The Charlotte Mason homeschool method is a philosophy of education. It is more than a booklist. It is a way of understanding children and how they learn.
Charlotte Mason lived in England (1842 -1923). She started a teacher's college and was an author. Her ideas were developed into curriculum that was taught in schools in England and the United states
Charlotte Mason is accepted in the homeschool movement because of the book For the Child's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay. In the book she brings out Charlotte Mason's views of educating children. Also Karen and Dean Andreola reprinted Mason's original six volume set.
In Miss Mason's preface to A Philosophy of Education she lists twenty principles. Her six volumes Homeschool Series explain more about the twenty principles. Charlotte's principles were about how children learn. Some of the main points were that children are people and knowledge feeds the mind.
To give your children a Charlotte Mason education you would need to follow all of the twenty principles. It is best to read her books so that you fully understand her principles.
For Charlotte Mason education was more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. Her motto was "education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life."
Atmosphere is the environment that the child grows up in. Atmosphere has to do with the attitudes of the parents. She believed that the child learned a lot about how to act by watching the parents.
Charlotte believed that children needed to be trained to have good habits. That is what she meant by education is a discipline.
She believed that education is part of life. It is more than learning facts. Education should be filled with living ideas. These ideas come from the Bible and good literature.
Charlotte Mason homeschool is more than unschooling. If your child wants to learn about a subject, he will be allowed to in the afternoon. You will continue with the history, copywork, and literature that are planned for the school hours.
Her education is similar to classical education but different. She emphasized learning ideas, not the memorizing of facts.
It is also more than unit studies. Miss Mason does not combine subjects under a central theme. She believed that the child should be the one to make connections with the subjects.
The more I read about Charlotte Mason homeschool the more that I like her method of teaching.
She believed in short lessons. No more than ten minutes per subject for a child under the age of eight. When the child is older you can increase the time to twenty or thirty minutes. School should be done by lunchtime.
Like her I would rather read real books instead of textbooks.
Like Miss Mason we have done narration. It is a good way for children to process information.
Children learn grammar through copy work.
Charlotte also had children learn history by making a book of centuries which is similar to a timeline. I wish that we had done more with timelines.
She believed in going out in nature to observe it.
Spelling is learned through dictation. Dictation was hard for my children. We practiced spelling by writing.
She also believed in art and music appreciation.
Miss Mason believed that children had more attention when quiet activities were mixed with hands-on projects.
I could see where this method would be good for children who have special needs. The mixture of quiet activities and hands-on projects and short lessons should appeal to children who struggle with learning.
You do not have to develop your own Charlotte Mason homeschool curriculum.
Ambleside Homeschool has a free book list and guild for each grade. You can also read the Original Homeschool Series there.
Simply Charlotte Mason has free information that you can download. The information is presented slightly differently than Ambleside. When I am trying to understand a concept it is helpful to read more than one author. Simply Charlotte Mason also has a bookstore.
This is a short overview of some of the main points of the Charlotte Mason Homeschool method. To truly understand her method of teaching you will need to read Miss Mason's books.