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This year marks my husband’s and my 30th wedding anniversary. If you had asked me 30 years ago why I loved John, I would have given many of the same answers that I would still give today: he is one of the most patient men I know; he makes me laugh; he has a generous heart; he loves the Lord; he loves people; he’s both mechanical and artistic; he has that rare quality of common sense. (I’ll pause there for now, since this post is not supposed to be about my husband.)
Those characteristics were there 30 years ago when we started our journey together, but each of them has a fuller meaning to me today because I’ve seen them demonstrated in many experiences over the years. The reasons have not changed, but my appreciation of those reasons has grown deeper.
It’s the same concept with the Charlotte Mason Method. If you were to ask me today why I love the Charlotte Mason Method, the reasons would be similar to those that prompted me to begin using her methods 18 years ago. Those reasons have not changed, but over the years I have come to appreciate more and more just how brilliant her methods are!
So for the next few weeks, I want to share with you six reasons I love the Charlotte Mason Method. For some of you, these reasons may be new; for others, they may be simple reminders. But for all of you, no matter where you are on your journey, I want to say, “Trust me, these reasons grow sweeter as the years go by!”
Reason 1: Good Literature Is Powerful
I’ve always loved good books. So when I heard that the Charlotte Mason Method used good literature instead of textbooks, I was intrigued. The more I thought about it the more I realized that it was the living books, the literature, the stories of people’s lives that I remembered most and that had affected me most as a person.
For example, I learned all sorts of life lessons and gained lots of ideas from the Little House books. I pulled ideas about diligence and family and thrift and even good manners from Laura Ingalls’ experiences in those books, and those ideas became a part of me, they helped shape who I am now as a person.
And then I realized that when I was reading a textbook for school and I came across information about the pioneers, I immediately related that information back to the ideas I already had in my mind from reading about Laura’s life. To this day, I don’t recall most of what I read in those textbooks (even though I got excellent grades, symbols that I “knew” that material). But I do remember what I read in the living books.
Once I realized that it was the literature, the living books, that had the most powerful effect on me, I wanted to tap into that power to educate my children—the power of good literature.
Looking back, I can say that living books not only made learning stick for my children, they also filled in many gaps in my own education. When I started homeschooling, I knew next to nothing about history or geography. Now, after reading good living books with my children over the years, I’m finding that I can enter into interesting discussions with history buffs and know exactly what they’re talking about!
Living books are a powerful educational tool. Good literature makes learning stick, no matter how old you are!