Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How to do the Charlotte Mason Method

Many of you are trying to decide how you want to organize your homeschools for the new year. In honor of that, I welcome you to visit my blog of a series that will cover my personal interpretation of the Charlotte Mason Method. I will also include ways that I have made substitutions to suit the needs of my own family. Keep in mind that no teaching method, however wonderful it may be, will fit every member of every family, which is why most of us decided to homeschool. In this series, I will often allude to portions of A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola. If you want to get serious about using Charlotte Mason, I urge you to spend a few dollars on this amazing book.

To begin with, let's examine what Karen Andreola interprets in her book to be the best curriculum for a well rounded education. She says that each day, children should have, "Something or someone to love, something to do, something to think about."

If we examine her words, it sounds like a no brainer. Who doesn't have something to do, love, or think about? Believe it or not, a lot of people in this world lack in all three areas. How can you make sure that your children have something to love, something to do, and something to think about every day? What does it all mean?

Something or someone to love: Do your children love each other, or do you spend your days refereeing fights between them? What can you do to help create a more loving environment for them? Only you can answer that for your family. Do they have pets to care for? If so, stand back and let them care for the pets according to their abilities. There are lots of things and people in this world to love, and learning how to love begins at home.

Something to do: School lessons are something to do, but what do your children do after the lessons are put away? Do they become vegetables in front of the TV, or do they have some projects or activities that they like to do? Do you let them choose some of their activities, or do you retain the right to control every aspect of their days? Melody has an after school job, loves opera,shooting sports, reads avidly, and has been researching various species of birds, which led her to purchase one that can be trained to talk and play with the family. Abbey loves softball, shooting sports, and spends a lot of time researching different types of dogs, since she wants to become a dog groomer.

Something to think about: There are plenty of things going on in and around a typical household to foster some serious thought, but does your family talk about these things, or do you often shoo your children away when they want to talk? You will be very surprised by the subjects that are important to them. Topics of meaningful discussion could range from what kind of dog the children want to bring into the family, to the pregnant teenager, or the death of a friend's parent. If you want to harness some teachable moments, your children will invariably give you the right place to start on a daily basis if you stop and let them.

Therefore, this is the heart of your Charlotte Mason Education. Do you need some time to digest the concept? Try starting a journal to jot down your thoughts, hopes, goals, etc. for your homeschool. What does Something or someone to love, something to do and something to think about mean to you and what would you like to do each day with your family?

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