I’ve been reading about Charlotte Mason and her methods for several years now. It is definitely very different from a typical school system approach, which is one reason I like it. When I really got down to the core of her methods and started becoming comfortable in how to apply them, I fell in love.
My children are young and so thankfully I am able to apply this beautiful educational approach from the start. I am learning as I go and feel compelled to share 10 reasons we choose to use Charlotte Mason as our core teaching method
1. Charlotte Mason emphasizes using living books. Living books are beautifully and artfully written. The author is passionate about their subject and it is apparent in their writing. Living books can be found for majority of the subjects and available for all grade levels. My children are engaged and eager when we read from living books. They both already seem to have a higher level vocabulary. My daughter particularly seems to comprehend, process, and retain the knowledge she’s gathered from reading living books better than others.
2. Narration or having my daughter tell me the story in her own words is a big factor for me. My daughter has honestly shown signs of being gifted in the area of reading and reading comprehension. Her vocabulary skills have also been above average from the time she started talking. However, sometimes she gets a little mixed up in conversation and I felt focusing a little more on expressive language skills would help.
Having her retell the story in her own words does so many things. First, it really sears in the message for better retention. It’s also encouragages her to think back on what the story is, use the words she has learned and apply them in the right context. Whether she intended to or not, by having a child narrate a story really does help develop expressive language skills.
3. The Benefits Of Nature Walks. Besides the shear beauty one experiences being out in nature, nature walks really enhance our home education. We use this opportunity to focus on observing and discussing a living science. However, we also engage in natural play, which could be anything. Shoes are off folks and the kids get wet, dirty, and just have a lot of fun. Playing in nature like this provides a sensory benefit on a daily basis. All of the senses are engaged and it is occurring naturally so the process is organic. Plus the physical exercise that again my children benefit from by going on a nature walk.
4. Habit Training
The character of my children is paramount to their success as adults. They could be the smartest and most educated adults but that would amount to nothing if they become entitled, mean, spoiled brats with no self-control. Charlotte Mason discusses habit training in her volumes and what to focus on. Personally, I know where my kids fall short. I also know that God made it my job to instruct them in Godly character. Habit training is an effective way to incorporate Godly character development into my children.
5. A Gentle Approach
I haven’t read all her volumes (yet) but I am getting there. I have learned thus far that while my children are and will be learning a lot through her methods. The teaching style has a gentle approach which meshes well with my kids and children in general. Gentleness is a strong personality trait of my own which makes it a compatible teaching method as my children’s mother.
My husband and I both practice a Christian faith. I mentioned this in my about me section and I will again. To me being a Christian does not mean I am perfect, only Christ is perfect. I have failed, I have done wrong, and I have sinned. I strive to be the best out of my love for our creator but I know the only way I am saved is through Christ alone. Charlotte Mason sprinkles a Christian message throughout her work. It gives me great spiritual peace to know that I am modeling a teaching method that has strong Christian roots.
7. Nature Diary
Charlotte Mason recommends incorporating a nature diary which compliments nature walks. I find that by doing this, my daugher processes what she has observed and then creatively demonstrates that through her drawings. Did you catch that part? “Creatively demonstrates” Nature diaries encourage and spark creativity. Creative learning is hugely beneficial to inspire out of the box thinkers. I can foresee this only improving as she matures.
8. Copy Work And Dictation
This is the language arts, spelling and grammar aspect of the Charlotte Mason method. A soft approach that a child does by copying the written word from quotes, scripture, or favorite parts from a book that they are reading. The focus is quality over quantity. Writing (so far) doesn’t seem to be something my daughter favors. However, she is really only beginning to write her letters. The gentle approach to physical writing, encourages a positive perspective of copywork, a benefit for any student.
9. The Arts
Charlotte Mason encourages a education that is well rounded, which includes poetry, art, and music. I will confess, this isn’t my favorite part of her methods but they should have a place in a child’s education. I recognize that since this isn’t an area I am passionate about that it’s good to have an intentional guide to ensure it’s part of our home education. Thankfully, I am at the very beginning of this journey and have time to mold how to introduce the arts to my children. (Hint: I think my husband will have a big role in this 😉)
10. A love Of Learning
While I am not a expert of the Charlotte Mason method (yet) I am becoming proficient in it. It has inspired in me to be the teacher God intended for my children. To mother with a thinking love. I love teaching my children and they in turn, love to learn. It’s a goal of mine, to instill a love of learning in the hearts and minds of my children. Both my children seem to thrive from being read living books and nature walks. My daughters expressive language skills are improving. I see a love of learning growing within my children as time goes on and as I become proficient not only in her methods but as a home educator.
As my children grow older these concepts will unfold and develop further. I will probably come back to this post one day and update it. For now, these are the 10 reasons why we use Charlotte Mason’s methods as our core teaching style. Thank you for taking the time to read. What are some reasons you like Charlotte Mason’s teaching methods?