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.
Parenting is a challenge as any parent will tell you. Education is one of the parenting issues that consume a large portion of parents thought life. Once parents have gotten their child through elementary, middle and high school, what do they do about college?
We will explore some alternatives to higher education.
Parents are concerned about the high cost of college, the pressure to fit in and conform, or making it through to graduation.
Interestingly, parents have held to the idea that the traditional four-year college is the only path after high school. There are some alternatives to higher education that parents should consider.
Alternatives to Higher Education and College Debt
Many schools offer some level of scholarship or grants to students. This is helpful to a point. Grants and scholarships are not paid back. However, students find that there is still a gap in tuition they are responsible for.
If three-quarters of the bill is covered by grants and scholarship that leaves one-quarter of the cost for the family to come up with. If that is $25,000, that amount is multiplied by four in order to get to graduation. For most students that means school loans that will follow the student for several years after graduation.
I am not saying the students and families should not pay for education. The cost of college is increasing at a rate that is alarming and debilitating. Look closely at the major you want to pursue. There may be alternatives to working in the field of your choice.
Debt looms heavy over the heads of young people long after they have left the halls of higher learning.
In addition, many students that enter college with the intention of earning a four-year degree, do not graduate. The college may not be a good fit for the student or traumatic events can cut a college career short.
The future looks very bleak for these students. That’s a terrible way to begin life as an adult. Debt hinders these young adults’ chance of having a disposable income to purchase a car or home. The pattern is a cruel one and needs to be changed.
Alternatives to Higher Education and Pressures of College Life
Hopefully, these alternatives to higher education will give you a place to start looking for different paths to post-secondary education.
Think about what the end game is. Young adults need to be independent thinkers. They need to be able to take care of themselves once they leave school. Young people should be able to use their gifts and talents in their chosen career.
I think about Charlotte Mason’s approach to education. She encouraged teachers to include teaching a practical craft that students could then use as a possible means of earning money. This was not the type of craft that you stick on the refrigerator door just to be admired. These crafts had actual function and use.
STEM careers or medical licenses require the traditional college path. Many careers, however, do not need a traditional college degree.
Alternatives to Higher Education-Start a Business
In the age of the internet, the possibility of starting an online business is a viable alternative to higher education. Think outside the box. Your son or daughter’s natural gifts and abilities may find a place in the marketplace. Video platforms are flourishing which makes it possible for your child to teach something on their own Youtube or Periscope channel.
Alternatives to Higher Education-Learn a Trade
Many of our craftsmen are getting older and which is leaving a gap that the younger generation can fill. Young adults can learn a skilled trade and earn a very good living. This is another alternative that may not require a four-year degree. Auto mechanics and photographers are invaluable. Appliance repairmen command good salaries as well. These are jobs that are valuable but do not necessarily require a four-year degree.
Mike Rowe has found a new appreciation for skilled labor. He has written a book entitled Profoundly Disconnected which highlights the beauty of a doing an honest day’s hard work. He focusses on the skilled labor jobs. He is attempting to help others appreciate these jobs. The skilled labor or blue collar jobs have lost esteem in the eyes of many of our youth.
Perhaps that is a mistake.
These are jobs that may not be glamorous but one can raise a family. Enjoy Mike reading the preface to his book. You will enjoy the book but please, do not listen to it while you are eating. You have been warned. Click the link at the bottom.
Alternatives to Higher Education Community College
The community college is another alternative to higher education. If a four-year college is still a goal of your young adult, encourage them to look into community colleges for the basic courses. Students take general education courses in community college at a fraction of the cost of a four-year college. This allows the student to save money as they complete approximately half of their college coursework at an institution that costs a portion of the four-year college cost.
Alternatives to Higher Education-Apprenticeships
Apprenticeships are also great alternatives to going the traditional higher education route. They are similar to internships in that they both offer close interaction with a seasoned skilled laborer. This relationship allows for the expert in the relationship to give the student close instruction and supervision as the student is learning a new skill. Apprenticeships are paid position. This is the difference between the two opportunities. The construction industry is experiencing growth in the offering apprenticeships
Alternatives to Higher Education-Join the Military
The military life can be a good alternative to higher education for a young man or woman. I have written a blog post about homeschoolers and humanity and the military academies. There are many homeschool families that may be interested in the academies. Read the post to find out what you will need if you are a homeschool family. They are it’s an opportunity for young men and women to dig deep and find the courage and strength to serve our country. Students can get a sense of what military life is like by joining Jr. ROTC in high school. The military life is one of discipline and dedication students can gain a sense of patriotism and loyalty.
Interestingly, our young adults have many freedoms they may not be ready for. They may not say it out loud, but they enjoy the structure that the military life offers. The structure allows the young adult to mature and discover his or her strengths and weaknesses while contribution to the defense of his or her country.
Finally, it is easy to see that there are several options to the traditional higher education route. Hopefully, this will give some insight as to what is possible for a young adult. Are there other options not mentioned here? Do you have an opportunity for a young high school graduate?
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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.
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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