As a Charlotte Mason educator, I love so many things about her method and how it really is beneficial to all kinds of learners. I love how simple and gentle this approach is for both the teacher and the student, but most importantly how it really is can be summed up by Charlotte Mason's quote:
“Education is a discipline, an atmosphere, a life.” Tweet
Another one of her quotes, simplifies it even more and points out what is to be included in a Charlotte Mason curriculum.
Here are 3 Things a Charlotte Mason Curriculum Should Have:
Something to Think About
Charlotte Mason was a strong believer of ‘ideas'. Her sole purpose in having children hear and read living books were to introduce them to ideas for them to think about on their own.
Ideas are the mother of inspirations. Tweet
When a child is inspired by ideas from what they are learning about in their hearing and reading, their imagination and creativity comes to life. Without these ideas, a child struggles to be inspired and will quickly become bored with the world around them.
When a child has been inspired by stories of people in history, events of history, explorers, musicians, artists or adventure stories of children their own age, they have ideas on which to think about. They will be ignited to play out the things that have been a part of their homeschool lessons and a self-learner is being born through these ideas.
Something to Do
Charlotte Mason believed in free afternoons filled with handicrafts and learning of skills. Nature studies through observation, learning to stitch, crocket, knit or cook, learning a sport, exploring to see what could be discovered, being creative with Legos or building with wood to construct a fort or going fishing, hunting or grocery shopping.
Her philosophy sounds so easy to implement, but in our crazy culture, it takes determination to keep the afternoons free for the child to just be and do.
My older children developed interest that have lead them to their future goals in their afternoon and my 6th grader is starting to do the same.
My daughter, being the oldest, spent her free afternoons writing. She would research the Oregon trial and anything for ‘heading west' because she was so inspired by the ideas from her lessons. She learned about natural remedies that were found on the trial, about Indians and tribes, about wolves and even tried a few business attempts for making jewelry. Today is a blogger, sharing with others about the books and interest that inspired her and helping homeschool mothers find living books to inspire their children with ideas and implement the doing of their free afternoon.
She also taught herself how to play the recorder, the piano and the violin in her free afternoons.
My older son loved sports and running. Staying true to the free afternoons, we didn't enroll him in any sports but gave him the opportunity to learn about all that interested him. We would get family friends together and play the sports that were interesting to him. During these free afternoons, my son got past the football lure and found his love…golf! Today he is determined to play in the PGA and preparing his journey to his goal.
In addition to that, he loved nature and was always learning about all things great and small in nature. Today he still loves snakes!
Free afternoons are so important to implementing the ‘do' part of the Charlotte Mason curriculum.
Something to Love
Within a homeschool family, there are so many opportunities to adding this part of the curriculum… something to love. There are always family members and pets to love. Charlotte was inspiring for more than what is natural found in our lives to love.
Finding ways to express love in our community is a great way to build compassion in our children. Volunteering for a service position, taking full care of a pet, helping in a position within the church, neighborhood or family.
I hope that these 3 things that a Charlotte Mason curriculum should have inspires your family and homeschool, especially if you are starting this journey with your preschooler.