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Charlotte Mason: It’s for Boys Too!

Happy homeschool boyWhen I tell people that I have four girls, they often jump to an incorrect conclusion: So the Charlotte Mason Method doesn’t work for boys? That’s when I smile and tell them that the “other half” of Simply Charlotte Mason is Doug and Karen Smith, who just so happen to have three boys.

I asked Karen to speak from her own experience with her sons (who have all graduated from her home school now): “What do you tell moms who wonder if the Charlotte Mason Method is a good fit for boys?” She said, “I tell them it’s a great fit, and here’s why . . .”

The Quick List for Moms of Active Boys

  • Short, varied lessons—Short, concentrated lessons and having a variety of subjects throughout the day are perfect methods for wiggly boys.
  • No busy work—Boys dislike working for no purpose. If there is a purpose, they will work hard.
  • Minimal written work in the elementary years—The fine motor skills for boys tend to come later, so writing is often an effort for them. They are so active, that getting their thoughts down on paper is difficult. They can verbalize it, but having to sit still long enough to write it is frustrating. So doing most of their work orally in those first few grades is helpful.
  • Challenging—Boys love a challenge that engages their minds. Narration is more of a challenge than multiple choice, true/false, or fill-in-the-blank. It teaches them how to think and to have well-formed thoughts. Then they readily apply that habit of thinking to other areas of their lives.
  • Great thoughts—Reading great literature exposes them to great thoughts and ideas. This aspect goes hand-in-hand with giving them a challenge. The great thoughts challenge their thinking too.
  • Heroes—Boys love having a hero to emulate. What better heroes than the ones they meet in their books? I remember talking with a young teen boy a few years ago. We commented on what a hard worker he was. He told us that he worked hard because of the example of Ralph Moody working hard in the Little Britches books.
  • Time outside—Nature study gets them outside and provides an outlet for their natural curiosity about how things work.
  • Time to pursue what interests them—When boys reach about age nine or ten, they start realizing that they will be men. They realize they are the providers, the decision-makers, etc. No one tells them this, they just know. Having time to pursue their own interests, outside of what Mom makes them do, gives them opportunities to practice the skills they need to be men. Free afternoons grant them that time.

All of these points are built in to the Charlotte Mason Method. Charlotte Mason is a great fit for boys!

5 Responses to “Charlotte Mason: It’s for Boys Too!”

  1. YL January 14, 2015 at 3:21 am #

    This is a great post, because deep in my heart I had the impression that the CM method with many books and narration worked a bit better with girls. We have one daughter and three wild boys :-). The girl is a 5th grader and LIKES to read, she easily reads 70-100 books a year. The boys are different, narration for example is more difficult for them, but I can say: I agree with Karen’s thoughts that they love heroes, time outside and challenges and that they are interested in many areas. And it’s true: Boys can learn to narrate, too, and they are doing a great job once they have enough experience with narration.
    Thanks for the thoughts on boys, it’s an important topic, not just in the CM Method but in education in general.

  2. RobinP January 15, 2015 at 8:16 am #

    Thank you for confronting this common myth! I, too, have all boys. I tell moms that, of all the educational philosophies out there, Charlotte was the only one I’ve found who has those boys’ number. Short lessons, on-the-edge-of-your-seat books and kick ’em outside!

  3. Michelle January 20, 2015 at 7:24 pm #

    I also have 3 boys. I knew I wanted to find something that fit my “better late than early” attitude with boys. They are sharp and smart, but I didn’t want to over burden them in the early years with lots of writing and seat work which most programs push on them starting in preschool. I just happened to stumble upon the Charlotte Mason method in my hours pouring over the internet about homeschooling. I couldn’t believe there was a curriculum/philosophy out there that fit my desire to gently introduce boys to the world of academics, while focusing on reading the best books. I love the emphasis of getting outside as well. I am still honing my skills of implementing all of Charlotte Mason ideas, but we think it is a perfect fit for boys.

  4. Susanna January 27, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    What materials do you use for dication, and can you use specific titles?

    • Jordan Smith January 27, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

      We have a series of dictation books available called Spelling Wisdom. Those give dictation lessons, selected from great literature, for grade 3 through grade 12.

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