All posts filed under: Homeschooling

For the Children’s Sake-Please Stand Aside! by Shannon Whiteside

Implementing Charlotte Mason’s principles into my homeschool in the past several years has been a journey of releasing educational ideas that I once held dear. As I learn more through conferences, books and blogs, I fine-tune my practices to be more in line with Mason’s philosophy and methods. The most recent principle that I have been applying more intentionally is the art of standing aside and letting my children take responsibility for their education. This has been hard for me because I was a classroom teacher for seven years and my job was to be the talking head. I remember the first time I read the following quote, “Whereby teachers shall teach less and scholars shall learn more” (Vol. 6., p. 8). That did not make sense to my educational paradigm. How am I supposed to leave the analyzing, summarizing and thinking to the children? What if they miss something? What if they don’t make the connections? Mason said that “wise and purposeful letting alone is the best part of education” (Vol. 3, p.128). This …

Seeing Children as Persons by Melody Poli

Homeschooling my children is a humbling experience. It should be. I was brought low when reading Mason’s ideas about the Sacredness of Personality.   This idea slapped me awake, and I saw my shortcomings. But, what immediately followed the realization of my shortcoming was the hope that I could see coming by reading Mason’s words. I put my fist on these ideas and made them hold still while I understood what to change and slowly the shift in my understanding began. In the case of my husband and me, homeschooling was not a glimmer of a thought until my firstborn was 5. For the conviction to be upon us both was confirming and we ventured forth in complete ignorance. Anyone can teach! The answer to that is NO! Thank God Charlotte Mason tells us to get out of the way and let the children sit with the masters; and this wise advice has probably saved my children from much stress and burn out. Even so, we are home, together, a lot, and I am scaffolding children …

Lessons from a Long Season by Maura Timko

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” Ecc 3:1 It’s been a long, cold winter in the Great Lakes region of the US. In Ohio, where I live, it has been a season of record cold and snowfall. There have been so many school cancellation days, our state government was forced to add more, so as not to extend the school year beyond the middle of June. The Vernal Equinox was last week. Yet, I see neither bud nor flower in my little yard. Even as I am writing, the snow continues to fall in great, blowing swirls. This time of year, I always find myself saying, “Enough, already!” I am so weary of winter. “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecc 3:11 Some seasons are bright and flowering, others rainy, green and filled with newness. Another season may have the pale beauty of a world washed in white, or of a vibrant, multi-colored quilt stretched across the woods. The Word of God tells me that …

A First-Time Mother’s Perspective By Emily Kiser

I started studying the educational method of Charlotte Mason about 8 years ago, primarily to assist my mother who had always wanted to read the educator’s own words but being blind had no accessible copy available to her.  Neither Braille nor audio version existed and since she was (and still is) in the process of educating my younger brothers at home, in the manner Miss Mason laid out, I was keen to help.  A secondary benefit to studying Mason’s method was as an aid to the 50 or so homeschooling families using the private lending library my mother and I had started.  I tell you all this as a little background information and to set the stage for my own admiration of our great mentor’s ideas. Until last April when I got married, I was a single woman, living at home with my parents and younger siblings, no children of my own, but surrounded by mothers asking my advice on educational materials for their children, listening to and receiving my recommendations for books, certainly, but …

Art with a Daughter by Cheri Struble

When children have begun regular lessons (that is, as soon as they are six), this sort of study of pictures should not be left to chance, but they should take one artist after another, term by term, and study quietly some half-dozen reproductions of his work in the course of the term …We cannot measure the influence that one or another artist has upon the child’s sense of beauty, upon his power of seeing, as in a picture, the common sights of life; he is enriched more than we know in having really looked at even a single picture (Mason, 1955, p. 305). As I have struggled over the past year with feeling overwhelmed and worrying that I’m not “doing”enough with my eight children at home, this spring a visit with my married daughter really did encourage me that spreading a feast and letting the Holy Spirit do the work is where I need to rest. Who knows what book, painting, piece of music will be instrumental in making our children more fully alive? How …

The Danger of Safe Reading by Liz Cottrill

Convincing families to venture into the world of living books as the heart and soul of their children’s education has had some challenges, but there is one challenge I can honestly say we were not prepared for. Evidently there is a deep mistrust of books, especially if they are not included on some well-known book list. The unknown content potentially holds ideas children’s minds and hearts are not prepared for, can’t cope with. The desire is to keep life as free from unpleasantness as possible as long as possible. Let me share three little stories from my life and library as examples, true ones about true children who read about some true things in the lives of make-believe people in the pages of fictional children’s literature. When I was a child, I was caught unaware by a major life event when my parents divorced and remarried. Strange to imagine in these times, I knew no other child in my neighborhood or school to have this experience. I had this monumental life change going on and …

A Handy Boys Lego Club: A Somewhat Surreptitious Attempt at Handicrafts With Boys by Jeannette Tulis

Ok, I admit it. Charlotte may not have approved. After all she encouraged us to inspire with admiration, hope and love. I do not see subterfuge and baiting on that list. But one does what one must do. For many years I have led or helped to lead workshops on handicrafts at the ChildlightUSA Conference (now known as the Charlotte Mason Institute Conference). And now, another confession is in order. I was quite faithful to include handicrafts in my daughter’s lessons. But my track record was less than stellar with my three younger children, all boys. My daughter took to handicrafts like a duck to water. To encourage her I even started a little club of girls near her age. We called it Hearts and Hands and combined teaching a serious handicraft with a Bible study on Christian character. It was a lovely group which met for several years and my daughter and many of her friends learned how to embroider, knit, crochet, quilt, hand sew—all skills which have stood her in good stead in …