Not all Charlotte Mason homeschoolers grow up to be artists, writers, and poets. They don’t all have tea parties, live on farms with chickens, or quote Shakespeare by heart. They don’t all knit hats, read old digital books, and bake their own bread. Not every CM child is going to be a quiet reader who narrates everything with ease and many are not interested in artists and composers and they don’t all own a nature journal beautifully illustrated with watercolors. All those activities are choices to be made by individual families but all by themselves they do not make your homeschool a Charlotte Mason homeschool. They are not what defines a Charlotte Mason style education.
Charlotte Mason stressed the idea that education was more than books and specific activities. In my opinion, she was showing us how to educate our children for life….Education is a Life. The idea was to educate the whole person in order to have an abundant life. If we remember that a Charlotte Mason homeschool is defined not by the activities we offer but by keeping the principles in mind, we can all help our children to experience more than a lifestyle as depicted in a book.
I think that more than anything else Charlotte Mason was hoping that parents and teachers would take the time to allow children to have the life they were meant to live, to offer experiences and nurture interests while opening up to them a world of ideas and thoughts far beyond the reaches of their everyday lives. Charlotte Mason described it as opening a gate to the world for our children (volume 3). Today our world looks very different than the era Charlotte Mason lived in so it only makes sense that our activities and interests would reflect a different era altogether. We should not be trying to recreate an early 20th century education but take the principles and apply them as they make sense in the 21st century.
Charlotte Mason homeschoolers grow up to be interesting and vibrant people full of life. It is a way of educating that opens up whatever world your family has in front of it and then beyond. (You can read about how I implement this with nature study in this entry: Nature Study in Ripples.)
Education is a Life is more than a motto in our family.
I find it interesting that many families decide when reaching high school that they are going to shed their Charlotte Mason ways and go more traditional. They don’t think they have time to keep their Charlotte Mason principles in place. Our family would have missed out on a lot of good stuff if we had taken that road instead of staying the course with our Charlotte Mason educating ways. I have tried to keep in mind that we are still educating for a life and not a lifestyle in high school.
So what did our homeschool life look like this week?
- Wide Variety of Reading – This week I saw quite a few different books in Mr. B’s hands, both as part of his regular school work and those he read in his free time.
- Narration – Written notebook pages, timelines, oral telling back of his reading, drawings for his nature journal, keeping notes for his up-coming essay.
- Handicrafts, Hobbies, Life Skills, Habits – Baking, building with Legos, juggling practice, sketching. Bible study with family and congregation, learning to drive, map reading, following the elections, keeping to his schedule and completing work on time, jumping a dead car battery, learning to read a credit report, laundry, volunteer work.
- Art, music, nature study, poetry – Shared all four as a family this week as part of our everyday life. A little Paul Klee, Francis Poulenc, hiking and gardening, and reciting of various (silly) poems in response to things that come up in our family=making mom laugh.
You can read another one of my entries on this topic: Education is a Life – Truly Home Educating.
I am submitting this entry to the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival and if you have any entries you would like to submit, you can send them to this email address: [email protected].
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