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CM Myth #1: Charlotte Mason Was a Homeschooling Mom

We’re starting a fun new series of posts this week: CM Myths. Over the next few weeks we will be investigating some of the statements we’ve heard people make about Charlotte Mason. We hope this series will help you learn more about Charlotte herself and her methods.

Because so many homeschoolers love her methods, and because she had such keen insight into children, some people think that Charlotte Mason was a homeschooling mom.

No, on both counts.

The Facts

Charlotte taught in a regular school classroom for many years. During this time she solidified her philosophy of education and became convinced of what should be taught, when, and how.

She shared her ideas in a series of lectures for parents who employed governesses to teach their children at home. These lectures were published later as Home Education, and Charlotte went on to establish a training school for those governesses. She also published materials to help parents learn more about educating their children.

Schools across England started to adopt her philosophy and methods, and the training school for governesses evolved into a college for classroom teachers. Charlotte oversaw the training, the administration, the publications, and the book selections for the children who followed her programmes in those schools. In fact, Miss Mason was known to the children as “the head of their school, who chose their ‘lovely books’ for them” (The Story of Charlotte Mason, p. 93).

Charlotte’s writings and methods were “rediscovered” and brought to the United States by Dean and Karen Andreola in the 1980s (if I’m not mistaken on the date). They were homeschooling and found Charlotte’s ideas to be a breath of fresh air. So they arranged to republish her original writings in a six-volume set, calling it “The Original Home Schooling Series.” Soon homeschoolers across the nation were learning and using those wonderful CM methods.

Though Charlotte was never married and had no children of her own, she spent a lot of time with children and families. She had the advantage of a thoughtful “outside observer,” who, nonetheless, held the role of parents in highest regard.

“Allow me to say once more, that I venture to write upon subjects bearing on home education with the greatest deference to mothers; believing, that in virtue of their peculiar insight into the dispositions of their own children, they are blest with both knowledge and power in the management of them which lookers-on can only admire from afar” (Vol. 1, p. 135).

Charlotte Mason believed in the importance of the home and all it contributed to the education of the child. And her methods have proven effective, whether used in a classroom or in a homeschool.

Next week we’ll look at another CM Myth.

3 Responses to “CM Myth #1: Charlotte Mason Was a Homeschooling Mom”

  1. Betty January 21, 2010 at 9:16 am #

    I’m so glad you touched on this, Sonya. I often wonder how much we should keep this in mind when trying to implement her methods amidst diapers, housework, cooking, taking care of parents, etc….

    Our homeschools can’t look exactly like her school because we are mothers and we have other duties besides just homeschooling. Also, each child is a little different and may have different needs. So, I guess there’s a balance between using her methods and listening to the Holy Spirit for each child/situation, and all our other duties. I’d really like to explore that a little more. I know I have carried alot of guilt over not doing everything exactly like CM did, but it’s just not been possible. Your DVD series though helped me tremendously to incorporate more of her methods while I’m schooling.

    Looking forward to your next module!
    Many Blessings to you!
    Betty

  2. Silvia Cachia February 8, 2010 at 12:09 am #

    Sonya,
    Thanks for your articles. I’m originally from Spain, but I’ve been over 12 years in Texas. I educate my daughters at home and I get inspiration from Charlotte Mason and other authors as well.

    None of her works are translated into Spanish, and I noticed there are many parents who know about her because they can read in English, and others who know by second sources since they can’t read any first hand book from her or on her.
    I decided to start a blog about her in Spanish, and I translated this first myth and plan to do so with the other myths and some other articles or information you present.

    http://charlottemasonsp.blogspot.com/
    This is the link if anyone wants to take a look at it.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge on CM.

    Silvia

    • Sonya February 10, 2010 at 10:13 am #

      Thanks for your hard work, Silvia. We hope that Spanish CM blog will be a blessing to many!

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