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Monday, January 20, 2014

Homeschool Essentials: Charlotte Mason Style

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

I'm excited about joining in on the 5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials Blog Hop sponsored by the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Day One:

Today, my topic contains info regarding "Homeschooling Methods"
We've spent years changing our ways of homeschooling. Textbooks, boxed curriculum, lapbooking, unit studies to name a few.. After all this we've finally found the one we love the most.
The Charlotte Mason Style of learning.
What is the Charlotte Mason Style?
First we must know who she was...
From Wikipedia "Charlotte Mason was a British educator who invested her life in improving the quality of education in England at the turn of the twentieth century. Her revolutionary methods led to a shift from utilitarian education to the education of a child upon living ideas."
The teaching methods that we use in our homeschooling include:
Living Books:
The use of living books, in every subject possible instead of dry, factual textbooks. A living book is something that is written by one person and not a bunch of people (like in publishing a textbook) Someone with a passion for the topic he/she is writing about. The content should be alive and engaging. She didn't like 'twaddle'. Books or materials that dumbed down or was insulting.
To narrate back what they have just read or learned about. It could be orally, written or drawn and was expected after reading of their material. It's purpose is to focus on what the child has read, drawing attention to details. It also helps them communicate in their own words what they have learned.
Copywork- Handwriting:
Once your child has formed each letter perfectly, they went on to copywork. Taking phrases, sentences, scripture, quotes etc and copying them word for word.

This was not meant to critique but to read, and encourage the children to develop his/her own relationship with the poems and poet. We would learn about one poet and his/her work per year.
One of my favorites in the subjects taught. She wanted the children to learn the content of Shakespeare even in the earlier years of learning.
Designed for children over the age of 10, she used consistent practice in narration, dictation, and copywork to lay the foundation for grammar study. Small lessons each day, letting go of worksheets and drills.
Working on learning 6 artists a year. Studying their work, and life. Studying a picture and then either describing the picture through naration or asking them to draw the outlines of the picture being studied.
Nature Studies:
She encouraged children to spend hours outside exploring nature. They would take along a sketchpad to draw, while labeling the different aspects of nature they observe. Students kept a calendar of the first finds of each season- birds, flowers, and other species were sketched, described, and dated.
Reading the bible everyday to the student in it's content. Memorizing was important to her.
History is taught mainly with living books. Biographies, autobiographies and narration. Also making timelines was something she did with her students.
Just like history, this is taught through living books.

I was a bit intimidated at first on how to approach teaching this style of homeschooling. I love everything that she did, especially using living books, nature studies and simple small grammar and language arts lessons. I just didn't know where to start and I struggled with designing my own lesson plans. I've tried in the past and for me it was so time consuming.
You can check out Simply Charlotte Mason website HERE. This website is full of wonderful resources, teacher planners, and curriculum guides.

After looking through this website though, I still felt overwhelmed until someone mentioned to me a curriculum that followed the Charlotte Mason approach and was already put together for me. I was thrilled to hear about it and couldn't wait to check it out..

Heart of Dakota

Two years ago I was introduced to this curriculum and I fell in love with it. It was exactly what I was needing. It follows her way of teaching using living books on her subjects. I do want to say though that I don't use absolutely everything that it offers. I didn't like her choice of english so I'm using another Charlotte Mason curriculum which I will share in a moment. I also use a different math curriculum (Saxon) as this works well for my kids.. Other than that, we love everything else about the curriculum.

(For the Language Arts we've chosen to supplement by using Queen Homeschool)

Queen Homeschool is another great resource in following this style of teaching. My son loves this selection much better than the one H.O.D offers with a more relaxed approach which I feel follows Charlotte's approach nicely.

So this is the teaching method that has really worked for our family for the past 3 years. I plan to use Heart of Dakota for two more years unless she comes out with more books. We will then look into them for the High School years..

Tomorrow I will be discussing our homeschooling space. Check back to take a peak.... See you then...

Don't forget to check out the other wonderful ladies that have participated in this week's Homeschooling Essentials to see what they've shared... I'm including 9 of the 89 that are participating below.

 Lisa @ A Rup Life
 Jordyn @ Almost Supermom
Jenn @ Teaching Two Stinkers
Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog
 Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy
 Brandi @ Brandi Raae
 Wendy @ Simplicity Breeds Happiness
 Jodi @ Insane in the Mombrain
 Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break 

Click on the link below to see the other blogs participating at:
 5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials Blog Hop



  1. I love CM style homeschooling and do as much as we can!

  2. It's always interesting to learn about the methods other homeschoolers use. Looking forward to reading the rest of your posts this week!

  3. We love the Charlotte Mason method! Thanks for sharing :)

  4. I started out mostly with a classical style, but now I incorporate lots of different ones. I guess that makes me eclectic? How wonderful that you know your own style so well!

  5. We use CM method too. When I was planning this school year last summer, I found, and it's been a huge blessing.

  6. Good topic! I love Charlotte Mason! We blend CM with The Principle Approach- it makes for a lovely combination in our homeschool. :-) ~Heather @ Principled Academy/the Crew

  7. I started out homeschooling in a much more traditional school way. Then I began reading about Charlotte Mason's methods. I love them. I still would consider myself more eclectic, but I use many Charlotte Mason methods.


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