I have been a fan of the Charlotte Mason homeschool curriculum and approach. To be more accurate Charlotte Mason developed an approach rather than a curriculum. Her gentle approach to educating children makes for a gentle approach.
Additionally, a major key that I believe is important is that Charlotte Mason stressed that children are young people with God-given gifts and talents to be discovered and nurtured.
Charlotte Mason’s Thoughts on Home Education and Destiny
She believed that the Lord placed in each individual a destiny and a plan for their lives. Much of our educational approach is geared toward telling children what track they should travel on instead of discovering the gifts that each child has been blessed by.
Charlotte Mason Book Recommendations:
Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie is a reminder of what education is truly about. She reflects upon the importance of looking at how we educate our children in a way that they learn to love learning instead of checking off specific boxes as we get things done.
It’s all about perspective. What are we teaching our children about learning? She writes her book from a desire to walk in the peace that is promised to those who follow God. Sarah’s desire was to demonstrate peace and grace in her life. These elements would be translated to her children as they grew up.
Charlotte Mason and Character Building
Interestingly, as children see true glory and peace for the believer they will gravitate towards this lifestyle. Enjoy reading this treasure and glean some nuggets that will make a great difference in your homeschool life as well as your life in all areas. Strong character traits will carry young people far. This trait will open doors to whatever they want to do in life because they will have the discipline to complete a plan of action.
Charlotte Mason: Home Education in the Modern Era
A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola. Karen has written a book that chronicles her experience using the Charlotte Mason approach to learning. As you read this piece, you will discover what the Charlotte Mason approach looks like in the modern area.
Charlotte Mason at Home and School
For the Children’s Sake: Foundation of Education for Home and school by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay This is another look into the experience of a homeschooling mom that has chosen to use the Charlotte Mason approach. Teachers in the classroom, as well as homeschool moms, will benefit from reading Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s book.
Charlotte Mason on Habits and Character Building
Habits: The mother’s Secret to Success (Charlotte Mason Topics)(Volume 1) Charlotte stressed the importance of helping your child as well as yourself acquire good habits. These are solid foundations that make life run easier. Good habits can clear the way for child and adult to live a productive and joy-filled life. Character is established and strengthened as healthy habits are formed. Enjoy this book as you lay down good habits for your children and yourself.
A Charlotte Mason Education: A Home Schooling How-to Manual
Catherine Levinson has taken the key foundations found in a Charlotte Mason approach and presents them in a simple way that allows families to enter the homeschooling world. Catherine helps you establish weekly schedules and routines
Know and tell: The Art of Narration by Karen Glass is an explanation of the art of telling Charlotte Mason explained how to implement narration and it has been used in schools as well as homeschools. This book explores the theory behind the use of narration and then shows how to implement the process from beginning to end. Children and adults can benefit from the practice of narrating to fully grasp a concept.
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6 Key Insights from Seasoned Homeschool Moms About Their Journey
Educating our children is a huge responsibility as well as a privilege. I have talked to many parents that have questions about what is that best way to educate their children.
Here are some words of wisdom and homeschool advice from seasoned homeschool moms. They share wisdom and homeschool tips they have learned as result of spending many years homeschooling.
What is the one thing that many parents wish they knew before they started homeschooling?
Parents must choose to send their children to public schools, private schools or they might choose to homeschool. Whatever the choice, parents are ultimately responsible for the education of their children.
This post will share homeschooling tips and advice from seasoned homeschool moms. These moms learned some key lessons they want you to be aware of.
We are going to share those lessons here. Each mom was asked to share one thing they wished they knew about homeschooling before they started. The answers should provide you with food for thought as well as courage as you progress through your unique educational journey.
Here are some benefits of homeschooling that you may be familiar with.
6 Key Insights from Seasoned Homeschool Moms
Benefits of Homeschooling
Freedom to choose the approach or curriculum that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. You may be thinking of Unschooling or the using Charlotte Mason approach, or something more mainstream like Apologia. The choices abound when considering the type of homeschool you want to establish. The beautiful thing is that you can make adjustments where and when you need to. These resources are wonderful guides to help you along your way.
Students can take a deep dive into the subjects they find interesting. Take the liberty to allow your children to learn as much as they can about a subject they are interested in. You will notice that these moms advise you to pay attention to the interests of your children. They will do a lot in helping you figure which direction they should go.
Family time increases. This time is important for teaching the special nuances of your family. You have particular values that you want to see your children carry. These won’t be disregarded in your own homeschool. You will have the ability to expose your children to the truths you hold dear.
