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Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Method


Charlotte Mason, known as the founder of the homeschooling movement, wanted all children to develop a love for lifelong learning. As a child she was homeschooled by her parents in England. She made education her life's work after being orphaned at sixteen years of age. As an adult she wrote a six-volume set titled Home Education. She opened many schools for children throughout England and worked with homeschool families through correspondence.

The Mason method incorporates all core subjects, with a strong focal point on the humanities-classic literature, noble poetry, fine arts, crafts, and classical music. Charlotte Mason used the best books, the best music, and the best art possible. A variety of classical literature books are used--she called them "living books". Living books are books of high quality that often include stories of real-life characters a child can easily connect with. Mason spoke highly of the importance of poetry, the enforcing of good habits, the importance of nature diaries and the value of dictation and spelling. She believed that the development of good character and good habits was essential. As the parent models these integral traits and makes use of all teachable moments, the child will develop completely. This method is supports the child's own learning style and abilities.

The structured academic lessons are short and interesting, and last for about an hour a day. When lessons are complete, the child goes out into nature to draw what he observes in what Mason called a "nature diary". By interacting with nature, the child gains a sense of respect for the environment around him. Since the Mason method involves developing a passionate awareness of literature, the young child is read to daily. After reading short excerpts from living books, the child is asked to narrate or tell the adult what they have learned, giving back the information that was just read to them. Narration is casual and natural. It begins as early as age six and by age ten the child is expected be able to write her narrations in her nature notebooks. Narration puts the emphasis on what the child knows, not on what she might have missed. As soon as the child can rename or recite it, she observably knows it. After lessons are complete, the child is given the free time to pursue any and all interests.

This method was developed by a homeschooled student specifically for homeschool students. There is no curriculum to buy; books are available at the public library. It can be used on its own, or it can be used as a supplement to other educational methods.

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