How much Charlotte Mason are you?

Answer the questionnaire with a yes or no.
  1. Do your children spend 3 or more hours outside every day?
  2. Do they describe and identify what they see outdoors? 
  3. Do you know birds, flowers, insects and other animals from your area?
  4. Have you trained them in many habits consistently and frequently?
  5. Have you read her original volumes? At least one full volume?
  6. Do you follow the Ambleside curriculum?
  7. Do you have composer, artist, hymn, folk song, foreign language studies?
  8. What about nature journals and walks?
  9. Do they paint with brushes regularly?
  10. Do your children narrate from age six?
  11. Do they listen attentively to your one and only reading?
  12. Do you have only living books, no.twaddle.at.all?
  13.  Do you study history using time lines and books of centuries?
  14. Have you ever bought any prepacked curriculum?
  15. Have you ever done a unit study, lap book, or deferred to any other method different than Mason?
  16. Do you use any worksheets other than a few for math?
  17. Do you use manipulatives for math?
  18. Do you have cable TV? What about a Kindle or any reader? An i pad?
  19. Do your children play any video games, watch any movies, or listen to any music but classic?
  20. Do you memorize whole Bible passages and poetry?
  21. Do your children play any instruments?
  22. Do they play or act out Shakespeare plays or the books you read to them in their play?
  23. Do they do any handiwork in the free time?
  24. You mean you don't knit, crochet, saw, or bake?
  25. Do you eat any fast food or prepacked foods?
If you answered no to more than ten of these questions or yes to 14, 15, 16, 19, 19 or 25 , I'm sorry to announce that you are a Charlotte Mason impostor... JUST KIDDING.

I know many of AMAZING YOU, truly DO most if not all of the seriously mentioned things. I also know that it is not about the quantity of things you do. It is not how well you do them, or if you failed to do something in the past. I know that TODAY is what counts. That every year is a better year if you try a few or even just one more thing that will get you closer to the never obtainable Charlotte Mason education ideal that in any case regulates and guides our days, but should never suffocate them or discourage our wonderful homeschools with our children.

Every time you do something, I only hope it's moved by an IDEA. By the thought that it is something good for your family, not to put a check mark or to catch up with the other masonschoolers, or because "everybody" seems to do it, so I should.

I'm thinking now about "They call me mommy". It's obvious she has a renewed interest in incorporating hymns, and folk songs, and foreign language studies. She is also beautifully pregnant. I've been writing than having a day per 'subject' so to speak is working well for us. And that those studies we never quite did very well, are improving. But these two or three weeks with my husband's condition, those things have diminished. However, sitting a while and deciding on some hymns and folk songs, and foreign language songs... not many, a few... has made it possible to always be able to play them on the laptop on our short school time more frequently than ever.To be honest, those are the things that I like to do every single day, but now they happen once, twice or more in the week, and they add so much color to our days.

I also have to be completely honest. We are not reading Trial and Triumph, Parables from Nature, nor Shakespeare for children. And just because it's not a lot, or to compensate or anything, but because I fell in love with this short book, we added Highroads of Geography. The first book I'm not interested in reading now. Maybe later. We don't believe Trial and Triumph to be the history of christianity, but it has in it the life of many important religious figures in our Western culture, and as such, it's a book we may get to later. Parables from Nature we don't read because I simply can't read it well, with my accent, and the content the way is presented, is totally over our abilities at the time. It's not that we are giving up in a difficult book, it's that simply we have enough challenge and we are not ready to benefit from it yet. Again, it's a book we may consider later, who knows? One mom was just saying they read Fifty Famous Stories Retold, but it was never her favorite. To us, Fifty Famous Stories Retold is a favorite, at least to me, and if this were the challenge, I won't eliminate it because the few but carefully selected history readings I'm not ready to forgo. And Shakespeare because I only have a girl in AO year 1, and I know that in two years, when my youngest is in year 1, Shakespeare will be a success. Then they'll be able to act out the stories and appreciate it best. It doesn't worry me, my oldest is perfectly happy with the books we read, the things we do. For play production, my oldest has been weeks writing her own Cinderella plays on word. Those Shakespeare for children were not written at the time of Charlotte Mason. Again, it's great if you are using them since your children are 6 or 7, I'm just fine waiting a bit longer. In the meantime, it will be me who will read Shakespeare to prepare for later.