Concerns About Homeschooling
Some of the concerns parents face along the decision-making journey include; lack of support from friends and family, financial concerns, doing it the right way and burnout. Homeschool parents often worry about making mistakes as they educate their children.
Parents want the best for their children so they are very aware of the challenges before them. You will notice that these moms want you to know that you can relax. There is support out there and you can do this if you choose.
Insights from Seasoned Homeschool Moms
Several seasoned homeschool moms were asked to share the one thing they wished they knew before they started homeschooling. As you read their insights, it is my hope that you will gain clarity concerning what homeschooling can be like for you and your family.
I trust this will serve to encourage you in your next steps.
Here is the question.
What is the one thing you wish you knew about homeschooling before you started?
Melanie Willson’s Answer
Melanie Wilson is a seasoned homeschool mom with 6 children. Melanie from Psychowith6.com shares her concern about college for her homeschooled children”.
Here is her response to the question.
“What I wish I had known when I started homeschooling is that I didn’t need to worry about college. I mistakenly thought my kids would have to know specific science or history facts for college entrance exams and they didn’t.
The studying and test-taking practice they got (especially from using Apologia (science) has enabled my three oldest sons to do very well in college. All my worry was wasted!
Obviously, Melanie prepared her children well. She taught them the process of learning.
They were then able to take those skills and apply them to the rigors of college. Thank you, Melanie for being such an awesome homeschool mom.
You can catch Melanie at Homeschoolscopes.tv. She, along with many other homeschool moms share other insights and tips on homeschooling. This is a group of women that warmly embrace homeschool moms while sharing wisdom and encouragement.
As Melanie mentioned, her worries concerning the college years were put to rest as her children did well in college. Stop by and visit her website or HomeschoolScopes.tv and get to know Melanie Wilson.
Her girls are flourishing and spreading their wings in the area of entrepreneurship.
Amy Milcic’s Answer
Amy Milcic of Rock Your Homeschool shares an important tip for parents that are transitioning their children from public school to homeschool. This key insight is true if you are coming from a private school as well.
Amy says, “Before I started homeschooling, I wish I would have known that it’s okay to go slow when you transition from public school. My two older boys had attended for a few years.
I thought we had to keep up with their peers. I quickly learned that my boys needed a break from all the pressure to rediscover their love of learning.
My #1 tip: relax & enjoy this precious time with your kids. It’s not a sprint, but more like a lovely amble through the woods with different paths to select from that all lead to the joy of a solid home education.”
Amy’s key insight is to enjoy your time with your children and discover the many different paths in the homeschool journey. This seasoned homeschool mom makes it seem so possible to enjoy homeschool life to the fullest, doesn’t she?
Be sure to visit her website. Amy has amazing blog posts on how to help your child be assertive as well as dealing with bullying. There are some wonderful free printables there as well. You can get to know Amy better at Rockyourhomeschool.net
She recently hosted a blog party focusing on marriage. As a result of the blog party, she has compiled 28 days of blog posts. Please hop over to The Journey Through I Do. Check out the series. You will be blessed.
She shares her response here.
“ I wished someone had told me my homeschooling style/room/curriculum didn’t have to resemble anyone else’s. I felt pressured to make sure that my boys had a dedicated school area, some curriculum etc…
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Personalizing your homeschooling experience for your family is a LOT easier when you take steps towards what works for you and not feel pressured to have it look like someone’s else’s.”
This is a great tip! Homeschools are as personal and as unique as families. This is the way it should be. Don’t fall into the temptation of comparing yourself or your style to anyone else’s.
The goals may be similar but the way we reach that goal should be tailored to the unique personality of your family. Enjoy the uniqueness of your children.
Amy Michaels’ Key Insights
Amy Michaels taught elementary school before she became a homeschool mom. She brings her skills and experience as a classroom teacher to the homeschooling community.
These videos contain a wealth of information and insight that homeschool families will benefit from.
Here is Amy’s answer to the question we posed.
“When I started homeschooling, I put a lot of time and energy into finding the “right” curriculum for my child. However, I quickly realized that the “right curriculum” changed in the various phases of her learning.
Now, I know meeting her where she is and providing natural opportunities to learn skills and knowledge is key for us to stress much less and really enjoy homeschooling together.
Finding the balance between child-led learning and weaving in the skills she needs to know took time to find, but it is a priceless place for authentic and life-long learning!
You can hear the gentleness in her tone as she talks about getting in tune with the needs of her children.
Kasha Foster’s Insights
Kasha Foster is another seasoned homeschool mom. She has two girls and two boys who have very different personalities and needs, as is true of all children.
Her insights and wisdom reveal the need to lean heavily upon the Holy Spirit. She and I had a chance to talk about her insights and she shared that there are things that occur in families that nobody plans for.
