To form in his child right habits of thinking and behaving is a parent's chief duty ~ Charlotte Mason
In my New Year's Resolutions, I included reading and studying my books and videos on the Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling. I really want to gain a more thorough understanding of this approach and grasp how to go about implementing it. So far the materials I have at my fingertips are the following:
- The Early Years: A Charlotte Mason Preschool Handbook by Karen Smith and Sonya Shafer
- Laying Down the Rails: A Charlotte Mason Habits Handbook by Sonya Shafer
- All Day Charlotte Mason Seminar with Sonya Shafer (video and book)
- The Books & Things Seminar with Sonya Shafer (video and book)
I bought all of these at the Simply Charlotte Mason booth at the CHAP Homeschool Convention last spring. I'm disappointed to say I've only read part of the two books and have only completed about 3/4 of the first video! I really need to catch up. But I'm also trying to really digest the material. Before I go on, let me mention that Simply Charlotte Mason has lots of materials that look absolutely wonderful! It's a good think I try to be frugal as I really was tempted to buy so much more! Be sure to check out their website if you are interested in this approach to homeschooling!
The book covering the early years begins by focusing on a parent's chief duty. Charlotte believed that bringing up and educating your child is the most important job in society and that we must form in our children right habits of thinking and behaving. I totally agree with this! Raising my children is one of the most important jobs I have that only takes 2nd place after Worshiping God and being a loving partner to my spouse! It is not anyone else's job to raise my child. I need to be the most integral part of my child's education and teaching them right habits of thinking and behaving. Charlotte said we must nourish our child's mind and that "the duty of parents is to sustain a child's inner life with ideas as they sustain his body with food".
Parents are to make sure everything they give their child is wholesome and nourishing - even the atmosphere that surrounds him! The atmosphere is just as important as the materials. A child can be surrounded by nourishing materials but if the atmosphere is stale or stressful, those materials can only do so much.
We, as parents, should trust our personal insights into our child but we should also continue to educate ourselves as parents. Reading about the Charlotte Mason Homeschool Method is one way I am continuing to educate myself. We must also remember that education of our unique children requires flexibility! Even with a Charlotte Mason Approach, one must always realize there is more than one way to do things and each child is unique in their abilities - strengths and weaknesses!
Charlotte Mason actually suggests that formal lessons do not occur until age 6. The Simply Charlotte Mason website has a page titled "Preschool Guide" . This guide emphasizes that during the preschool years, before formal lessons, the child's education should have a focus on the foundations (habit-forming, outside play, read-alouds, and bible). Crafts, Music, Art and Poetry should also be fun activities that are had on a regular basis. If the child appears ready, reading, math, and writing may be informally introduced but there is to be no pressure in doing so. These activities should be fun and rewarding, especially at this age and never forced on an unwanting child.
I'm going to keep up with my studies of Charlotte Mason. I am really fascinated by this method. Do you use the Charlotte Mason method? What are some of your favorite - or not so favorite - aspects of this homeschooling method?
To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society. ~ Theodore Roosevelt