Home-based Learning (HBL) turned out to be the need of the hour amidst the pandemic, and parents had a challenging time ensuring kids are able to catch up with their online classes, assignments and homework, despite all the distractions.
However, parents who’ve been homeschooling children for a while understood these complexities and were better prepared to handle kids.
While most parents will be happy for kids to go back to school once things go back to normal, there are those as well who will continue to prefer homeschooling.
For parents looking at homeschooling their children, there are many methods to choose from. Since you do not need to replicate the classroom at home, you get the option to pick and choose the salient bits that help you educate your child.
One of the more common methods for homeschooling are the Charlotte Mason principles.
She was a British educator in the nineteenth century and had a different approach towards education– emphasising good habits and noble ideas.
But how does the Charlotte Mason method work and how does it help with your child’s education? We break it down for you.
What Is The Charlotte Mason Method?
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The Charlotte Mason method believes that we should educate an individual as a whole and not just their mind. Mason believed that education is three-pronged – atmosphere, discipline and life.
Mason said that a child absorbs a lot from their home environment with the parents contributing one-third to the child’s education, thus referring to the atmosphere.
With respect to discipline, Charlotte said that cultivating good habits in your child made up another one-third of their education.
The final one-third came from life itself. She believed that educators should give children living thoughts and ideas, and not just facts.
Charlotte Mason Principles: Living Education
Learning is an ongoing process and does not stop with schooling. Charlotte believed that it was a lifestyle with its own built-in reward.
It is as much about parents nurturing their kids’ education, as it is about kids making the effort to learn and self-educate.
Charlotte believed in living books rather than standard textbooks. These are books that are well-written and have a story or a narrative that the writer is passionate about. This makes the book come alive.
By reading such books, students surround themselves with vivid writings that evoke emotion and draw the reader to the story. So, for students wanting to learn different subjects, living books examples include:
History: Using biographies, source documents, well-written history books, which students learn in chronological order.
Languages: Students learn about a language through narration, copy work and dictation.
Science: Students learn about science by nature study and as a means to know and come close to God.
Creating the right atmosphere
The method emphasises creating the right environment for learning. This includes exposing kids to great music, art, literature and nature.
It also encourages children to use their leisure time to engage in an activity like knitting, needlework, woodworking or beading.
Mason also believed that the secret to life is that ‘everything is connected,’ and the child makes the connections for themselves based on their learnings. Charlotte was a woman of deep faith and had a Christian worldview.
She believed that education enriches our relationship with God, as well as ourselves, ideas, work and creation. Having said that, her principles are also adopted by those from different faiths.
Following The Charlotte Mason Principles
Here are some more details you should know about following the Charlotte Mason principles:
The Charlotte Mason method delays formal education till the age of six years until the child is developmentally ready.
Children use living books at any age instead of compartmentalising them on a grade level.
Students need to recite and narrate what they read in the books in their own words to ensure they’ve grasped the concept.
Students need not take tests like match the following or multiple-choice responses. Instead, they need to explain what they’ve learnt by reading the living books by making a co-relating the books with their mind.
Instead of the standard way of teaching handwriting skills, the Charlotte Mason principles use passages from great books that communicate ideas and not just words.
The copy work also doubles up as handwriting practice while providing attention to grammar and sentence structure.
The method also encourages spending more time outdoors and learning the ways of nature.
Children get exposed to a number of books from different sources including Shakespeare and the Bible from a young age while emphasising full attention that helps children remember things.
The method also removes unnecessary repetition and homework.
The Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Timetable
The Charlotte Mason principles stress the importance of spending time outdoors as much as indoors between books. They also try to use interesting learning materials instead of using books that are only objective and boring.
The method recommends completing the academics in the morning and then involve more physical activity in the afternoon in the child’s schedule. Here’s what an average Charlotte Mason homeschooling day would look like:
9.00-9.20 am – Math
9.20-9.40 am – Handwriting
9.40-10.00 am – History
10.00-11.00 am – Read aloud literature
11.00-12.00 noon – Lunch
12.00 noon – Drill
12.20-12.40 pm – Science
12.40-1.00 pm – Grammar
1.00-1.20 pm – Latin or music or art appreciation or poetry or P.E.
1.20-2.00 pm – Map Work and read-aloud work by children
Reserve afternoons after nature trails and spending time outdoors.
Image Source: Pexels
Pros Of Following The Charlotte Mason Principles
It allows students to be creative, expressive with an emphasis on arts.
Lessons are short in the morning and children have more time to play and learn throughout the rest of the day.
The Charlotte Mason method does not have any tests. Students need to narrate, dictate and discuss each topic.
Cons Of Following The Charlotte Mason Principles
Parents need to buy a variety of living books and more to teach children under this method.
These books can get too expensive, especially the good ones.
Daily walks and nature trails may not be feasible every day.
It may pull the student out of regular learning channels too much.
It pays little emphasis on higher education.
Applying the Charlotte Mason method is a personal choice and completely depends on how you can make it more attractive for your child’s educational needs. You can also mix it up with traditional education methods to keep your child ready for higher education and future goals.