Category Archives: Thinkable Thursday

Charlotte Mason Series: {Part 2}

This is Part 2 in our series. Click here for the Introduction and Part 1.

The Charlotte Mason Method

Last week, we looked briefly at Charlotte Mason’s beginnings and where her philosophies originated. This week, we are examining the Charlotte Mason method, which can be defined as “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.”

She believed education was an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life, with each of these categories making up one-third of a child’s education.  By “atmosphere,” Mason meant the home environment.  She believed that children absorb a lot from the surroundings in which they grow up.  The ideas that rule the lives of parents, will profoundly impact their children.

Mason emphasized the importance of training children in good habits, with habits that will serve them well as they grow. This is what she meant by “discipline.”  She likened good habits to railroad tracks that parents lay down to enable a child to travel smoothly into adult life.  She believed good habits, especially habits of character, to have such a powerful influence on children that she made them an important part of education.

The other one-third of education, she termed, “life” and meant academics.  Mason believed in living ideas and not just the presentation of dry facts.  Her methods for teaching various subjects are centered around this principle, and also important to note, academics is only one-third of her whole idea of education.

Mason believed these three ideas presented a well-balanced approach to education.  Come back next week as we look more closely at her methods.  Many of them will be recognizable to you.



Charlotte Mason Series: {Part 1}

This is Part 1 in our series. For last week’s introduction, click here.

Who was Charlotte Mason?

 Charlotte Mason was born in England in 1842.  She was orphaned at the age of 16 and became trained as a teacher. During her first 10 years of teaching she developed  a vision of “liberal education for all.”  Nineteenth century England educated children according to social class:  poorer children were taught a trade while wealthier children were educated in fine arts and literature. Mason desired a rich curriculum for all children, regardless of class.

For five years, she taught and lectured at a teacher training center (Bishop Otter Teacher Training College).  Her experiences there convinced her that parents would benefit by understanding basic principles of child rearing.  She gave a series of lectures later published as Home Education and it was well-received.

At the age of almost 50, Mason moved to Ambleside, England and formed the House of Education, a training school for governesses and others working with children.  She continued writing and eventually more collections were published:  Parents and Children, School Education, Ourselves, Formation of Character, and A Philosophy of Education.  More schools adopted her philosophies and methods and Ambleside became a teacher training college.

The Charlotte Mason method is based on the ideas that education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.  Join us next week as we explore more about the Charlotte Mason method.


Charlotte Mason Series: Introduction

The differences however between merely reading an educational work and being trained on the principles laid down in the work are as the difference between seeing a light and being kindled at a flame.

—   Charlotte Mason

Our school is unique in many ways. The hybrid model is unique, as is our curriculum.  There are a lot of classical programs out there and SLO Classical pulls from several different models.  When I first started our home schooling journey, I was a complete stranger to the names I am now familiar with: Maria Montessori, Susan Wise Bauer, and Charlotte Mason just to name a few.  The more I learn about these educational innovators, the more I understand in a new way that what we as a community are doing, how we are educating our children, is actually not new.  It’s a return to a model of education which seeks to educate our children completely—their character, their souls, and their appreciation for beauty, in addition to their intellects.  The learning is rich, connected, and grounded in real stories of real people. As Mason mentioned in the above quote, we are kindling flames.  Over the next few weeks, join us as we visit Charlotte Mason’s principles and philosophies of teaching.  Hopefully it will enrich and inspire your home schooling journey and add to your confidence as a home educator.

Easy World Traveling

One of the many wonderful things about our history-based education is that we have the privilege of learning about far-away places.  Even though we may not physically be able to transport our families across the ocean, we can encourage our children to be world-travelers without leaving the kitchen table.  Click here for simple ways to incorporate geography into our daily life.

Thinkable Thursday

Homeschooling tips–can we ever read too many?    Keep in mind her tips are geared for those just beginning their journey and for full-time homeschooling but, several of the tips are transferrable to anyone.

  • Relax: You’re not having school-at-home; you’re homeschooling
  • Tailor the program to fit your child’s learning style
  • Write out your reasons for homeschooling and educational goals for each subject
  • Give life skills equal status with academic skills
  • Enjoy yourself

Click here to read the full article.