Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Charlotte Mason Education (and) More Charlotte Mason Education--by Catherine Levison

Charlotte Mason's Original Homeschooling Series, published in the early 1900's and rediscovered in this country by the Andreola family during the homeschool boom defines her educational methods in her own words; however, they're written by a woman who loved Shakespeare, and the six volumes contained in it read like Latin to most 21st century people. Her language is beautiful, but some find it inscrutible.
Mrs. Levison, a member of the 21st century, follows Charlotte Mason's educational ideals, having read her books, and shares how she uses these methods in her own home in A Charlotte Mason Education. Written topically, the book contains 20 chapters (each of which are 2-3 pages in length), introduces parents to this style of homeschooling and covers the following topics: Charlotte Mason, The Method in Brief, Narration, Literature, Poetry, Composition, Handwriting, Spelling, Foreign Language, Grammar, Science, Math, Art Appreciation, Music Appreciation, Free-Time Handicrafts, Bible, History, Geography, Citizenship and Morals and (finally) The Formation of Habit. If a parent becomes perplexed by narration, for example, she can turn to the chapter with this title and read a brief synopsis on how it can be practiced.
The second book, More Charlotte Mason Education, introduces tools and practical information not included in the previous book, such as "Coping Strategies" (during times of illness or burnout), "High School" (yes, you can!) "Keeping a Century Book," "How Short Lessons are Applied" and other helpful topics. Again, a parent can turn to an area of interest and read a helpful chapter.
By the 2nd book, Mrs. Levison taught her 5 children using Charlotte Mason's ideas, and graduated at least one of those from high school. In spite of writing her books in order to make these ideas accessible, she (and all other Mason devotees) strongly recommends that parents read Miss Mason's Original Homeschooling Series, for themselves.
I fully agree.
Let me know if you have any questions about how I apply these ideas to my homeschooling, and I'd love to hear from any of you using this method who would like to share something from your own experience.