Home School Treasures

Charlotte Mason Methods

Who was she? What are the methods?

Charlotte Mason was a turn-of-the-century British educator who not only impacted those in education in her own time, but is also impacting education now. The Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola is our favorite resource book. It's a lovely book that presents the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education and makes it easy to read and understand. This book also contains practical applications of Miss Mason's ideas and principles, along with Karen's wisdom gained over the years of implementing these ideas in her own family's life. See brief descriptions of the methods below.

Charlotte Mason herself wrote 6 volumes of books on education, entitled "The Original Home School Series", which have been re-published, complete and unabridged. This $60 set is available from Amazon and also online free. Click Here —>Charlotte Mason to purchase from them. You may also find used copies of the original series and the CM Companion as well on the above CM links. The Charlotte Mason - Original Home Schooling Series is available online free at This link.

Because Charlotte Mason's original series were written long ago, you may find they contain difficult reading, having been written by an English woman at the end of the 19th century with "very proper" language, Karen's book is especially needful in "unlocking" many of Charlotte Mason's ideas, making them understandable and easier to integrate into our lives and with whatever curricula we may be using.

Charlotte Mason is best known for:

Narration:
This is best described as a child 'telling' or 're-telling' what they have just learned, read, or what has been read to them. Narration can also describe 'writing in their own words what they've just learned'. Charlotte believed that the child must "own" the knowledge before they have actually learned the material. For instance, a child telling in their own words what the Preamble of the Constitution means has far more knowledge of it than the child who can merely quote it or has only memorized it. Narration is not an original idea of Charlotte Mason. It was also practiced by many educators during and before her time. The practical methods of implementing narration suggested by the Andreola's book are of immeasurable help.

Twaddle Free Books:
These are also known as 'living books'. This term describes books that do not 'talk down' to a child. They are books, such as autobiographies, journals and diaries, which are first-hand accounts of events. They are books that include, now and then, words that the child might not know the definition or meaning. Unfamiliar words stimulate and often excite a child while also introducing them to something new. A 'living book' is one that is written by an author who, most likely, has a real love for the subject or topic, as opposed to an author who is just 'writing for profit'. Twaddle-free books are those books that stimulate the reader's interest by teaching them about the person or subject at hand making the reader thirst for more which is usually not the case with most, rather boring, text books.

Overschooling/Unschooling:
Many parents who homeschool their children by these methods use Charlotte Mason's principles. Their main goal in the education process is to avoid the force feeding of numerous facts, memorizing them with very little retention if any, and replace with more reading, a learning atmosphere, and an environment suitable to aid children in the learning process. A great learning environment would be one that includes a large, easy accessible home-library.

Natural Creativity & Curiosity:
Statistically our government-run public school system has proven that these wonderful traits can be easily destroyed in the average child by the 3rd or 4th grade. Charlotte has helped us to see how to aid and stimulate these God-given traits, which includes a natural desire to learn--that all children are born with and which, sadly, are pushed aside in most public school settings. Beware of bringing the public school method of teaching into your home! Are you are using workbooks after workbooks and fill-in-the-blanks? Are you having your child memorize a lot of facts for the next test, only to memorize more for the next test and so on? If so, there is a good chance that you've merely brought the public school methods home and only changed the curriculum to reflect your convictions. There IS a better way!

There is so much more to say about Charlotte Mason. The CM philosophy can stand alone as an educational program providing one either has a good home library or access to one. CM's philosophy can also be integrated to enhance any curriculum. The Charlotte Mason Companion will help bring you peace and confidence. I love the fact that upon implementing Charlotte Mason's ideas, the result for my own family was 'instant fruit' in my children's retention of what they were learning and it brought them a joy in learning and reading that I'd not seen in them before. A problem solver from burn-out !

This is only but a small portion of the wisdom from Charlotte Mason's methods. I hope you find the article links an aid as we, by the Grace of God, pursue excellence in the education of our children !

Our Prayer is that everyone seek God's wisdom in meeting our children's educational needs so that we may allow their 'natural bents and gifts' to develop and blossom.

If you are a new homeschooler you may find our Beginning HS'ers Page and the Free & Unique Resource List very helpful.

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