Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason was a British educator who had a love for children and wanted to instill in them good habits and a love of learning. Her motto for children was, "I am, I can, I ought, I will."

Here are some elements of a Charlotte Mason education:

Living books - Living books are written by a single person with a passion for the subject. These are the kind of books you get lost in because they stimulate the imagination and make the subject come alive.

Ms. Mason opposed the use of predigested text books and dumbed down books she referred to as "twaddle". She believed parents should cultivate good tastes in children and help them enjoy great literature.

Copywork - Copywork involves copying passages from good literature as a method of learning spelling, grammar, writing structure and handwriting.

Dictation - Dictation involves writing a passage that is read aloud, being mindful of proper capitalization and punctuation.

Narration - Narration is retelling a story that was read aloud. It is a form of reading comprehension that focuses on what the child knows instead of what he or she doesn't know.

Narration improves a child's concentration and ability to recall information. It is done orally in the early years, and in writing beginning around age 10.

Short Lessons - Ms. Mason believed in short lessons that prompt children to focus and allow them to study a broad range of subjects such as French, music and art appreciation. Lessons can take 10-15 minutes in early years, 30 min in middle school, and an hour in high school.

Nature Study - Ms. Mason believed children should be outdoors daily, and take weekly nature walks. On these walks children can observe, identify, sketch and collect nature. Magnifying glasses, field guides, bug jars, sketch pads and art pencils will come in handy on nature walks.

For More Information:

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Catherine Levison, author of A Charlotte Mason Education. In this interview, Ms. Levison shared her expertise in CM homeschooling and offered advice for implementing CM homeschool methods.

Here are the full transcripts of part 1 and part 2 of our interview.

Here's some information about choosing CM curriculum, along with links to reviews written by other homeschoolers.

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