Adrienne's Reviews > A Charlotte Mason Education: A Home Schooling How-To Manual

A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison
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Jan 12, 09

bookshelves: homeschooling
Read in January, 2009

Let me begin by saying that I really like a lot of Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy. But my review is not about Charlotte Mason, it is about this book.
It is a miracle that I finished this book. Clearly, like most homeschoolers, Levison is uber Christian. Fine. But she also seems a bit self-righteous, feeling the need to frequently drop references that demonstrate just how devout she is (ie, censoring all Charles Dickens novels because of A Christmas Carol--she doesn’t allow ghost stories in her home. Or this comment about art appreciation: “If you’re like me, you may want to place self-stick notepad sheets over any objectionable scenes or body parts.” Or worse: “With these [art books she owns:], a sticker or black marker can reduce objectionable content.” What!!! I call that blasphemy. How about…select a different art work, or wait until your children are older…or um, open your mind.
Aside from the close-minded assumption that anyone interested in homeschooling is Christian and therefore lists the Bible as the first and most important in any list of study topics (which Levison does repeatedly), this book is really just very poorly written. As a writer and a lover of good literature, it was painful to read. It lacks style and cohesiveness. Levison seems to jump all over the place. It’s as if the book is actually just her raw notes from reading Mason’s original writings, sprinkled with a few useful but mostly useLESS, overly detailed descriptions of what her family does. Take this little gem, for example, on the subject of handwriting: “We have been using those composition books that are lined according to grade level. They have been inexpensive for us, but I am going to try those attractive blank books you can find at the book stores.” Thanks, Cath.
Unfortunately, there are only two introductory books about the Charlotte Mason method that I know of and this is one of them (the other being Karen Andreola’s, in which I find the same problems, just more because it is longer). In that regard, this is a nice book to have around so those of us who are not completely sold on the method don’t have to commit our lives to reading Mason’s original tomes unless/until we choose this style of homeschooling. But there is certainly room—and need—for a similar book that is written more deftly.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Hahaha, I think sticky notes are HOT!! I would way rather see that than a weeny;)


Amanda P. HAHAHA
THANK YOU for writing this review! It saved me from doing it. You're right on every single point, and every quote you took from the book, I was fired up to write about as well. You just saved my blood pressure from going on a 45 minute tirade. That said, we will be adopting a SECULAR interpretation of the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling. You sound like a like-minded homeschooling chick, love that! Find me on Facebook. We're just starting out with our homeschooling, and you sound like an awesome resource. :)


Amanda P. Amanda Jane Pelletier, on Facebook. :)


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