It’s a book based on the Charlotte Mason method of teaching, which I’ll be honest, from what I had heard I assumed was a category I didn’t fall in to. However as I glanced through the book, I found that there was more that I agreed with Charlotte Mason than that I didn’t.
She promotes “living books” (good classic literature), narration (the child retelling the story back to you), expecting a lot out of students without comparing them with one another, the importance of free-play and allowing children to achieve at their own pace, while not comparing them with their peers. She is a great advocate for children as people and individuals, and the importance of them being treated accordingly.
She is strong in literature-based education, which I also agree with, but maybe not quite as much as she does.
Some of the quotes from this book that struck me were: (there are quite a few)
“School is only one of the influences in children’s lives. It can often be that a strong, rich home life with Christian teaching and understanding more than offsets the ‘center of gravity’ at a secular school”
“Once the habit of reading his lesson-books with delight is set up in a child, his education is not completed, but ensured; he will go on for himself in spite of the obstruction which school too commonly throws his way.”
“After the child’s needs of love and nourishment are provided for the child plays.” Charlotte Mason says “organized games are not play in the sense we have in view. Boys and girls must have time to invent episodes, carry on adventure, live heroic lives, lay sieges and carry forts, even if the fortress be an old armchair; and in these affairs the elder must neither meddle not make.”
“Certain factors encourage play. It is often easier home-based than institution based. There should be space, and lots of free time. Children need to be outdoors (for hours). They need to make noise, mess, and to have access to raw materials. They need privacy from intruding adults, but they need interested support in quarrels, thinking of another way around a problem, providing food, and, at the end, bringing thing children tactfully back into the world where supper is read, the camp has to be packed up, children are tired and ready for the soothing routine of evening stories. Grown-ups need time if their life is to support this kind of play. The children have to matter more than the furniture (but children don’t mind at all to sticking to the boundaries).”
“Expect high standards, but let them be appropriate to the individual who is progressing at his own rate of development. Make the lesson a short one, so the inattention does not become a habit.”
“Charlotte Mason’s ideas are especially needed by deprived children today, the ones who are bored. It is a challenge to us to keep alive the eagerness the nine-month old child displays when a cupboard is left open. Life is just too interesting for boredom!!”
These are only a few (and are primarily from the first few chapters of the book), it’s a great read. I recommend it for ALL parents, not just homeschooling parents, she has some great points and ideas about the training up of children in general and my eyes were opened to a lot of areas that need to change in my behavior and approach on parenting.
Another Charlotte Mason Books:
“A Well Trained Mind” (I haven’t read but heard great things, and I was informed by a reader this is not a Charlotte Mason but a Classical Education book) Still a good book, but not the same :)
As I researched more and more, I see that there are a lot of Charlotte Mason resources out there that can be utilized in our home school and learning processes. Here is some of what I’ve found.
Charlotte Mason Help: Practical ways to apply the lofty ideas of Charlotte Mason in your home and school. They had a section on copywork pointers which I found helpful. Kindergarten program and book suggestions I found here.
Ambleside Online: a free homeschool curriculum designed to be as close as possible to the curriculum that Charlotte Mason used in her own private and correspondence schools.
Simply Charlotte Mason explains that the Charlotte Mason Technique is “A method of education popular with homeschoolers in which children are taught as whole persons through a wide range of interesting living books, firsthand experiences, and good habits.” I particularly liked the page on Memorization Techniques
All About the Charlotte Mason Technique on Squidoo includes quotes, elements, subjects, curriculum options and more.
I know that there are TONS more out there, so anything you know or would like to pass along would be appreciated, I’ll add them to my list.