A Charlotte Mason Homeschool
A Charlotte Mason Homeschool explains the ethos and philosophy behind the Footprints on Our Land South African homeschool curricula. This article was written by Wendy to help parents who want to follow a Charlotte Mason approach in their homeschools.
“Charlotte Mason was born in England in 1842 and was primarily educated by her parents at home. She became orphaned at sixteen, and decided at a young age to make education her life's work. During her life, she held many educational positions. What makes Charlotte Mason different from other educators of her time was her sincere love for children, and her concern for their ongoing love of learning. Her methods provide a liberal (generous) education incorporating the humanities, fine arts and great literature.”
Taken from Ambleside Online
Each time I have sat down to work on one of these Footprints programs I have been mindful of one question “Would this make Charlotte Mason smile?” Some may ask why am I so preoccupied with the approval of an educator from over 100 years ago.
My answer would be that I have looked at many schools of thought from unschooling through to Montessori, from accelerated education to school-at-home curriculum providers, but it is only after reading Miss Mason’s
Original Homeschooling Series
, and implementing her methods, have I found fulfilment in my role as facilitator of my children’s education and have seen the educational results that I desire from my children.
Miss Mason was not an advocate for any formal Kindergarten or pre-school programs. In fact whilst understanding the perceived need for a preschool program, she dedicated many pages in her
Original Homeschooling Series
to making us understand that it is not in the child's best interests.
In the Charlotte Mason homeschool there is so much we can teach our children who are of a pre-school age without a “formal” program. So with this goal in mind we set out to give you an informal program with all the information you need at hand for those times when you need it at your fingertips for young inquisitive minds.
As always when discussing the Charlotte Mason homeschool one needs to start outdoors as she says that:
“In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mothers first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet and growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it for the most part spent out in the fresh air.”
So, we sought out books that we feel will open up your child their country around them, hoping that many will be brave enough to make these picture books alive to their children by taking them to the places, to experience with sight, sound and smell the wonderful country that we live in. We discuss her philosophy of nature study in the Enrichment Guide to help you get started in a habit that will last for life!
A Charlotte Mason homeschool uses Living Books to spark the thought environment of living children. She also believes that God is the source of all ideas and that He imparts them and we as parents and educators need to be diligent to feed our children’s minds these great ideas.
Our role in a Charlotte Mason homeschool is to impart the right idea, or connect the child to the right book at the right time or at the moment of his interest. You have 30 - 50 odd books at your disposal that you can use through the study of each of the different Footprints programs
One of Charlotte Mason’s sayings was “Education is a Science of Relations”. Our desire has been for your children to develop an intimacy with literature and our country. The first step towards intimacy with a subject is recognition by a child. A baby is born with the desire and ability to know all manner of things living, inanimate, moving and stationary. The world is his oyster. As the child of six tells you of his own accord about the things he sees and experiences, or takes companions to see his latest find, you will know that that relation is deepening.
For children in our technological world it is important that they seek pleasure in things of beauty and nature. This is one of the great benefits of a Charlotte Mason homeschool.
Older children will have formed many of their own relations already but you should still introduce new ideas to stretch and encourage intimate relations. Aesthetic appreciation follows on from recognition. This will develop to a first hand knowledge, and according to Miss Mason – this is real science. The knowing something intimately – what it feels like, smells like or how that person thinks or feels.
And the purpose of this? “All the time he is storing up associations of delight that will come back for his refreshment when he is an old man.”
Charlotte’s schools had afternoon activities for older students but her principles were applied to all ages from six years old and up.
1. Periods were kept short and concise (20 – 40 minutes)
2. A challenging subject was followed by an easier one
3. No dawdling was allowed which the short period kept under control
4. Children lost the afternoon free play if they didn’t complete their lesson
5. Free afternoons
6. Outdoor nature study weekly at a minimum
7. No homework
8. Long lectures were kept to a minimum
In the PNEU schools, the child of 6 had about 2½ hrs of formal schooling daily, of which ½ hr was games and drills. They had about 13 subjects that they were exposed to: from language arts to social studies and Bible to history and Geography.
Miss Mason added subjects to each year’s advancement and continued to educate the children by books and formal learning activities in the mornings and leaving the afternoons free for nature study and imaginative thinking and crafts. Older children would work up to 5 hrs a day on their different subjects and afternoons were free for nature journaling, art and crafts and other languages.
Books that you can read to find out more about a Charlotte Mason homeschool:
Educating the Wholehearted Child, Clay and Sally Clarkson
A Charlotte Mason Companion
, Karen Andreola
For The Children’s Sake, Susan Schaeffer MaCauley
A Charlotte Mason Study Guide, Penny Gardner
You can also vist Wendy's website and look at her Charlotte Mason articles by using the
l Afrikaans Language Programs
l Entrepreneurial Skills
l Footprints FAQ's
l Free Homeschool Curricula
l Free Printables
l SA Homeschool Events
l Free Ezine
l Home school Help
l Maths Programs
l English Language Programs
l Little Footprints (age 4-8)
l Footprints (age 7-12)
l Preschool (age 3-6)
l About Footprints
l South African Children's Lit. Booklists
l About Us