Short Lessons

by Kelly Benedict
Guest Contributor

How many times during a home schooling day have you found yourself still trying to plug along to get every subject done that you feel “has” to be done before you can end your school day? Before you know it is 3:30… 4:00… 5:00…  And suddenly you realize that not only is your spouse on the way home, and supper is not done, but you never even remembered to get it out of the freezer, let alone start it?!

Plus added to this, your house has become an upheaval in the meantime, the laundry you started before school this morning is still waiting to be thrown in the dryer, or hung on the clothesline. Your kids are grouchy and just want to go outside to play. You have a headache and can’t wait to just sit and do absolutely nothing but stare at the television. But, in drives your spouse, honking cheerfully as he sees his children playing outside. He has had a long, hard, hectic day at the office, and he is so looking forward to a nice home cooked meal. He walks in, looks around, sees the upheaval of things and then has the nerve to ask, “So what’s for dinner?”

At this point, all you can do is sit down and cry. Your husband is at a loss as to what is wrong, let alone what he can do, or should do, to help in your situation. To top it off, he is afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing, no matter how carefully he tries to word things. Did ‘school’ get done today? Yes, it did. Thank God for that! But was it done cheerfully, with anticipation, looking forward to what tomorrow will bring? Sadly, your answer would have to be an emphatic “NO!”

Well there are specific reasons why Charlotte Mason felt strongly that it was imperative that children be given “short lessons” in a variety of subjects throughout each day. Not only is it a ENORMOUS help to the parent in not becoming overwhelmed, but it also helps you, the parent, to be able to maintain a calm, peaceful learning environment, giving you ample time to get your daily household necessities accomplished. However, ultimately, it is for the sake of your children.

Miss Mason has three simple, basic reasons for short lessons where children are concerned. Firstly, the idea that there is only so much time to get the math lesson done, or his reading finished, keeps the child’s comprehension levels fixed and alert. Secondly, your child has only so much of an attention span for any one subject that he can absorb, without going in to overload. And thirdly, your child gets through his morning routine without getting bored, tired or exasperated.

Now, what better reasons are there than these to continue to learn and follow more of Charlotte Mason’s wonderful, yet simple lessons, that can be used in our personal, every day lives?


Article by Kelly Benedict, longtime homeschooler of 17+ years, wife, Mama of 9 and grandmother of 6 (so far), dog breeder and writer.

Article Source:  Why Short Lessons Work in a Charlotte Mason Education


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