I’ve been thinking about the theme for the up-coming edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival: What We Love Most About a Charlotte Mason Education.
It sounded at first like one of those “what I did last summer” sorts of writing exercises. But, after some thought, I realized that I owe a lot more than I realized to this thing we call a Charlotte Mason Education and I would love to share my reasons for sticking with this method all through high school with my boys.
1. We love good books. The truth is textbooks are impersonal and living books come from real people. Textbooks can impart a pre-determined set of facts and be flashy and attractive but a good solid living book by an author we can get to know can make more of a lasting impression. Living books are links to the past. Living books tend to stay on our children’s shelves as they grow up as treasures they don’t want to part with.
2. We value our time. In a Charlotte Mason education there is no busy work for students or teachers. For me personally, I know this has made me a better teacher to my children because I have not had to waste time teaching to a test or grading pointless workbook pages. There is time for all the “extras” that seem to get set aside with a more traditional school schedule and set of academic values. I realize now looking back that I have allowed my boys the opportunity to be more rounded students and people. Our family seeks to nurture our children’s interests and with more time in the afternoons for our teens, they have been able to pursue subjects that interest them, to self-educate and explore different topics.You can see some of our high school projects here: Robots, RC Planes, and Gamemaking.
3. Good habits last a lifetime and make life easier. This truly is a case of you will reap what you sow. If you set good habits in place and work at maintaining them over time, things are going to work more smoothly in your home and with your home education. You might like to read this post from my archives: Good Habits Make a Difference.
4. Fresh air and the outdoor life have greatly benefited our family with better physical health and a love for beauty in creation. This can not be duplicated by any other experience. Our children need to be outdoors exploring and dreaming even if it is in their own little backyard. Better still, spending time outdoors with our children can make a deep impression and show them how much we value that breath of fresh air too. As my boys have grown older, there is a certain amount of sacrifice of time to make this happen. We have traded television and video games for hiking, biking, snowboarding, gardening, and long walks with the dog each week. Funny thing is that my boys have no regrets…I was the one worried they were going to be social misfits if they didn’t watch the latest television series or know about the newest game craze.
5. We are much more creative in our lives. Living ideas have helped us to think more creatively and to express that creativity in writing, speaking, and artwork. Great artists and composers have touched our lives and influenced us to seek a higher standard in what we surround ourselves with each day. As a mother, I think that this gift of creativity is like building those good habits….it has an immeasurable influence on our children as they grow to adulthood. You may like to read: Ingredients for Life Long Learner.