Homeschool · Tot School

Learning from Charlotte Mason

One of my favorite things about the idea of homeschooling is not being tied to one curriculum or method of teaching.  We would definitely fall into the eclectic homeschooling group, picking and choosing curriculum based on our children’s interest and learning styles.  That being said, one method of teaching that has really resonated with me is Charlotte Mason.

According to Mason, “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.” Two aspects of her teaching method I hope to incorporate into my children’s lives regardless of where they learn are Narration and Living Literature.

Narration

Charlotte Mason believed children should be able to repeat back what they just read after just one time.  This narration can be oral, written or drawn.  To do this, children must learn to intentionally train their focus to absorb the information being read.

Not only will this provide my kids with a strong foundation for learning, I can’t help but think this can also be really beneficial in everyday life as well.  As parents, we are tasked with teaching these little ones how to be productive members of the world.  Learning how to listen and process what they are hearing is a skill that will be used in any number of situations.

I don’t expect M to master this skill at such a young age; Charlotte Mason didn’t expect it from children until the age of 6.  However, it’s never too early to instill in our kids these lessons.

Selfishly, I’m hoping it will help M respond to things the first time around.  M is a constant ball of energy and rarely slows down.  She is a really respectful, well behaved kid but as a parent, I often find myself frustrated having to repeat myself multiple times before eliciting a response from her.  I’d love to see her able to focus on what is being said to her and respond the first time.

I do know that is probably asking a lot of a 3 year old and I don’t expect it to show immediate results.  I just hope to lay the foundation to build upon as she gets older.

Living Literature 

As someone who has always loved reading, I can tell you first hand how much can be learned through good books.  A textbook is limiting in the amount of information provided but in the world of literature, you can be transported into another world entirely.   Charlotte Mason understood this and tried to use living literature for every possible subject. Living books are typically written in narrative or story form by an author with a passion for the subject matter.

I would love to instill in my children that same love and believe it comes directly from finding engaging material that peaks their interest.  Textbooks can provide a tremendous amount of information but they won’t convey passion and passion is what cultivates lifelong learners.

If my daughter continues her love of stars and outer space, she can be immersed in literature that turns her into an astronaut (or maybe even an alien!).  Living literature books can contain so much more than textbooks both in the amount of information contained within it as well as its presentation.

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