Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy has come to life through the Christian homeschool movement. For the Children’s Sake is one of my favorite homeschool resources about Charlotte Mason.
I’d like to share a little about what she believed. But more importantly, I want to share how we used her ideas in our homeschool. Hopefully, you can swipe a few ideas for yourself.
Charlotte Mason made a few discoveries about the state of education in the 1800’s.
- Educators believed children were containers to dump information into.
- Real books were no longer being read. Instead “twaddle” was popular.
- Habits were not being formed in children.
- Educators engineered artificial learning experiences.
- Students could not think for themselves.
4 R’s of Charlotte Mason Homeschool
Ms. Mason used these discoveries as she developed her own plan to educate children. Here are a few of her ideas that you can implement in your homeschool. I call them the 4R’s of Charlotte Mason!
Respect Children as Persons
Our kids are made in the image of God. They have worth as a child of God. We should treat them with respect. Parent’s authority does not give them license to abuse children or play on their emotions. Neither should parents limit their child’s education or use fear to make a child learn.
In your homeschool, I would encourage you to create good habits & routines in your kids. Those habits will lay the foundation of learning in the future. Routines often show respect for your kids. Everyone knows what to expect when there is a routine in your family.
Real Life Situations
Our homeschools should relate to real life as often as possible. It should not be like a factory, with artificial rewards when you meet goal.
A few ways we might included real life learning situations:
Discovering God’s creation through nature walks (science, research)
Running a family business (math, money, writing, art, language arts)
Cooking (math, science, reading)
Gardening (science, math)
Discovering God’s creativity, goodness & beauty in museums (art, music, language, reading)
Read Good Books
Charlotte Mason believes children should read great books, not distilled information found in textbooks. Textbooks strip away the meat of living books, leaving dust-dry bones of facts. Who wants to read that? I certainly don’t.
We chose books with living ideas to read aloud as a family. Books like Johnny Tremain, Swiss Family Robinson and The Hobbit. I tried to vary the types of literature we read because we have a variety of interests in our family.
When children are young, have them narrate the story back to you. As they get older, they can write down their narration. When my kids were teens, we kept a journal about the books we were reading.
Relax & Rest
If you’ve heard me talk about raising our kids to be Christian leaders, you’ve heard me say the most important thing for you is to relax. We live in an over-productive society where getting a job or degree is the most important aspect of education.
But God wants us to rest in Him.
Stop worrying about finishing a curriculum. If we didn’t finish a particular book or resource, we continued in September. It wasn’t a big deal to spend 2 years instead of 1 year for a curriculum.
As I mentioned in last week’s workshop, I relaxed when it came to Math. (And I have a minor in Math. I enjoy math.) However, I realized it was more important for me to relax when it came to math. How did I relax?
- Ashley did not complete Algebra 2 (but she finished her college degree in 2 years)
- Gentry did not do her math curriculum in 7th grade. When she started math again, I handed her the times table chart and said she could use it any time she needed. Within a year, she memorized all the facts. She now helps her college friends in math.
- Hunter did not have formal math from 1st to 5th grade. He caught up those 5 “grades” of math in 1 year. He received a math award in high school.
Don’t feel like you need to do everything that you think the other moms are doing. Rest in God! Relax!
I think this sums up a Charlotte Mason approach to Christian homeschooling.
Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life(style).
This post is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to giving your kids a Charlotte Mason education. To get more details about using Charlotte Mason’s approach to education (or your homeschool), check out our Charlotte Mason Tool Kit.
Question: How do you implement Charlotte Mason concepts in your homeschool? You can leave a comment by clicking here.