When I first heard about the Charlotte Mason Method, we had already been homeschooling for a year. That was my oldest’s kindergarten year, and we had been doing a unit study approach.
During that year I had discovered that unit studies were not a good fit for us.
I was burned out from preparing and overseeing all the hands-on projects; and on top of that, I discovered that my children could recall a couple of the projects that we had done during those months, but they didn’t remember the point of those projects.
It was like remembering a commercial but not remembering the product or the business that the commercial was promoting.
They knew that we had covered a doorway between our living room and dining room with paper and had drawn on it to make an triumphal arch, but they remembered nothing about the Roman emperor we had studied and for whom the arch was built as a monument. Even though I had tried to connect the two in their minds, they hadn’t made that connection.
So when I heard about the Charlotte Mason approach at the end of that year, I appreciated Charlotte’s wisdom in having the children form their own relations with what they were learning, rather than my telling them what should be related.
In the years since then I have seen for myself how effective it is for the children to make their own relations with what they are learning and to draw their own connections between them, because that’s when learning really sticks.
As they linger with men and women in history and read about the ideas that ruled their lives, as they ponder good literature and exercise their imaginations with the ideas contained in it, as they soak up good art and music and learn about the people who created it, they express what they are gleaning and they enter those names in their Book of Centuries. The next time they go back to enter a name, they notice the other names they have already entered and you can almost see the lightbulbs going off in their brains. Oh! he lived at the same time as she did! or Wow! Look at what was going on in the world during his lifetime. No wonder he thought this way!
And those ah-ha moments stick with them, because they made that discovery for themselves.
Charlotte knew what she was doing when she encouraged teachers to spread the feast of living ideas across the spectrum of a broad curriculum with a wide variety of subjects and let the children form their own relations and make their own connections.
Learning and Living: Homeschooling the Charlotte Mason Way
If you would like to learn more about Charlotte’s wonderful methods that make learning stick, our new DVD set is available now. Learning and Living: Homeschooling the Charlotte Mason Way will give you the knowledge and confidence you need to teach your children the Charlotte Mason way—to encourage them to form personal relations with great ideas around them and to build their own connections that make learning come alive.
This comprehensive 12-DVD set and companion notebook will help you grasp just how practical and doable the Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling is!
Watch the sample videos today.