Charlotte Mason’s Teaching Philosophy

Charlotte Mason: What I’ve pieced together so far:
(All things that appeal to me)

  • Formal schooling doesn’t start until age six*
  • No special textbooks—everything (except math, I suppose) drawn from good writing
  • Word-based
    • reading (good writers, good books, chosen to shape character)*
    • memorization* (giving the child something substantial to meditate on)
    • and narration,* early on a child’s answer to essays or composition, but the beginning of training the mind to formulate and organize the information it is taking in.
  • Lots of reading/reading aloud all through schooling*
  • Short lessons* (“quality over quantity” and working withing the natural human patterns of remembering/attentiveness)
    • The schooling of the day is ideally finished by lunch-time*
  • Pre-school seems to be mostly about observing the world around you and using the every-day.* (This idea was a relief to find.)
    • This in contrast to Montessori or other pre-school programs that utilize all sort of cool little doodads that have no further purpose after preschool
    • And have to be bought and stored.
    • Emphasis on learning from the environment that is, rater than changing the environment to make it “learning-conducive.”
  • Art and foreign language elements as a matter of course.
  • Large emphasis on God/the Bible/Creation-study*
    • (Though, oddly enough, she was one of the many Christians in her era who thought Evolution was compatible with the Bible)
  • Independent creative play encouraged/required**

So much of what I’ve been reading so far feels like an uncanny fit. I’m a little nervous because it seems to emphasize one main learning style, but with so many elements (*) already things that fit my personality/our lifestyle, I’m definitely researching this further.

One interesting element that is very like to the way I think involves avoiding “unit” studies. By the discription I read, “units” present multiple subjects around a connecting theme.

CM’s objection to this practice is that the children may be trained to expect adults to make their connections for them, rather than making connections on their own (and thereby training their brains).

This was interesting for me mainly because I seem to be making random connections all the time, and it’s kind of fun to imagine encouraging that sort of thing.

2 thoughts on “Charlotte Mason’s Teaching Philosophy

  1. […] I got some books about Charlotte Mason from the library today. Along with a book that was very helpful when I used it two years ago. I’m hoping for some solidity in homeschooling expectations and help with my current sleep-debt. […]

  2. This is the first I’ve really read about the Charlotte Mason approach, other than the name. Thanks! A lot of this rings true for me too.

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