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Reason 3: The Approach Is Balanced and Broad (6 Reasons I Love the Charlotte Mason Method)
Not far from my house is a beautiful park called Vine’s Gardens. We went there today to meander around the path and enjoy springtime in the garden: the bright pink azaleas and the dainty white ones vying for our attention; the cluster of fresh yellow irises standing tall along the edge of the pond; the deep crimson, soft peach, and pure white roses sending their lovely fragrance along the breeze; the delicate lilies of the valley hiding between tall trees; the steady, cheerful purple blossoms peeking here and there among the spreading vinca vines.
It was a wonderful walk.
The gardeners have worked hard to provide a broad variety of beautiful plants in a balanced presentation. I suppose they could have saved a lot of work by making the entire garden one kind of plant, but it wouldn’t be half as enjoyable if you saw only irises or only azaleas. Part of the pleasure of wandering around the path is the discovery of new beauty and form along the way.
They could also have saved work by clumping each kind of plant together, organizing the flowers in a series of efficient, stiff rows. But such a presentation would hardly be enjoyable either. The balance between cultivated areas and free-growing areas, between color and greenery, even between shady and sunny patches adds to the beauty of the garden.
The Charlotte Mason Method is like that beautiful garden: it contains a broad variety of subjects and a well-balanced approach.
Variety and Balance
The children (and I) are able to enjoy so many different subjects: nature study, history, handwriting, art appreciation, math, handicrafts, singing, Shakespeare, science, geography, poetry, music appreciation, Bible, habit-training, foreign language, spelling, and more. It’s like a varied bouquet of beautiful flowers!
With this broad approach, each child has something to look forward to during the week. There is something to appeal to each of our unique children. Plus, they are able to converse with many different people on a variety of topics—a sign of a well-educated person.
The broad variety is wonderful; the children receive a delightful combination of academics, arts, and life experiences. But what’s even better is that the variety is presented in a balanced way. The subjects are sprinkled throughout the week, making each day an opportunity to discover new beauty and form along the way.
Mornings are filled with a wide range of intentional, well-thought-out studies that spread a feast of ideas through good living books and the things around us; and we’re done by noon with no homework, so the children have the afternoons free to explore, to play, to pursue their personal interests and dig into their hobbies.
It’s a wonderful balance of teacher-directed and student-led opportunities! A delightful balance of cultivated areas and free-growing areas, of shady and sunny patches.
A broad variety and a beautiful balance are welcoming traits—whether in a garden or in a homeschool approach. Charlotte Mason provides that much-needed refreshment!
Check out our other posts in the series, 6 Reasons I Love the Charlotte Mason Method, for more ideas and encouragement in this homeschooling approach.
More Charlotte Mason at a Convention Near You
Over the upcoming weeks you will have more opportunities to learn about the Charlotte Mason Method at homeschool conventions near you. Simply Charlotte Mason will be traveling to events in Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, D.C., Florida, Virginia, Illinois, Colorado, and Tennessee this spring and summer. Make plans now to attend one of these homeschool conventions:
- CHAP Convention in Harrisburg, PA, on May 9–10
- Home School Book Fair in Arlington, TX, on May 9–10
- Teach Them Diligently Convention in Washington, D.C., on May 15–17
- FPEA Convention in Kissimmee, FL, on May 22–24
- ICHE Convention in Naperville, IL, on June 5–7
- HEAV Convention in Richmond, VA, on June 5–7
- Rocky Mountain Super Conference in Denver, CO, on June 12–14
- Teach Them Diligently Convention in Dallas, TX, on June 26–28
- CSTHEA Curriculum Fair in East Ridge, TN, on July 18–19
- THSC Southwest Convention and Family Conference in The Woodlands, TX, on July 26–28
Visit our booth in the exhibit hall to get your hands on resources designed to help you learn more about and implement Charlotte Mason Methods simply. Attend the inspiring and practical workshops Sonya will be presenting. Sit down and chat with Doug and Karen or with John and Sonya at the booth to get your questions answered and gain encouragement. We would love to see you there!
Great post! This is one of my favourite things about a Charlotte Mason education as well.
This sounds so lovely to read and *I* certainly love this idea of variety and broadness too, but unfortunately my six year old doesn’t–he keeps complaining that his friend only has to do three subjects while he has to do five or six. Secondly, in theory we would also be done by noon, however, because of my DS’s dawdling and complaining and not wanting to finish things, we are almost always left with stuff to finish in the afternoon and the school day seems to drag on and on. I would appreciate any suggestions you might have for these issues!!
Two suggestions come to mind, Laura. First, make sure you are keeping his lessons short. A six-year-old’s lessons should be no longer than 15-20 minutes maximum, and many of them will be shorter than that. Second, you might want to make the habit of attention a focus at your house for a couple of months. The more he dawdles and complains, the more that behavior will become a habit; so take steps now to get his brain off that path and lay down the rails of paying full attention. Short lessons will be a great tool in that process.
I have a three year old and I’m trying to find encouragement for homeschooling, this was very helpful, thank you.
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