Charlotte Mason was a late nineteenth-century British educator whose ideas were far ahead of her time. She believed that children are born persons worthy of respect, rather than blank slates, and that it was better to feed their growing minds with living literature and vital ideas and knowledge, rather than dry facts and knowledge filtered and pre-digested by the teacher. Her method of education, still used by some private schools and many homeschooling families, is gentle and flexible, especially with younger children, and includes first-hand exposure to great and noble ideas through books in each school subject, conveying wonder and arousing curiosity, and through reflection upon great art, music, and poetry; nature observation as the primary means of early science teaching; use of manipulatives and real-life application to understand mathematical concepts and learning to reason, rather than rote memorization and working endless sums; and an emphasis on character and on cultivating and maintaining good personal habits. Schooling is teacher-directed, not child-led, but school time should be short enough to allow students free time to play and to pursue their own worthy interests such as handicrafts. Traditional Charlotte Mason schooling is firmly based on Christianity, although the method is also used successfully by secular families and families of other religions. Here in one affordable volume is her complete Homeschooling Series: Home Education: Six lectures by Charlotte Mason about the raising and educating of young children (up to the age of nine), for parents and teachers. She details how lessons in various school subjects can be done using her approach. She concludes with remarks about the Will, the Conscience, and the Divine Life in the Child. Parents and Children: A collection of 26 articles from the original Parent's Review magazines to encourage and instruct parents. School Education: Thoughts about the teaching and curriculum of children aged 9-12, either at school or at home. Ourselves: A character curriculum book written directly to children. Book I, Self-Knowledge, is for elementary school students; Book II, Self-Direction, is for older students. Formation of Character: Includes case studies of children (and adults) who cured themselves of bad habits; reflections on subjects including both schooling and vacations (or "stay-cations" as we now call them); various aspects of home schooling, with a special section detailing the things that Charlotte Mason thought were important to teach to girls in particular; and examples of how education affected outcome of character in famous writers of her day. Towards a Philosophy of Education: Charlotte Mason's final book, written after years of seeing her approach in action. This volume gives the best overview of her philosophy, and includes the final version of her 20 Principles. This book is particularly directed to parents of older children, about ages 12 and up, but is a valuable overview for parents of younger children as well, covering both theory and practice.
Charlotte Mason, a renowned British educator, lived during the turn of the 20th century. She turned the idea of education being something of utilitarian necessity into an approach based upon living ideas. She believed that education is "an atmosphere, a discipline, a life" and a "science of relations." Her methods are embraced around the world today, especially among the homeschool community.
I read this entire, meaty series over a dozen years ago when I was preparing to homeschool my first child. I have never regretted spending the time to do so. I consider it perhaps the best investment of time that I could have made because it challenged me to form a philosophy of education for my own family. Having educated 4 children the CM way for 11 years, I can say that it is part of the fiber of my being. Most appreciated points:
*emphasis on reading whole books *the value of habit training *loving vigilance rather than micro-managing *artist and composer studies *nature studies *making connections key to education *no twaddle
I read this book online. I didn't feel it was as much a book about homeschooling as it was a philosophy of education and how to treat children. I like knowing Ms. Mason's opinion. While I was reading I felt like my grandma was advising me. Many of the ideas resonated with me. She advises letting children form their own conclusions from their own observations. I like how she advocates daily nature time. She believes children should spend the majority of the time outdoors, even taking meals outdoors. Now if I could just afford someone to care for my house so the children and I and the dog could be off to the country every day! I also like her idea of introducing children to other languages, reading poetry, and demonstrating the beauty of language to young children. She feels the mother to be the best educator of children in the preschool and kindergarten years and says very young children learn best in their own families.
In short, this is a Victorian self help guide for mothers. I adored it for its boldness and idealism.
This series is tied for first in the outstanding impact it has had on me in home educating my children. I can't say enough about how great it is.
This series delves into teaching our children all the great things they need to know (narration, nature study, composition, artist study, etc), but more importantly it address the other things that make up a successful human being. The training of character, proper habits, exercise, religious worship and duty are the main crux of her whole message.
Our society may produce well educated children (which may or may not be true), but how well do they function? How well do they respond to change? Are they making a difference? Are they ambitious? Are they God-fearing and selfless?
Mason presents a moving series that left me elevated and empowered with systems and tools to improve my life and my family's life.
This series of six densely-packed books contains the developed educational philosophy of my dearest homeschooling mentor, Charlotte Mason. Writing at a time when the educational system had not yet abandoned the systematic study of classical languages and history, Mason retains these and other elements of the classical education that had been standard in Britain for hundreds of years. She adds to it her own inspired understanding of how children learn, and how we can best facilitate that learning. Part of her genius is her recognition that children are born complete persons, and should be intellectually respected, provided with a full and generous curriculum, and encouraged not to simply imbibe "facts" but to develop real relations with things and ideas. These are books to read again and again.
I remember my mother having these books on her nightstand nearly all the time. When I happened to recognize Charlotte Mason's name due to this reason just a few months ago, I purchased the series via kindle and read it in a month. While I don't agree with everything laid out, I do agree on the basis of the thoughts and was taken in by the majority of what was suggested.
In her book, Mason rips apart the thoughts and philosophies commonly accepted in the educational system. Children are smarter than we give them credit for, she argues, and our highest duty to them is to raise them to discipline themselves to think as it will go far in ALL areas of life. To not let them explore and question is to inhibit their process of learning to think.
So many other areas are covered, and her theories and what not are discussed in depth. Granted the old English with the dense material can be tough to process sometimes, but it's well worth the time and effort it might take to get through it.
I love this series. I read it many years ago when I was just starting out as a homeschool mom and also when I began teaching homeschoolers, tutoring students, and offering seminars for homeschooling parents. The books are old-fashioned and full of warmth and wisdom. I found narration to be excellent with kids. My own approach to education is to properly learn to read using systematic intensive phonics which hands a child the keys to goo reading skills followed by explorations of books, lots of discussion, plenty of art and music appreciation, nature study, and time to play. These books nurtured me as I nurtured kids. You will want Karen Andreola's excellent Charlotte Mason Companion to go along with this.
Always pull these out about this time, food for thought never ceases each time I read these, and more especially Vol's 1, 3 and 6, my favorites!Anyone having their children read "Ourselves" or reading it aloud to them?? Do tell...
I was thrilled when I found these books at Mccay’s the other day. I’ve been poring over them for the last few weeks and have been consistently amazed at some of the parallels between the time she wrote the books and today. (The books were written in the late 1800’s, Early 1900’s.) She has a Christian worldview and has the most beautiful way of encouraging those who desire to do things in a more excellent way. And of course my favorite thing that Charlotte says is, “No Twaddle!”
These books are probably chock-full of great information. I'm interested enough in the Charlotte Mason methods of homeschooling that I decided I should read the source material. But y'all, for some reason I just could not get through it. I may try again when I'm not also trying to finalize curriculum choices and plan out the upcoming school year--maybe I just had too much homeschooling stuff going on in my brain to be able to think about the philosophy behind it.
Still on Volume 1 and reading the modern language version. So far I find it very well-written with advice and tidbits of wisdom that would be helpful for any mom (homeschooling or not)! I am planning on homeschooling using her methods (and Ambleside Online recommended booklists) and know these books are going to be a great help and encouragement. :)
Charlotte Mason, my hero. She was this crazy woman who came around with this amazing vision about kids and the way they could be learned. I'm still in trance after reading the books several years ago...