Some of those things may make it necessary to homeschool or impossible to homeschool. Prayer is going to be key in every situation. The Lord knows your needs and your children. He is faithful to meet those needs so you do not need to worry. Put everything in His hands.
Kasha’s husband Paul helped in the homeschooling journey which is another factor that can greatly enhance the journey. When both parents are involved in the education of their children there is a bond that is strengthened among all of the family members.
Paul has also co-written a book entitled Competing Realities that focuses on the challenges of living a Christian life in a world that is often opposed to the Christian World View. This book will give you insight into how to handle the challenges ahead. You will find the link to the book below.
Clearly, invaluable wisdom is shared. Each mom has shared what they learned on their homeschool journey. Be sure to visit there blogs and websites to glean even more wisdom and insights. The support you receive from other homeschool moms can make the difference in your homeschool journey.
I hope you have found this post helpful. Take advantage of the resources I shared.
As I mentioned, educating your child is a huge responsibility. Our children are our future. This decision is a personal one and one that should be handled with prayer. Whatever you decide, I hope to be of help to you on your journey.
Be sure to check some of the other resources that can be found on this blog regarding family and education.
Let me know some of your insights and wisdom. What have you learned along the way? Please share in the comments below and remember to enjoy the journey with your family.
You may also want to check out some of these resources as you gather facts on homeschooling.
Living literature is critical when instructing children. Living literature is the type of literature that ignites the imagination. Children are able to see the scene they are reading in their minds eye. Their imagination is on fire! It is rich in vocabulary and causes children to wrestle with big ideas. The text that is filled with living literature, exposes the child to characters that display heroism and self sacrifice. These are the character traits that we want our children to emulate. Charlotte Mason believed children are wired to take in challenging thoughts and ideas. Children thrive on living literature.
Is There a Difference Between Living Literature vs Twaddle?
There is a huge difference between living literature and twaddle. Click To Tweet The textbook versions and anthologies are what Charlotte Mason would call “twaddle” or “predigested” texts. Another characteristic of twaddle is short choppy sentences as well as dry facts. Allow me to share with you two renditions of One of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories. The title of the story is HOW THE WHALE GOT HIS THROAT
Notice the Difference Between Living Literature vs Twaddle.
The first paragraph in the living version reads: In the sea, once upon a time, O my Best Beloved, there was a Whale, and he ate fishes. He ate the starfish, and the garfish, and the crab and the dab, and the plaice and the dace, and the skate and his mate, and the mackereel and the pickereel and the really truly twirly-whirly eel. All the fishes he could find in all the sea he ate with his mouth–so! Till at last there was only one small fish left in all the sea, and he was a small ‘Stute Fish, and he swam a little behind the Whale’s right ear, so as to be out of harm’s way. Then the Whale stood up on his tail and said, ‘I’m hungry.’ And the small ‘Stute Fish said in a small stute voice, ‘Noble and generous Cetacean, have you ever tasted Man?
Compare the Same Paragraph but in ‘Predigested’ Form.
Once upon a time, there was a giant Whale who lived deep in the sea. He was always hungry, and more than anything he loved to eat fish of all different kinds: mackerel, salmon, tuna, crab, octopus, squid, eel, and more. He ate and ate, until there was only one fish left in the whole sea! Luckily, the Last Fish in the sea was a clever one. Before the hungry Whale could chase him, the Last Fish took a bow and asked, “Oh, mighty Whale, have you ever tasted man? I had much more fun reading the first version! How about you?
We Prefer Living Literature
The child that is exposed to the first paragraph is going to enjoy it more and have more questions which will stretch the mind. Even if the story is read to the child, the child, and the adult will enjoy the experience far more when reading the living version. What a wonderful experience for the child to stretch the mind and struggle with questions and ideas after having read the living version.
Not only is the living literature version of the story more fun to read but it is also more engaging with its complex, lyrical sentences. A child would find it easier to picture the scene in his mind’s eye after having read the living literature version. I’m sure you can imagine a variety of learning experiences that could be engaged in with the living version.
Let’s delve even deeper in the area of living literature and Charlotte Mason’s ideas. Come along for the ride. I encourage you to share your thoughts and encounters with living literature. It will be a great adventure! Do you have any favorite stories that inspired you? What are some literary pieces that ignite your imagination? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.
