“Self-education is the only possible education; the rest is mere veneer laid on the surface of a child's nature.” ~ Charlotte Mason
One of the biggest things I find attractive about the methodology of Charlotte Mason is the self-education. I find that in all the methods I've tried or researched or discussed with others, it is the method that seems best able to offer a child the ability to learn self-education. This is so because it focuses on developing a love for learning using methods involving all five senses without methods that kill that love. It is not a methodology like our public schools where they test to see what a child does NOT know, but gives 'examinations' to determine what a child does know. There is no dry boring textbooks with countless questions to answer, no weekly quizzes or tests to memorize the information for and forget the following week,and no lecturing. The child develops a true love for learning in Charlotte Mason's techniques involving the heavy emphasis of LIVING books and short lessons with a large variety of subjects taught each and every year.
I'm really enjoying reading A Charlotte Mason Education (A Home Schooling How-To Manual) by Catherine Levison. It's providing a great overview of teaching various subject matter with the Charlotte Mason method. It's a quick read and is covering lots of subject matter that I won't necessarily use just yet (my son is only 4) but gives me a great resource to determine when I might start introducing things and a book I can turn to over and over again for review and ideas.
The book is broken down into 20 chapters. The first three chapters focus on an introduction to Charlotte Mason, the basic methodology and narration. The remaining chapters all cover how to cover basic subject matter: literature, poetry, art appreciation, music appreciation, science, math, history, etc. I'm about halfway through.
Just last night I ordered a sketch pad for my son and I to use as a nature journal. I have some ideas on how to introduce this concept to him this year in a basic way. I'm really excited about developing a habit of nature walks and nature observation outdoors. We
started last week but without a notebook. My plan is to simply spend time outdoors with him (my goal really is 5 times a week but I'm not sure I'll be able to keep up with it in winter - I'm a true sissy when it comes to the cold so if you have pointers on this, I'd love to hear them!) and allow him to pick something new several times a week to come back and either draw a picture of something we discovered or find a picture on the web to print, cut and paste into his notebook so I can label it for him. He's four, so I won't have him write the words in his notebook unless of course, he wants to in which case I'll write the word somewhere else for him to copy. It won't be something forced. If there's a day he doesn't want to do the notebook, we'll let it go. This is just our introductory year - for him and for me.
Are you using the Charlotte Mason method? Feel free to share your favorite resources or favorite activities. I'd love to hear about them!
“...my object is to show that the chief function of the child--his business in the world during the first six or seven years of his life--is to find out all he can, about whatever comes under his notice, by means of his five senses...” ~Charlotte Mason