Homeschooling With Charlotte Mason

Apr 27, 2011

The Charlotte Mason method has always appealed to me and, for many years, we have used it in some fashion. After trying to use a unit study for the past year, without much success, I have decided to return to our CM methods. I wanted to teach NG and IB together but it just isn't working out the way I had hoped. The AWOA unit study is great, but NG prefers a more self-paced method. We are also returning to workboxes because NG is a child of order and independence; he wants to see how much and what he needs to do and then be set free to do it. You may be wondering why I'm switching gears right at the end of the school year. Well, to be honest, we have fallen behind due to life circumstances, learning issues, and attitudes. Our My plan is to continue through the summer.

If you have been researching Charlotte Mason for any amount of time, you have probably come across Ambleside Online, an excellent introduction and free CM homeschool curriculum. I'll be using it to guide me. Two other popular CM sites are Simply Charlotte Mason and Charlotte Mason Help. The most difficult part of using the CM method is probably the planning and scheduling. I prefer to borrow other people's ideas and found samples of curriculum plans and schedules at Higher Up and Further In. We can also take advantage of Carol Hepburn's years of CM experience by utilizing her sample schedules and CM course planner.

Just like with anything else, I pick what works for me/us and build on that. I am not a strict CM follower. One of my favorite things about CM is short lessonsIf you have boys, you will understand. Another idea I like to incorporate is the formation of habit. Hopefully, by using these two concepts, we will be able to slowly undo the bad habits of "dawdling" and lack of attention that drain even my motivation.

Since we don't follow the public school's scope and sequence, NG feels out of the loop when talking with his public-schooled best friend, who likes American history {well, the wars, anyway}. So, besides the focus on literature, I like that CM includes national and world history at the same time. We'll be continuing with ancient Greece and adding early American to it. For ancient world history, my plan is to use A Child's Story of the World and The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia as our spines and adding living books, such as biographies and historical fiction to fill it in. For American history, Noah will be starting the History of US series by Joy Hakim. M1 read them and really enjoyed them. To help IB understand how events and people fit together, we may try this easy historical wall timeline. Now that NG is in the middle grades, I'm going to have him make a Book of Centuries using this template.

Think math doesn't fit into the Charlotte Mason method? This Squidoo lens has lots of ideas on how you can make math come alive for your early learner. And Penny Gardner provides an extensive list of living math books to supplement your regular math curriculum. I'm going to borrow a copy of Family Math from the library to see if it would be worth purchasing for our family. IB has really struggled with math and I think we need to drop the curriculum and focus on learning through games for a while. 

I've got science covered with Considering God's Creation. We had already started on the human body, so we'll continue with that. One area where I always fall short is with nature study.  Handbook of Nature Study is a homeschooling blog and home to the Outdoor Hour Challenge. Barb has ideas for keeping a nature journal and an archive of seasonal challenges. Her other site, Harmony Art Mom, is devoted to art and music study. {By the way, if you want to be inspired to give your children a Charlotte Mason education, read her post, Charlotte Mason Gave Our Homeschool Wings.} For art study, I also found the Metropolitan Museum of Art History's timeline. You can select art/artists from the period of history you are studying.

For those of you who want more information and like to flip through a real book, I suggest For the Children's SakeA Charlotte Mason Education, and More Charlotte Mason Education. My next homeschool book purchase will probably be the third edition of Educating the Whole Hearted Child, which is due to be released soon. (affiliate)

After a long season of burn-out that left me with brain fog and little motivation, I am finally finding my way back to normalcy. Making the decision to change directions with our curriculum has been energizing and given me hope. After a talk with NG today, I feel like he is ready for the change also. Time will tell.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for sharing. I have been missing from blogland for a couple of months. I am re-inspired to check out CM....we've used Alpha Omega for 3 years and I have never sreiously looked at CM, but I am going to check it out again...also thanks for the math link. Blessings.


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