I am pleased to point out the Charlotte Mason method doesn’t involve the purchasing of a curriculum, and once understood could even be done solely from the library at no cost.
This method doesn’t hinge on a certain selection of books; on the contrary, this style can be applied to any set of books. You can be as discriminating as you want to be, and still use the Charlotte Mason method. Just because a book is mentioned by Charlotte Mason, or any advocate of her method, or me, doesn’t make it necessarily appropriate for your family.
The intention of my two books, A Charlotte Mason Education and More Charlotte Mason Education, is to pull out the ‘how-to’ from the philosophy (which is difficult). Not so that you will never have to read Charlotte Mason’s original works for yourself, but so you can begin to apply her insights more quickly.
HOW TO START
I eased into the method slowly over many years. I would read an idea, then try it on Friday afternoons after we had finished our textbook/workbook system for the week. I found it extremely fun so I started doing all Charlotte Mason during the summers after we had finished the year’s work. I was very compulsive about finishing each book and filling in every workbook blank. At the point when I wrote A Charlotte Mason Education, we were starting our seventh year of homeschooling and using the Charlotte Mason method full time.
I do not expect anyone to make overnight changes, and I am not asking you to. One way to make the transition would be to use your textbooks (if that is your current system) as an outline of the material you will cover that year and augment the material with some living books.
You possibly have noticed a dichotomy within the group that adheres to the Charlotte Mason method. There are structured homes and relaxed homes both following the method. As you probably already know, there is no one “right” way to home school. Some families have formed a more structured interpretation because the structure comes through clearly when one reads how Charlotte Mason’s students did things in the P.N.E.U. (Parents’ National Education Union) schools of Mason’s day.
Both styles are valid ways to home school, and I hope we home educators will graciously allow one another the freedom to apply this in various ways.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Catherine Levison — long-time homeschooling mother of five and popular conference speaker to parenting and educational audiences throughout the USA and Canada — is the author of several books on Charlotte Mason-style home education. Visit Catherine online at: http://charlottemasoneducation.com
You can order Levison’s books online at:
- A Charlotte Mason Education: A How-to Manual
- More Charlotte Mason Education
- A Literary Education: An Annotated Book List
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