Monday, February 6, 2012

Charlotte Mason Method: The 3 R's

I've been keeping up this blog for quite a long time, so for those of you that have been following all along, you can see how much the Princesses have grown in such a short time. I took this picture this morning right after they decided that it would be fun to put the cute little tiger pajamas on Ivana. From left to right, we have Melody, Abbey, Ivana, and Tarja.

Charlotte Mason didn't really like the use of textbooks for homeschooling, and I completely understand why. She believed that we should use what is called the "living books" approach. Living books are entire books on specific subjects that are written by experts. Textbooks are books that contain chapters and paragraphs about a whole lot of different topics for a given subject such as history, government, science, etc. The child will learn from a textbook, but living books let the child delve very deeply into a subject, exposing her to everything that the author shares about it.

For example, when we learned about astronomy, I borrowed as many books about astronomy as I could from the library. Some books were about astronomy in general and others were written specifically about the sun, the stars, galaxies, various planets, etc. Instead of doing worksheets and reading chapters with questions and answers at the ends of common textbook units, we enjoyed reading out loud and looking at the pictures each day. Some "lessons" were retold to me orally, and some were written. A narration is literally the retelling of the story by the child at the end of the lesson, and this serves as our way of testing.

We use living books for every subject except math, grammar and spelling. For math, we have websites with free lesson plans that we use. For grammar and spelling, we have online lesson plans, but we also include the simplicity of spending more than average amounts of time reading great literature along with related dictation and copywork exercises. This is a win-win situation for homeschooling parents and students, because the simplicity makes it affordable and simple to do, while learning and retention is maximized. How do you teach reading? Read to the children and let them read. How do you teach literature? Read classic and modern literature. How do you teach current events? Read news articles. How do you teach history or science? Read books about history or science. How do you, as mother, establish a habit of reading in your homeschool? Let the children see their mother reading good, quality books that teach her something.

If you have a question, leave a comment, because I promise to answer.

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