Welcome to The Heart of the Matter’s 10 Days of Homeschooling blog hop! Over the course of ten posts in ten days (Am I CrAzY?), I’m going to do my best to introduce you to the Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling and how I somewhat eclectically incorporate it into my homeschool. I hope you’ll stop by every weekday over the next two weeks to learn about the rich and meaningful learning that makes a Charlotte Mason education so enjoyable.
First, just in case you’re new to my blog, I’ll take just a minute to introduce myself. I’m Cindy West, wife to Steve and mom to Mahayla (14), Caleb (10) and Eli (4). We live on a cattle farm in Central KY which is an awesome setting for tons of homeschooling opportunities and rambunctious students! I co-own Shining Dawn Books where my partner, Melissa Leach, and I write NaturExplorers studies and other “living” curricula. I love encouraging homeschooling moms to embrace every moment with their children by making their time together meaningful and enjoyable.
Okay, on to the really good stuff…
Just who or what is Charlotte Mason?? Charlotte Mason was a 19th century British educator who believed education was “an atmosphere, a discipline and a life.” She believed in teaching children in ways that encouraged curiosity and enthusiasm, while at the same time expecting excellence in many areas – even more areas than most curricula expect. Her philosophies are still fresh today, especially among homeschoolers who use them unfailingly to raise bright, resourceful children.
Today, I’d like to focus on WHY our homeschool follows the Charlotte Mason style. I’ll get into the nitty-gritty of CM particulars over the course of this series, but today I want to write about the ooey-gooey, mushy feelings that make this method of homeschooling my primary style.
Through such things as reading living books with my children, teaching them handicrafts and enjoying nature together, there’s a sort of “life is school” attitude that’s had me hooked from the beginning. Lessons are gentle and conducive to sitting on the couch all snuggled up.
I had been a public school teacher previously and saw so many precious children who could have thrived if their moms and dads would’ve simply taken the time to love up on them during lessons. (Homework, of course.) As much as I tried, as their classroom teacher I couldn’t love on every single student every day – making school work and home work sterile and uninviting. I knew from the moment I started homeschooling that a loving, encouraging, anything-but-sterile environment was what I wanted to create for my children.
After reading Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s For the Children’s Sake when my oldest was five years old, I knew I had found the answer! It was possible to “do school” with the sweetness that I had envisioned. And the author spelled it out for me in such a way that built my confidence enough in reading that short little book to carry me through schooling with the CM style nine years later!
Little did I know in the beginning how much more blessed our school would become using this approach. For example, one major added bonus to this “gentle style of learning” (and there are lots of bonuses) includes lessons that are short and sweet, which allows more time for the extras of life. Those extras including: time for my kids to be kids, time to explore personal interests, time to take 4-H classes, and even time for running errands. Blessings indeed!
Don’t be fooled, though! All this gentle, loving, short and sweet talk doesn’t equal up to a less than superior education. On the contrary, I have been able to offer my children very challenging material, and lots of it. It’s actually because of the simplicity and sweetness that we have more time to dive deep, tackle tough stuff and take outside classes that we otherwise wouldn’t have the time to do!
Okay, enough for today. Snuggles, sweetness, time for kids to be kids, AND real learning…Have I convinced you about how wonderful a CM education is yet? During the rest of the series, I’ll write about each of the key characteristics that make a Charlotte Mason education work! Tomorrow’s topic: Living Literature.
Be sure to visit these brilliant women in this 10 days adventure between February 7th-18th!
10 days of socialization for mom | The Homeschool Chick
10 days of classical education | Milk & Cookies
10 days of large families | Chocolate on My Cranium
10 days of special needs | Special Needs Homeschooling
10 days of struggling learners | Homeschooling the Chaotic Family
10 days of homeschooling girls | Homegrown Mom
10 days of homeschool enrichment | Confessions of a Homeschooler
10 days of building a spiritual legacy | Mommy Missions
10 days of frugal homeschooling |The Happy Housewife
10 days of Charlotte Mason | Our Journey Westward
10 days of unschooling | Homeschooling Belle
10 days of organization | Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom
10 days of getting started | Blog, She Wrote
10 days of homeschooling boys | The Tie That Binds Us
10 days of homeschooling Montessori | Fruit in Season
10 days of preschool | Delightful Learning
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