Cursive handwriting is a unique form of personal expression. Some schools are finding cursive handwriting worthy of revitalizing. Writing in cursive decreased in popularity to being just about non-existent. Joe Helm, of the Washington Post, reports that some public and charter schools are once again embracing cursive handwriting.https://www.washingtonpost.com/
In fact, Alabama and Louisiana are the two in the line of 14 states that have passed laws in 2016 mandating cursive handwriting instruction (Karen Matthews/AP TIME Staff). I am so glad to see a comeback of cursive.
As an educator, I know the value of teaching children how to write in cursive. You will see some of the reasons cursive handwriting is important below. Many of our schools today do not take the time to teach the formation of letters at all. Some of our children are on their own in this regard. Some have taken on the task of learning this form of writing on their own.
Four Reasons Children Should Learn Cursive
4 Reasons Your Child Must Learn Cursive.
1.Life Sills – Signing one’s name is a life skill that every child should know. Each person’s signature is unique and it has meaning. Make sure your child can write his or her name in cursive.
2.Reading Grandmas Letters. Our children should be able to read letters or even recipes from their grandparents. This is a wonderful connection that many of our children are losing. It’s wonderful to be able to go to a recipe written by grandma or grandpa. Wonderful memories come flooding back as those recipes are read.
3.Speed-Being able to write in cursive is faster than writing manuscript. This is of particular benefit as children grow older and need to be able to write notes in class.
4.Original Documents-Many of our original documents were written by our founding fathers in a type of cursive and our children need to be able to read these documents. It is good for them to be able to read documents like the Constitution for him or herself. They need to be able to read those documents in order to know what
The nature of cursive writing connects the letters to each other. This gives the student time to focus on the formation of the letters, the sound of individual letters, as well as letter combinations. This is the foundation of phonics and reading.
Cursive handwriting is particularly helpful for the dyslexic student. Some letters are easily confused when printed. These letters are shaped differently when formed in cursive. Students focus on text rather than figuring out letters.
Having good handwriting takes practice. Establishing the habit of practicing something is good for our children and it is good for us as adults. Habits help to make our lives run more smoothly and they can help us master something. Just think about becoming the master of that chocolate cake when you practice saying no to it often enough. (But that is a little off topic.:)
Cursive handwriting is personal. Each person has peculiarities in the execution of the letters. This is the beauty of cursive. In the grand scheme of things, handwriting doesn’t take a long time to teach. Much of the instruction is a matter of practice. Teachers are taking 15 minutes out of the day to show children the strokes and then providing time for practice. This can be included in their homework as well.
Cursive handwriting is something worth hanging onto in our schools.
Do your children get to learn cursive handwriting at school? Do they ask to learn how to write cursive? Put your thoughts in the comment section.
Charlotte Mason was a British educator the Loved the Lord and loved children. She observed children and taught others how to nurture children and guide them to their destiny. Her approach is used in many homeschools and some Charter schools.
Her philosophy has not only impacted the education arena but has also impacted the home life of many families.
What is a habit? How would you answer that question? I would say that a habit is something you do, on some level of frequency, without much thought.
For example, I don’t give much thought to buckling my seat belt when I get into a car. Do you?
I just reach for the seat-belt and fasten myself in while I am thinking about something else or talking with someone in the car. I don’t expend much mental energy at all in getting that task done. It’s a good habit that keeps me safe.
Step by Step
What if I had to think about every step of brushing my teeth? Normally, when we brush our teeth, we think about a million other things. Or if you are like me, you are half asleep in the morning or falling asleep as you get ready for bed. It’s a good thing that brushing my teeth is a habit. We do not have to give much thought to the process.
When we brush our teeth, we think about so many other things at the same time. It’s not uncommon for your mind to be engaged in something totally unrelated to brushing your teeth because it’s a habit. It is second nature to you. You’ve done it for a long time, right?
Think back to when you first started brushing your teeth. Don’t worry. This will be a quick trip down memory lane. When you were much younger you had to figure out how to hold the toothpaste tube just right.
You thought about how to hold the tube.
You figured out how NOT to squeeze too much toothpaste out.
Then you start brushing your teeth. Did you ever push too far back and nearly choke yourself? Or maybe you were a little too aggressive and you scraped your gums.
Oh yeah. Someone had to watch you and make sure you were doing it the right way. Thankfully, you learned how to brush your teeth so well that you didn’t have to spend hours going over each part of the process. We all have good habits and bad habits.
Even though habits do not take much thought, they impact our lives greatly. If you have a good habit of washing the dinner dishes after you have eaten dinner then you have the wonderful delight of walking into a kitchen with a clean sink every morning. (I’m still working on that one).
Good Habits Make Life Flow
Making up your bed every morning after you get out of it means you are going to have a neater looking room when you get ready for bed. Those habits make your life more pleasant and easier to manage.
