Who Was Charlotte Mason?
Charlotte Mason (1842 – 1923) was a highly respected British educator in the late nineteenth century. She offered an alternative method of education that included a broader curriculum rich in art and literature. Because of this, her methods were often adopted by English families who wanted to teach their children at home. Many schools (mostly private) also used her methods with great success. Apparently, her popularity meant that she became somewhat of a celebrity with the English upper and Middle Class.
She eventually founded her own House of Education in the Lakes District at Ambleside. It was a teaching college for governesses. She also wrote a six volume series on educating children which are known as The Original Home Schooling Series.
Her books were well received because they offered practical teaching ideas on how to give children a generous and rich education. But her philosophy also emphasised a respect for the child, and the value of habit training; She also acknowledged that children are spiritual beings and they need an education that reveals to them the wonder and glory of God. Her method is popular for Australian Christian home schooling.
Charlotte Mason wasn’t a fan of textbooks, preferring real books, observation and experience. For example, she used authors who wrote about science in a narrative style, she also encouraged nature study and scientific conversations. Similarly, history was not dates and events but it was taught sequentially in a narrative way through stories and museum visits. Likewise, geography involved excursions, travel stories and map study. Spelling, grammar and writing were not taught by wrote, and rules but were learnt while using lots of great literature. And perhaps her most controversial teaching method was requiring a child to narrate – tell back – what they had learnt, rather than making children write formal compositions, and testing them using comprehension questions or quizzes.
She said, “History must afford its pageants, science its wonders, literature its intimacies, philosophy its speculations, religion its assurances to every man, and his education must have prepared him for wondering in these realms of gold.” Volume 6 p. 43
The Christian homeschooling movement saw a renewal of Charlotte Mason’s ideas and methods. As a result, many home educators have adopted her teaching philosophies and techniques and this is what we call The Charlotte Mason Method.
My Homeschool Educational Philosophy
Charlotte Mason’s literature rich approach to home education is our primary philosophy and method. However, we have also introduced a range of eclectic teaching ideas and resources which reflect a modern approach to the Australian Curriculum. We are not purists in the application of her method.
An atmosphere of learning is encouraged in the home with natural learning opportunities harnessed. Delight directed learning is supported with children having the freedom to explore desired areas of interest.
Learning About Charlotte Mason
We realise that many of you will be new to the Charlotte Mason approach, so with your subscription we provide our free course How To Homeschool 101. You can do the course in it’s entirety or dip in and out as a refresher when needed.
Charlotte Mason topics include:
- Teaching Handwriting the Charlotte Mason Way
- What is a living book and how to use them
- Replacing textbooks and worksheets with notebooking
- What is narration
- How to teach writing, spelling and grammar
- Nature Journaling with Children (Free Dowloadable ebook)
- History studies
- How to make a Book of Centuries
- Panoramic geography and map study
We hold that the child’s mind is no mere sac to hold ideas but is rather…a ‘spiritual organism’ with an appetite for all knowledge.Charlotte Mason
The question is not – how much does a youth know? when he has finished his education – but how much does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and therefore, how full is the life he has before him?Charlotte Mason
The teacher who allows his scholars the freedom of the city of books is at liberty to be their guide, philosopher and friend; and is no longer the mere instrument of forcible intellectual feeding.Charlotte Mason