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How to Make Sure You are Covering Enough
- This topic has 7 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 5 years, 1 month ago by Amanda.
Hello! While I am not new to Charlotte Mason, I have not implemented a great deal of it in our homeschool yet, but I am looking that way for next year. While we have avoided busywork and history and science workbooks, for example, we have used “curriculum” with living books (library books, etc.) generously sprinkled in. I have tried, feebly, perhaps, to use narration, but have not been satisfied with the results I am achieving. (Narrations are at times just “lacking,” and do not cause a child to recall important points of the reading, or the children act silly and refuse to narrate properly.) Because my children are young, I have felt that it was all right to go gently for now.
But next year my oldest will be in fourth grade. I feel we need to continue to have enough structure to make sure she is learning key information for her grade. Let me use the example of science. I have no doubt that reading library books about animals, for example, and asking her to tell me what she learned, would be much more enjoyable for her than reading from a “schoolbook.” She would be more cooperative, and read more for interest. (Cooperation is a weak point for her, so this would be very good.) But how can I make sure she is covering key points? Looking at a lesson from a schoolbook on birds, I see that they vocabulary list for the lesson includes such things as down, gizzard, instinct, preen, quill, and streamlined. Likely, if she read a bird book and narrated it, those harder-to-remember points might fall through the cracks. Also, a schoolbook makes knowing what to review easy. Using the living books approach, if her narration is below par for what she ought to have retained, how will I know off the top of my head what she is missing?(Unfortunately, I do not feel that knowledgeable!)
Another example is geography. We are reading a missionary book which is helping us learn about the land and culture in an Indonesian Island. Yet there is much technical information that would be found in a map skills or geography course that would not in any way be touched on. If I do not use a geography workbook with my fourth-grader, I am sure I would not be able to pull together the resources for a well-rounded body of map and geography skills.
I would love to hear from those who have a better understanding of Charlotte Mason, how do you make sure that important key information is being covered? Do you use a textbook or other book as a spine? Or do you use some regular curriculum like a map skills workbook? I would love to be able to use this method and still make sure my daughter is getting what she needs. Thank you!
I wrote this post some time back, but I have continued to study the Charlotte Mason method and I feel that this is the way I would like to go. However, I know I will still be adhering to some of what I know works, such as using a map skills workbook. (And to be honest, I am still planning to use spelling, phonics, and grammar books.) For science, I am looking at using a mixture of library books and one Jeannie Fulbright book. Hopefully I can go over the library books and pull out key points that my daughter will need to include in her narration, as I see that Sonya recommended in her posts. This sounds like a very good idea. Personally, I feel that if the narration is poor, I will definitely have to follow with more guided questions, to require my daughter to be accountable for the material she is supposed to have read. Otherwise, I see it could be very easy for her to slide carelessly through the material with this method, and miss out on a lot of it. Cooperation and attitude is an issue with two of my children. I think that the Charlotte Mason method will be more demanding from a mother of an underperforming child, at least for the short term, than a workbook or textbook method would be. However, I am hoping this method will make learning more enjoyable and “organic,” if I may say, thus hopefully awakening a love for excelling and doing one’s best that is not currently there.HollySParticipant
I have some kids that naturally take to narration and others that have struggled along the entire way. Looking back, CM methods alone have not been good for one of my children (and another is looking to be the same). I kept trusting the methods, but at some point, we need to teach the children we have.
At this point, we are using workbooks for some subjects and narrations for a few. We are starting Writing with Ease/Writing with Skill for Writing, and I’m hoping this is what we need. It is classical based, and definitely not CM. However, its focus is on narrations, copywork, and dictation…although the dictation method is a bit different than CM used. It seems the only times my kids have really thrived with writing has been with classically inspired materials. I’m not sure if it’s me or them, but somehow we are missing something with CM’s methods, after years of following them. I guess my point is to trust your instincts and tweak any method (or methods) you use to work with the kids you are educating.
You mentioned Geography. There is a great book called “The Geography Book” by Caroline Arnold filled with fun hands-on projects. Geography From A to Z is another popular book.momto3blessingsParticipant
Following this as we have the same struggles.
Thank you HollyS for that very honest post. I appreciate it so much. I think there is so much that is wonderful about the Charlotte Mason approach, and I really want to delve into that, but I am also an independent thinker and I find it hard to go against what I really feel to be best for us, because that is what an approach says to. But I think we can have the best of both worlds, even if we do not follow one approach to the letter in everything. I have been considering Writing with Ease too.
I was homeschooled myself, and I do not feel that I gained from my education some of the things that a Charlotte Mason education provides. I want my children to remember more of their schooling than I do of mine. (Back in those days, homeschooling was young, and textbook-based was basically the way to go.) So I look forward to implementing more of this approach, while still retaining some things in the skill subject areas that I am satisfied with.HollySParticipant
We just started WWE yesterday (and WWS last week) and I think it’s very well done. It has a focus on narration and copywork, but a bit more guidance. Writing is finally clicking for all of us.
Good. I think we will try it too. I like the idea of having some extra guidance in just how to do this since these will be fairly new skills for us.AmandaParticipant
I am curious to know which workbooks you have found and enjoyed for geography! I’m thinking of doing something similar for my will-be 4th grader next year.
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