I tell the story all the time. When my oldest son was around two years old I learned about homeschooling and the Charlotte Mason method. I spent much of his early childhood learning as much as I could about homeschooling and implementing a very simple Charlotte Mason preschool with him. Now my homeschool is not 100% Charlotte Mason, but many of her principles remain integral to how I educate my kids. Here are some of my Charlotte Mason ideas for your homeschool.
What is the Charlotte Mason approach?
Charlotte Mason was a British educator in the early 20th century. While reading her original works is recommended, especially Home Education, the language of the books can be difficult to understand.
When I think of the Charlotte Mason, I think of narration, living books, teaching the fine arts, and remembering the motto, “Education is an atomosphere, a discipline, a life.”
This post on Charlotte Mason’s 20 principles is a really good read to get a firm understanding of what all is involved in a Charlotte Mason education.
Charlotte Mason is not about trying to fill a child’s mind full of useless facts that he won’t remember next week, let alone some time later in his life. Instead, the Charlotte Mason method focuses on allowing children to take ownership of their education. The books they read become an integral part of who they area. Through narration, children translate what they’ve read into their own words. It’s really an excellent way of teaching and learning.
I highly recommend you pick up some Charlotte Mason homeschool books and begin your own education by studying the method yourself!
How do you transition to Charlotte Mason in your homeschool?
You can take baby steps toward a Charlotte Mason education, and let me just say, you do not have to go “whole hog” Charlotte Mason. Even if you only implement a few ideas, you can still give your child an excellent education.
I’m going to explain to you some of my favorite aspects of a Charlotte Mason education and how we use them in our homeschool!
One of the easiest things you can begin doing in your homeschool to work toward a Charlotte Mason education is to implement nature study.
Nature study has been so fun for us! We started very simply by observing nature in our own backyard. We looked at the trees and how they changed throughout the seasons. We observed what kinds of seeds they made. We learned the names of our backyard birds and plants.
We’ve kept caterpillars and watched them become butterflies. We have chickens in our backyard right now! We’ve taken care of a myriad of different animals and been involved in growing a garden. Start a nature journal with your kids and see how much it improves your homeschool!
Poetry Tea Time
Have you thought about studying poetry in your homeschool? One of my favorite things to do with my kids is to do poetry tea time. We bake a yummy snack, set the table, and sit around together reading poetry!
Kids learn how to take care of breakable cups and enjoy trying a new treat while getting to know new characters through the poems they read. It’s really a fun experience.
We love bringing in works of the great artists from history and learning about the artists and the stories behind their works. There are no tests here. We do Charlotte Mason picture study by displaying prints of great pieces of artwork around our home and talking about them!
We do something similar with composer study. I’ll play pieces on our Apple Home Pod and we’ll talk about the composers and what inspired their music.
Another way to bring the Charlotte Mason method to your homeschool is through the use of living books. Living literature is amazing! We all have books that have captured our imaginations. We identify with the characters. We feel what they feel. Those are living books!
We love to use living books especially for history. We have read so many good books together during our family read aloud time. I’ve also assigned lots of living books for my kids’ independent reading, and we have used living books for history and science with our My Father’s World curriculum. Add living books to your homeschool and you’ll be well on your way to a Charlotte Mason education!
Charlotte Mason Curriculum
You may be looking at my list above and wondering where to get the materials to pull all of this together. Of course, you can curate everything you need yourself, but there are other options. One of my very favorite resources for Charlotte Mason curriculum is The Homeschool Garden.
I’ve mentioned The Homeschool Garden in many of my homeschool morning basket posts. The plans are based around one central theme and include everything I’ve mentioned above and more!
We’ve added in copywork, memory work, hymns and folksongs, geography, Shakespeare, handicrafts, and a lot of other amazing Charlotte Mason goodness just by using The Homeschool Garden morning time plans.
Our latest morning time plan is 1776. We are studying early American history right now, so this is the perfect addition to our homeschool. My kids are copying parts of the Declaration of Independence, learning about colonial artists and musicians, studying the history, and so much more.
You can learn more about how to take advantage of The Homeschool Garden. I hope you’ll join us!