All this Charlotte Mason thing is something easier than we make it be, because there is no belts or levels to obtain. You'll get better with time, but it may be that at any given moment in your life and homeschool you need to stop and regroup. Kathy in her post is right. There is today many blogs and information of those who claim to be CM or influenced by her, many curriculum packages, products, etc, and it's probably confusing and not quite right. Then, how much or how little you take from her will depend on you, but be content with what you have whatever it is instead of beating yourself about those things which don't happen yet or never will, I'm talking to myself. If I follow her principles it is because to us they work, at the humble level we apply them, which is still very incipient, but what can I say? I see many benefits from this type of education, but listen, your children life and education don't pend exclusively on your ability to stick to Charlotte Mason or any philosophy of education. After all, we are all just a family with our idiosyncrasy, our believes, our likes and dislikes, our strengths and weaknesses, and in our case we have faith and know that our daughters will be fine as persons, the way God intends them to be academically, physically, and most important, spiritually.


10 opinion(s):

Grace'n'Chaos said...

Lot's of food for thought Silvia. Thanks for the post; you've made some great points.

...they call me mommy... said...

Great post, Silvia!!! It IS a daily growing, learning, adjusting, and PRAYING FAITHFULLY on how to apply Charlotte's wonderful method for each family!!!

Bless you!
Amy

Silvia said...

Thank you friends! You are a constant encouragement.

And Amy, about the list... thanks to YOU for sharing, it was my pleasure visiting it. I'm slowly learning to look at things, rejoice with friends, and at only a few times a year when the research bug bites me, I then look to add to my to buy or to check out and to read lists. I do have lists but DON'T anymore. I mean I do not obsess over lists any more, and I let life take me to places spontaneously, or pick books and things to do from my mental or physical lists when it feels right.

I guess I'm learning to live in an era of excessive and suffocating information, and of too much over-stimulation.

s

Michelle said...

I do not, in fact, use Ambleside Online. But I do all the other CM things and I do not do the non-CM things (like lapbooks. Not that lapbooks are horrible..but I'm not crafty and they bore ME lol).

Just found you in the last few days. Added you to my blogroll.

Silvia said...

I'm glad you found me. I also added you to the blogs I follow, Michelle.

Molly said...

I was starting to feel guilty about how lacking our CM days have been, when I realized the list was tongue-in-cheek! Thanks for the encouragement. I love CM method and it is wonderful to see my children blossoming with it.

lisa said...

Sylvia,
FINALLY!! A blog about the Charlotte Mason method!! We are beginning school on Aug. 29th - using the Charlotte Mason approach. And I have been looking for a blog to give me some pointers.(I have been a textbook style teacher ever since we started homeschooling. I got tired of the boring, dry way to present the material, but never knew about the CM method til recently. And for the first time, I - and my children - are excited and eager to start school! I have found all the websites, but I was thinking that a blog might be a little more user friendly and personal.
Needless to say I am your newest follower, and I'm looking for ward to reading more of your posts.
Thanks you!
Blessings,
Lisa

Silvia said...

Yes Molly... I felt playful and wanted to tease you a bit, and mostly encourage you.

Lisa, you are lucky, not because you've found my blog, but because I know the TRUE CM blogs, wiser and truly awesome. I put them together for some friends with whom I had a nice CM discussion yesterday, and you know what, I plan to launch that post with BLOGS AND WEBSITES and what they contain in 15 minutes!!

Nice to meet you two!

Ellen said...

Hi Silvia! I consider myself quasi-CM, since I fail to follow faithfully her entire philosophy but still firmly adhere to a literary education. Areas in which I fall short: nature study, handicrafts, habits, hymns, and folksongs. Areas in which we could do more: artist and composer studies.

Yet I am okay with that. What we do fits with our family's style and my goals for the children's education. The more I read and learn about other families' home schools, the freer I feel! What a blessing!

Silvia said...

That was my intention, to write about us feeling free and fine and joyful about the way we have chosen for our families, even if it's wanting, lacking, or not as much CM-ish or anything else.

I fall short in the same areas as you, and we could do better in art and composer studies too, and I still call myself 'Masonite', ha ha ha. But I'm also OK with our shortcomings, and happy, and the girls are enjoying and learning, and CARING about what they learn. A

 

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