What are some of your good habits that make life more pleasant and productive? Your habits can also take place in your head. Your thought life is an important part of your life that we all need to pay attention to.
Recently, the Lord has been drawing my attention to my thought life. He highlighted some negative thoughts I began entertaining. The thoughts centered around a loved one that has some habits that annoyed me. I’m sure you can relate to the reality that those closest to us can irritate us the most.
I hear you mothers out there! Oh, there are several dad hands up as well. So, you can relate, good?
As I allowed the negative thoughts to bloom and grow in my head, the Lord arrested my attention and prompted me to think about what was happening. I was allowing negativity to take a color my mood. The color was very dark and unpleasant.
Those negative thoughts can creep in without our realizing it. There was nothing positive or productive coming from those thoughts. In fact, I sensed frustration and agitation as the thoughts lingered.
Our Thoughts are Powerful
The alarming thing that occurred to me was that the person I was thinking about wasn’t even present. I was getting annoyed and agitated by thoughts and the person was nowhere near. I promptly repented and asked the Lord to forgive me and help me with the thoughts.
He, in turn, had me bless the person I was thinking about. He reminded me that “The weapons of my warfare are not carnal but they are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (My paraphrase of 2 Cor 10:4). Our Heavenly Father is a good father and will teach us good things. He will help us form good habits.
I am excited to see that long-term fruit comes as result of taking unhealthy thoughts captive and allowing the Lord to purify them. The immediate benefit is that my attitude changed from being ugly to being more pleasant but I am sure there will be more benefits as I allow the Lord to help me tweak my habits.
Establishing Habits Early
Parents have a wonderful opportunity to assist their children in developing good habits that will make the home a happy and peaceful place. These habits will also help the child as they grow into adults. As mentioned earlier the habits of the child are the character traits of the adult.
Habits of observation
Let’s take some time and look at Habits of Observation.
Careful and close observation are key to narration. Narration is a skill that Charlotte Mason stressed in helping children attend to something and then report on what they noticed. This is a habit and a skill that serves children and adults well.
We will discuss what observation is and how it can enhance life in different areas.
Observation is putting your mental energy on a particular thing and allowing yourself to experience what you are seeing or reading to the fullest extent. Parents can encourage observation skills in many different ways.
When doing nature studies, children can look at a tree and notice colors and textures. They can further the observation experience as they touch the tree in different areas. Children can be directed to ask themselves questions about how the tree feels when they touch the trunk and how the leaves feel.
Smell is an important element of observation as well. How does the trunk smell? How about the leaves? Children can note sounds they hear when they are observing a tree. The leaves make a particular sound as the wind blows by.
As far as taste goes, you would not encourage a child to use this sense when observing outside. This can be saved when you are inside preparing dinner.
Spices and sauces can be sampled. Children will develop the ability notice different spices and how they change the taste of certain foods. You may discover you have a budding chef on your hands as you explore different tastes.
Benefits of observation
Careful observation helps children store up pictures in the mind. These memories can be recalled at any time and individuals can enjoy those memories even into their adult years.
Observation can help children take notice of the needs of someone else. Children need to be aware of the needs of others. This helps the children focus on someone other than themselves. Parents can guide children to notice the needs of others and assist where appropriate
Careful observation also causes individuals to be truly present with their family and friends. Many people are easily drawn in by phones and other electronic devices and miss connecting with people around them.
Connecting with the people that we love is important and makes life pleasant, rich and full. The attachment to electronic devices creates an empty atmosphere that leaves people feeling lonely and detached.
Observation also enables us to focus more intently. This applies to reading a book or listening to a sermon or lecture as well as to our children and family.
A student is able to pay close attention to what they are reading or listening to. As attention is given to these platforms children and adults remember what has been said or read. This will enable the person to receive the information or concepts shared.
They are able to use their power of thought and concentration to learn from what has been shared. A child will learn to judge for him or herself whether or not what is being taught is true or not.
This skill is becoming more important as time progresses. People have agendas and would like to skew information to promote a particular narrative. Our children need to be able to recognize faulty thinking when they come upon it.
Children will also be able to pay close attention to directions given. This is important because often students breeze over directions and as a result, the work they produce is sometimes lacking in accuracy. Furthermore, children will increase the stamina in their ability to read and write. This will also translate to writing and composition skills.
Crystal Wagner, at Triumphant Learning, does an excellent job of further describing the benefits to developing Habits of Observation. She also describes different activities that can be used to teach our children how to observe in different ways. Check out her post and take advantage of the resources she highlights.
What habits have you been working on? How has the Lord helped you with those habits? Leave a comment in the comment box and let me know.
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