Wandering towards Charlotte Mason’s Method

Well, since Iva introduced me to a web-site full of Mason based books and a suggested outline for study, I have been steeping myself into this method.

I am becoming very enamoured with Charlotte’s methods and writings.  I think there are a whole lot of truths to her words.

Slowly I have been working on introducing her methods to the children.  I went onto the Narration bit right away.  At that point I hadn’t read too much, but the gist of Narration is very simple.  You read, they pay attention, they tell you what has been read.

Yesterday I introduced the children to the text of Charlotte’s Web.  We read the first half of the first page.  We learned the name of the character, Fern Arable.  We learned that she is eight.  We learned that it was morning and she and her mother were getting ready for breakfast and that her daddy had to have been visible.

Today we read the first chapter.  My daughter gave the first narration.  I was… bowled over.  It was so good I asked if I could write it down.  So my son gave the second narration while I frantically wrote his words down.  I am going to go with typing from now on, as I can type much faster.  Then the children made some illustrations.

Yesterday we went for a long Nature Walk on the farm’s back forty.  I found a still… 🙂  There was tons of rubbish in the back woods.  My DS found a hunter’s nest in a tree, and my daughter found a very large and fascinating puddle.  I found mushrooms growing out of a log.  And a dead raccoon.  My dog and I found that at about the same time.

It is hard to say exactly how I am going to do this.  I am very thankful that I found someone in our church and Home school group that uses Charlotte Mason’s methods.  I am planning on discussing greater details with her once I have done a bit more “steeping.”

Yesterday I also picked up some nice collection books.  Aesop’s Fables, Shakespeare in Narration form, and a most amazing book of the Human Body.  Since my daughter is going to require surgery this summer, she has been full of questions about the body.  Yesterday we had a very good hour looking at the diagrams and talking about our bodies.  My DS was in shivers and the odd convulsion during the discussion, but the DD was most interested and very absorbed by this topic.

We’ve also started reading about Cougars.  Which has been very illuminating.  For example, Cheetah’s are in their own class of cats because they can’t retract their claws.  Cougars are also known as Panther’s, Mountain Cats, etc.  They are considered a part of the Small Cat Family, as they can’t roar, but only yowl or purr.  My DS was most excited to hear that his Nick’s great uncle is a Cougar!  I will remind him of this fact the next time Nick attacks him on DS’s nocturnal visit to the washroom!

I am continuing with their current work in their various cirriculums.  At this point I feel that what I do with them is actually in line with Mason’s methods.  I realized that one reason she really appeals to me is that because I think this way instinctively.

In other news, we finished off Dhal.  This past week we actually finished Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn which was greatly adored by DS, and only tolerated by DD.  I attempted The Secret Garden but discovered that isn’t for us at this time.  So that is how I was lead to Charlotte’s Web.

For History I have a large volume called The Story of Canada, I can see I am going to have to make a decision about Creationism verses Evolutionism.  This book does have Evolution in it as per its time line.  I simply said to the Children that the Bible says that God created the world in seven days, and therefore what this book says isn’t what the Bible says.   I am planning on ordering The Story of the World for our other History book.  I am currently debating a proper time line over the book method.  My considerations will be over once I know where we are going to be living!

I am still trying to figure out the best method for Art Appreciation.  Unfortuneatly we don’t have much available to me right now!  For music, I have lots of Mozart recording in the house, especially since I was in the Concert Choir and have recordings of myself singing some of his works.

I am actually working on cartoon characters with them.  This seems like a very simple but efficient way to have the children learn expression and how a few pen strokes can say so much!

And we were over abundantly provided with games by my husband’s Grandparents that we have been doing a whole lot of math by games.  This is good.  It is so neat to see the children realizing that their math books really are important!  I am also having them do daily Math and Penmanship “Vitamens.”  Aka… drills.  These have been very effective and allow us to get things going in under 3 minutes.

So that is a nice little survey of my current methods and thoughts in our Home School!

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5 Responses to Wandering towards Charlotte Mason’s Method

  1. lovingewe says:

    Contentment among the hustle of life. Good for you.

    As for the art try the library. I have yet to purchase an art book because the librray is bulging with idea books. We tend to to the nature type arts and crafts because we live in the fields and woods also. Right now we are beginning mosaic rocks. Making patterns out of rocks we find. It is amazing how many different rocks we have in the area. Different colours and tons. The collecting brings us to having fun out in nature and enjoy other sites.

    Its nice to hear you are having fun.
    Now are you going to get through Charlottes Web without criing?

  2. Bekki says:

    I have long been briefly fasconated by CM. I say breifly only because I have only skim read her methods, not fully immersed myself. I do like the idea of it. It sounds like it may work well for you and yours. Especially the nature side of things. I knwo your boy is somewhat active…he should take to it like duck to water one would think.

    What was it about the Secret Garden that put you off? (Not boyish enough for the young man?)
    I just got a shipment of books from England. Huckleberry Finn was one of them. What did your daughter not like? (I have that one and Tom Sawyer, Moby Dick, Kidnapped and the British Folk Tales. I’m just wondering which to choose for our family read.)

  3. songbirdy says:

    Thanks for the links Marlyn!


    The Secret Garden was too long in getting into the story for the children. I think that at the age of 5 and 7, the descriptive passages were holding the children back. I read the first 7 chapters to them. On a whim I tried the Charlotte’s Web, and their narrations were instantly dramatically improved.

    DD didn’t like the gruesomeness of Huckleberry Finn. There are some very… real scenes. She likes fairies and flowers, pink and purple. Not the description of when Huckleberry Finn covered up his escape from his father, and several more passages.

    I would strongly recommend doing Tom Sawyer first. It is the first of the two.

    I read a short Kidnapped to the kids (the friendlied version). They both liked that.

    We also started Treasure Island by Rober Louis Stevenson… that is actually really liked by the DD. Because she is imagining them as Muppets. So… some food for thought there LOL!

    I think your kids would love Tom Sawyer… but that is just based on the choices you have. My most favourite children’s book is The Secret Garden.

  4. I have tried using the Charlotte Mason “timing” with my Dc but we don’t do well with it. I really need to do some more reading and have my kids do some narrations & dictation.
    Thanks for bringing this up Roberta!

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