The Charlotte Mason Method of Education
"Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education."
It is no secret that I have a deep love for most of the teachings and ideals in home education that come from Charlotte Mason. In fact, the first 2 years of our homeschool journey was mostly Charlotte Mason and since I have seen the benefits of both Classical and Charlotte Mason, I have desperately tried to figure out a way to combine both. In fact, this year through prayer and listening to the whispers that God has placed on my heart, I am incorporating more Charlotte Mason. But, I will save that for another post.
Today I want to introduce you to a sweet friend I have had the privilege of knowing through social media (one of my very favorite aspects of Instagram is getting to know those who are walking a similar journey—truly a treasure). Amanda Grant and her sweet family inspire me daily in her posts on how well she incorporates Charlotte Mason into the hands-on homeschool approach with her children. Not only are her pictures beautiful and inspiring, but so practical and fun! She captures the beauty of living a Charlotte Mason Education in such a wonderful way. I know you will be inspired to hear what she has to say and you will love the resources she has to share!
Tell us a little about your family, how many children do you have and what are their ages?
-I have three kids. Dexter is 7, Addison is 5, and Reese is 1.
How long have you been homeschooling and what made you decide you wanted to homeschool?
-1 year. I actually never even considered homeschooling until I stumbled upon this very blog. It was just the spark of inspiration I needed to take the plunge and dive deeper into the world of possibility with homeschooling.
How would you describe your homeschool style?
-Flexible Charlotte Mason. I try to stay true to her methods, but if something else is working for us, I'm not going to mess with it.
How do you best describe Charlotte Mason to someone who has never heard of her Method of learning? What are the appealing aspects of Charlotte Mason in regards to homeschool?
-Charlotte Mason means using living books (no textbooks or workbooks), narration, copywork, nature studies, foreign language, as well as art and music study.
-The appealing aspects of this method for our family are the short lessons, reading a lot of great literature, lots of time outdoors, placing art and music in equal regard as math and reading, and adding in an overall focus on character building.
-For anyone interested in learning more about Charlotte Mason, I highly recommend the book, "For The Children's Sake" and the podcast, "A Delectable Education."
Do you use one main curriculum or a mix of several?
-Our core curriculum is "Wildwood." For math, my son uses Beast Academy. He's a little advanced in this area and the comic book set up appeals to him. My daughter will be using Charlotte Mason Living Math from Simply Charlotte Mason, which has a much more gentle approach to math.
How did you land on your style of education and curriculum for your family?
-I took a homeschool style quiz and my result was Charlotte Mason. After reading up on it, I joined a CM Facebook group where Wildwood was mentioned. It was a brand new curriculum at the time and I loved how easy their website was to navigate. I was considering Ambleside before this but found their site completely overwhelming. (But I still use Ambleside as a resource!)
Do you attend any co-ops/community groups/nature study groups/field trip groups?
-We found an amazing local group of homeschool friends that plan SO many field trips and events. I actually think we will cut back to only doing field trips once a week this upcoming year because we do better having more of a routine/rhythm at home.
What does a typical homeschool day look like in your home?
-Breakfast and morning chores are done first thing and then we start our school day at 9. We get most of our schoolwork finished in the morning and then try to go outside for the rest of the day. Later in the afternoon/evening, they do handicrafts and music lessons before dinner starts.
What do you do with your toddler while you are working on school work with the other kids?
-She plays with her toys until she starts to fuss and then I rotate through a list of toddler activities like painting with water, or edible play dough. That sometimes buys us enough time, but we usually have to finish math during nap time.
Do you have a certain start and stop times, or are you flexible throughout your day?
-My kids and I crave structure, so we have a timetable schedule we follow. I've tried to be a go-with-the-flow gal a couple of times and it always ended up being chaos.
Do you homeschool year round, or just 9ish months out of the year?
-Just the nine months. We still do a bit of math and a little writing during the summer, but it's a lighter load.
What have been some of your biggest challenges in homeschooling your children?
-The bad moods. We all get them, I know I sure do... but when a bad mood turns into a bad day, it can keep me up at night wondering what I should have done differently. Luckily, the good days outweigh the bad!
How do you keep your sanity as a homeschool Mom?
-Having a creative outlet helps me a lot. I really love baking and decorating cakes and cookies.
What do you feel is the biggest homeschool misconception?
-Socialization! My kids socialize regularly with people of all ages- not just during lunch break with a class of 30 kids all exactly the same age. Forced association is not socialization.
What would you say is the biggest reward in homeschooling your family?
-How close we are as a family and how supportive my husband has been with all of this. I have a lot of unusual ideas and I was worried he would think this was one of them, but he's been nothing but understanding and helpful. Also, I'm so grateful for the homeschool friends they've made (and myself!).
What is your current favorite homeschool resource?
-The Delectable Education Podcast and all of the inspiring homeschool accounts on instagram.
Do you read-a-loud as a family, if so, what is your favorite read-a-loud books?
-The Harry Potter series. We started the first book this summer and I'm hoping to read one book from the series together each summer because I'm all about traditions.
How do you balance homeschool and family life or outside extra curricular’s?
-Still working on it! After reading Simplicity Parenting, I feel cutting back on extra activities will help with this. Fewer field trips and team sports will equal more time for me to get things done without feeling like I'm struggling to keep my head above the water and will also allow more time for outside unstructured play.
If you could give one piece of advice to a Mom who is contemplating homeschooling her children, what would you say?
-Take your time to research, but don't let fear or being overwhelmed stop you.
Do you feel inspired and ready to jump in and reclaim your childhood and education all over again yet? This series has been super helpful in getting me motivated and excited about our school year and I hope you feel the same way! We have a couple more posts in this series, if you have questions you would like input on in one of the homeschool models, feel free to email me— email@example.com or PM me over on Instagram— @happylittlemessblog. Your questions and comments are encouraging as we go through this journey together. :)
Here are links to several of the resources Amanda mentioned above. Follow her over on Instagram @townhouse_schoolhouse to get some Charlotte Mason homeschool inspiration!