Today is for Reflection: Why the Charlotte Mason Method?

Why the Charlotte Mason method? WHY NOT!!  =)

I remember the first time I read about CM about five years ago that this method just made sense to me. It also sounded more interesting than what I experienced during my school days. I felt like I could give my children a very solid education without it breaking the bank.  I truly believe that coming across CM when I did was an answer to prayer!!

My Favorite aspects of this method:

1.The spiritual foundation
We allow no separation to grow up between the intellectual and ‘spiritual’ life of children, but teach them that the Divine Spirit has constant access to their spirits, and is their Continual Helper in all the interests, duties and joys of life.

2. Using living, whole books and biographies for most subjects instead of text books.

Literature Proper for Children.––This sort of weak literature for the children, both in any story and lesson books, is the result of a reactionary process. Not so long ago the current impression was that the children had little understanding, but prodigious memory for facts; dates, numbers, rules, catechisms of knowledge, much information in small parcels, was supposed to be the fitting material for a child’s education. We have changed all that, and put into the children’s hands lesson-books with pretty pictures and easy talk, almost as good as story-books; but we do not see that, after all, we are but giving the same little pills of knowledge in the form of a weak and copious diluent. Teachers, and even parents, who are careful enough about their children’s diet, are so reckless as to the sort of mental aliment offered to them, that I am exceedingly anxious to secure consideration for this question, of the lessons and literature proper for the little people.

3. Narration
But one who tries this method on himself will find that in the act of narrating every power of his mind comes into play.”

4. Focus on habit training and character
By “education is a discipline,” we mean the discipline of habits, formed definitely and thoughtfully, whether habits of mind or body. Physiologists tell us of the adaptation of brain structures to habitual lines of thought, i.e., to our habits.
5. Nature appreciation/study
Nature Knowledge the most important for Young Children.––It would be well if we all persons in authority, parents and all who act for parents, could make up our minds that there is no sort of knowledge to be got in these early years so valuable to children as that which they get for themselves of the world they live in. Let them once get touch with Nature, and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight through life. We were all meant to be naturalists, each in his degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things
6. Outdoor time
In the first place, do not send them; if it is anyway possible, take them; for, although the children should be left much to themselves, there is a great deal to be done and a great deal to be prevented during these long hours in the open air. And long hours they should be; not two, but four, five, or six hours they should have on every tolerably fine day, from April till October. Impossible! Says an overwrought mother who sees her way to no more for her children than a daily hour or so on the pavements of the neighboring London squares. Let me repeat, that I venture to suggest, not what is practicable in any household, but what seems to me absolutely best for the children; and that, in the faith that mothers work wonders once they are convinced that wonders are demanded of them. A journey of twenty minutes by rail or omnibus, and a luncheon basket, will make a day in the country possible to most town dwellers; and if one day, why not many, even every suitable day?
7. The scope and sequence of language arts
Value of Transcription––The earliest practice in writing proper for children of seven or eight should be, not letter writing or dictation, but transcription, slow and beautiful work, for which the New Handwriting is to be preferred, though perhaps some of the more ornate characters may be omitted with advantage.
Transcription should be an introduction to spelling. Children should be encouraged to look at the word, see a picture of it with their eyes shut, and then write from memory.
8. The wide variety of subjects you are introducing to your children too
Education is the Science of Relations”; that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of––
“Those first-born affinities
“That fit our new existence to existing things.”
But we, believing that the normal child has powers of mind which fit him to deal with all knowledge proper to him, give him a full and generous curriculum; taking care only that all knowledge offered him is vital, that is, that facts are not presented without their informing ideas. Out of this conception comes our principle that,––

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I know this is short (and hopefully sweet) but I just thought it would be fun and not to mention good for me before I start the new school to ponder why it is I use the Charlotte Mason method. Looking back at why I like this method so much helps me to make sure I have the right kind of focus! It also reminds me how grateful and blessed that I am for the opportunity to use this method.

Be Blessed in Christ,
Ångie
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