are not presented without their informing ideas. Out of this conception comes our principle that: —“Education is the Science of Relations”; that is, a child has a natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science, and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of—”those first-born affinities”Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education
A Charlotte Mason Education
I began homeschooling my oldest at the age of 4 years old. Because he was an early reader and seemed to be so bored, I thought starting school would be an excellent idea.
I was busy with a new baby and I thought planning some activities and giving him some worksheets would be just what he needed.
Boy, that was a dumb idea!
By the time he was 6 years old, I had another baby and we were “doing school” for nearly 6 hours per day. Needless to say, no one was having a good time.
I stumbled upon the Charlotte Mason method, but wasn’t quite ready to embrace it so I continued piecing together an eclectic mix of Classical, Charlotte Mason, and Unschooling, which resulted in an endless barrage of starts and stops, tears and frustrations, and an altogether unsuccessful endeavor.
Finally, I came back to Charlotte Mason and have not regretted it.
Charlotte Mason continues to challenge me.
Her method keeps my type A personality completely satisfied, but not overwhelmed.
What Is The Charlotte Mason Method?
Before I can answer completely this most asked question about a Charlotte Mason education, I’ll have to share my experience of learning what a Charlotte Mason Education is not.
A Charlotte Mason education is not relaxed homeschooling or unschooling and, yet, it is completely restful.
The Charlotte Mason method is as she puts it, “The Science of Relations“.
Charlotte’s words oftentimes may be difficult for our modern tongue to interpret, but with a careful reading and years of practice, you will begin to grasp what she means by this phrase.
Charlotte’s genius was a profound understanding of how the personhood of a child and laws of God’s creation naturally cooperate with one another.
Charlotte understood that education happens when the natural curiosities and inclinations of a child are placed in an environment or “atmosphere” where they can be exercised.
That doesn’t mean without boundaries. No! Charlotte understood, as the Scriptures teach, that true freedom is only found within God’s safety net.
So a Charlotte Mason education is one in which the parents train and assist and provide the choicest of selections and then we, the teacher and/or parents, get out of the way.
The child’s natural love for learning will naturally occur as we do this.
Charlotte Mason teaches you how to offer the child a truly rich feast that is delightful and this is what makes her method superior to all the others I have tried.
I wrote this treatise as a quick glance at a Charlotte Mason curriculum for the early elementary years and to supplement my Gentle Learning Homeschool Helper Daily Planner For Elementary Grades 1-3.
How Do I Create My Child’s Schedule Using Charlotte Mason?
If you haven’t already discovered, creating a schedule using Charlotte Mason is not as simple as providing you a list of books to use or a set pattern.
In fact, if you spend any time at all searching the web, you will discover there are numerous resources and opinions on how this is done.
Here at Homeschool Outdoors, I too, will share as we go how I create my homeschool schedule.
In fact, you can get a copy of what my year 1 schedule looks like by signing up here.
However, bear in mind, that as you become more familiar with the Charlotte Mason methods and begin piecing together all the rich topics, your schedule will not be exactly like mine or anyone else’s.
Some people prefer a boxed curriculum and as I state in my bio, I am a Charlotte Masonish homeschooler so I don’t follow any specific curriculum strictly.
I have used everything from Simply Charlotte Mason, to Ambleside Online, to private consults, to immersion conferences, to looking at Charlotte Mason’s own schedules.
What I can tell you is that all of these resources and the numerous ones I will be sharing here on the blog will ALL be helpful in some way or another.
But at the end of the day, you will learn how to create the perfect Charlotte Mason curriculum in the same way your child will learn history and geography and countless other subjects: By the Way.
That is to say, you will learn as you go.
You will learn, change, adapt, relearn, and start again.
Short Cuts and To Be Continued…
My goal with this site is to share how I have learned to homeschool using largely the Charlotte Mason method so you can get a glimpse into the home of ONE FAMILY and maybe even find a friend to help you along the way.
If you’d like a short cut rather than sticking around as I build out this blog, I have written an e-book* which serves as a treatease, if you will, to my how I have implemented Charlotte Mason’s method with my early elementary students. (Grades 1-4).
My e-book titled, Gentle Learning Homeschool Helper: A Guide To A Charlotte Mason Education In The Early Years, will give you a glimpse of how to offer a vast and varied education that is gentle and pleasant for both you and your child.
I also strongly recommend you read Charlotte’s own words in The Original Home Schooling Series 6 volume set.
That is the best way to an understand her method and begin to grasp her genius.
You can also sign up for our newsletter and check our resource pages for more helps.
*This e-book is best used in combination with our Gentle Learning Homeschool Helper Daily Planner For Elementary Grades 1-3