Monday, October 17, 2011

My Thoughts on Charlotte Mason Education

There's actually quite a lot about Charlotte Mason Education that I like. It suggests short lessons for younger kids. It prefers living books over textbooks whenever possible. It expects foreign language to be taught. It does not rely on rote memorization. When done right, it can be a quite rigorous education.

The Science seems to be mainly Nature Studies, in the younger years, but I think that is more about interpretation. I think you could focus on other areas of Science, do plenty of experiments & explorations, and still be considered the Charlotte Mason method. The method seems to lean toward more exploration & discovery in Science and less dry textbook learning. At least, that's how I see it. So, I don't think it has to be just Nature Studies.

This is another that really pushes reading the Classics. Now, it doesn't say just the Classics, but does say just good literature. Of course, you all know that I disagree with limiting children's reading in such a way. Yes, have them read good literature, have them read the Classics, but also allow some fluff (it won't hurt).

I think that my biggest problem is really that some aspects of Language Arts aren't really focused on. There seems to be the mentality that things like Spelling & Grammar will be picked up if they are reading plenty of well-written works. I simply don't agree with that idea.

I like that Writing is started with oral narrations, but I'm not sure that actual writing should wait until age 10. Maybe due to how many problems my daughter has with Writing, I think they need to start earlier.

I'm not a fan of copywork. I really just don't see a need for it if they are writing in their various subjects. If they were not writing in their other subjects, then I could see needing to have a focus on penmanship. I expect my kids to write in most subjects, though. So, copywork would be excessive for us.

So, overall, I like the Charlotte Mason method. I agree with much of the philosophy behind it. There are just a few things that I would tweak.