Who and What is the Charlotte Mason Method?
Charlotte Mason was a highly respected Christian British educator in the late nineteenth century. She offered an alternative method of education to the traditional model common in her time. Her methods were often adopted by middle-class parents teaching their children at home and by upper-class families who frequently used governesses. Many schools (mostly private) also implemented her methods with great success.
Charlotte Mason founded the House of Education, a teaching college for governesses in Ambleside, in the Lake District of England. She also wrote a six volume series on educating children. Her books are available today and are known as The Original Home Schooling Series.
Charlotte Mason’s books were well received, for they offered practical teaching ideas and taught the teacher how to give children a generous and rich education. Paramount in Charlotte Mason’s philosophy was fostering children’s relationship and knowledge of God.
“Charlotte Mason’s vision was for a “liberal education for all,” and the practical truth has always been and still is that there is not time to make classics scholars of every pupil, besides the fact that not everyone is suited to such studies. There is time, however, to do more than the “Three R’s,” which are no more than a utilitarian acquisition of basic skills, and to give every student a rich feast of the best knowledge the world has to offer: a liberal or generous education.” Karen Glass, Consider This
Charlotte Mason also emphasised the importance of the home environment, teaching with books and respect for the child. Charlotte Mason’s ideas and methods have been revived with the resurgence of the Christian homeschooling movement. Many home educators have adopted her teaching philosophies and techniques and this is what we call The Charlotte Mason Method.
If you are new to homeschooling I highly recommend you spend some time educating yourself how to use the Charlotte Mason method
Let her teach you how to be a good homeschool teacher. Even though there is a great deal of information about her method on the internet, I’d still like to encourage you to take a more methodical approach. Some good places to start are:
- looking at Charlotte Mason’s Twenty Principles of education
- reading some Charlotte Mason how to homeschool books. My favourite is A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison
- reading her educational manifesto,
- applying some of her teaching techniques to your lessons.
I don’t call myself a Charlotte Mason purist but I have been using her methods for over 12 years and still I continue to find nuggets of gold in her teaching.
Inspired by Charlotte Mason will familiarise you with Charlotte Mason the educator and her core beliefs so you can understand how to implement her ideas and make them suit your homeschool.
Charlotte Mason Teaching Techniques
In brief the Charlotte Mason’s teaching style is based on using real books for teaching children, she called them living books.
Children learnt their spelling, punctuation and grammar from the good models used.
She worked on improving a child’s mind and memory. After readings children were encouraged to tell back at first and later write what they remembered from reading. She called this narration.
Geography and science began by observing nature. She wanted children outdoors when possible learning and studying nature. Science books and geography books were also carefully selected living books. They included biographies and travel guides.
History was taught using historical narratives and not from textbooks. Historical fiction encouraged children to get to know periods of history.
Examinations were not given to work out what a child didn’t know but to work out what they did.
More Charlotte Mason
Reading through my blog you will find oodles of stories of how we have used Charlotte Mason in our homeschool. We also have many resources that support the Charlotte Mason method.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Our Book of Centuries
- Workboxes and Charlotte Mason
- A Nature Walk to the Lily Pond
- Nature Appreciation November Narration
- Australian Picture Study
- Unit Studies Charlotte Mason Might Like
Charlotte Mason &The Australian Curriculum
Fitting these principles into the Australian National Curriculum has required me to think through her philosophy and try to marry it in with her ideas.Here are some of my musings on marrying the Australian curriculum with the CM method.
I have incorporated the Charlotte Mason Method into our Australian homeschooling curriculum guides and outcomes list.