The Charlotte Mason Method According to Me

The purpose of this post is to describe how I have adapted the Charlotte Mason method to my personality style and styles of my children, our family dynamics, my energy level, my priorities, and my Great Expectations!

The biggest element of our Charlotte Mason education and homeschool method altogether is reading aloud. I discovered this key when I took a closer look at what was working and what wasn’t in our daily homeschooling endeavors. I saw that making my children do workbooks and forcing them to think about what I wanted them to think about was making it feel like a fight every day. It was like I was the evil ogre and they were the poor frightened children who were at my mercy, and making them learn was my weapon against them. That is not exactly what I had in mind when I started homeschooling them, and it’s not how I wanted every day to feel.

I thought about what I enjoyed and what they enjoyed each day, and it didn’t take long to realize that it was the time we spent reading a good book together. I then thought about the different subjects they were learning about just from the stories I read aloud to them. Most of them were from different periods in history, so they were learning about history. Most of them were about different places on earth, different countries, different parts of our own country, different cultures. You know what subject that is, or subjects those are, don’t you? We were covering geography, social studies, social sciences, cultural anthropology (!), and more social type stuff. Not to mention, the elements of a story, good writing, character development, plot development, setting, descriptive writing, too much to mention, right?

And they were interacting mind to mind, heart to heart, with ideas and thoughts of some of the best writers the world has known. Not to mention, the stories and biographies of great men and women who have been greatly used by God and the principles of the Kingdom of God from the books I chose. The inspiration to live a great life for God, wholly committed to Him and being a person of strong character, integrity and virtue were also thrown into the mix. Win, win, win!!!

So that’s my spiel about why reading aloud is such a great thing. And choosing good, living books.

Now onto some other ways that I have adapted the CM method so that it works for us.

We have done notebooking and lapbooking in the past. Some of my children have enjoyed it and thrived with it. Others did it because I asked them to. Most of them keep notebooks of their own, even as they have gotten older. It helps them to keep their stuff organized.

We have done lots of nature study for science. Just look at all of the caterpillar posts on my blog, and you will see how seriously I take the butterfly’s metamorphosis! We have had tadpoles become frogs. We have learned about rocks, minerals, earth science topics, through living books from the library. We watch documentaries. I encourage them and resource them to study whatever science topic they express interest in.

The other branches of science come up according to their interest and through life in general, and we research whatever we want to know more about.

History is sometimes a discussion topic when we are talking about current events. I also have many DVD’s and CD’s that cover history topics.

We have studied History chronologically, biblically, by countries and regions, etc.

We have acted out scenes from different time periods occasionally, too.

I see these activities as whetting their appetite, and giving them a foundation that they can build on and develop according to their interests and needs later on.

Math is always a challenge. I keep trying different things looking for the best method for each child. I make sure they have the basic skills and basic facts memorized, then supplement as they show me more of what they want to do with their lives.

We have used Teaching Textbooks, Life of Fred, CTC math, and Living math activities in the kitchen. My youngest is currently using Master Books Math Lessons for a Living Education, and seems to enjoy that.

We do some picture study, some composer and music appreciation (just identifying a song and its composer) and some study of composers and artists through living books from the library.

We do copywork from Queen Homeschool Supplies and some from Character Italic published by Shaw Family Media since I like to use Italic handwriting with my children.

Copywork can be used to help with handwriting and such skills, but it can also be used to inspire and teach moral lessons. It can be used to help with scripture memorization and study, too.

Narration is an important part of reading aloud. I mostly use it to review what happened the last time we read the story, but it’s a good way of helping them to take the learning and memory to a deeper level than it would have gone without the act of narration. I find that my kids remember a lot better than I do when I ask them to catch us up on what happened last.

I am an educator. I love teaching and learning. But I am not a drill sergeant. I am not the fount of all knowledge. I am a person, and I recognize that each of my children is a person with his own interests, moods, needs, abilities, strengths, weaknesses, callings, struggles, rhythms, routines, and minds that are known only to them and God. I see myself as a facilitator of education, learning, and attaining their dreams and desires. I do not want to be a stumbling block or an obstacle to their gaining skills and knowledge and reaching their own goals, dreams, desires and hopes because of something that a book decided or I decided they needed to devote lots of time and brain space and thinking time to because someone else arbitrarily decided they needed to know it.

So there you go! Take from it what you will. I hope something in all of this may help someone to relax a little more and enjoy the learning experience and lifestyle that we call homeschooling.

Ask the Lord how your philosophy, curriculum (or lack thereof) and routines and habits, patterns and rhythms should flow in your family to bring honor to Him and establish His purposes for each of your children. And may peace and contentment reign in the atmosphere of your home to minimize stress and relationship problems while each of you strives to become all that God meant for you to be.

Asking for Help

If you ever felt like you should be able to do it all – and do it all by yourself, because otherwise you were a weak person, you might want to watch this scope I did when I was at one of my weakest times. You will learn that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but can turn out to be a blessing and even enjoyable and lifegiving if you will allow God to bless you through others.

https://www.periscope.tv/penneymarie/1OdJrgLEjePxX

The quality isn’t good, but I think the message is good enough, that I decided to share it anyway.

Own Your Life

This is a brand new book by Sally Clarkson! In this book, she shares stories of how God has helped her to live the life that God gave her to live. She tells about her life and the lessons she has learned and how we can live well and leave a legacy that God will be proud of.

Learn from one who has been there! And she is still mothering and nurturing her grown children. Her heart is to help those of us who are coming along behind her to live “that blessed, intentional and full life that God designed for you to have.”

Go to Sally’s blog to pre-order this book.

I know that you will be blessed by reading this book. I’ve read the first chapter, and I was majorly touched by it.

Sally’s blog is here.

You’re a Mom – That’s Enough

I know it doesn’t seem like it. Especially when you have just left a career. Or when you are trying to figure out how to juggle being a mom and still working at a career. But look at what God says about mothers and children and family in His word. Does He ever mention a career outside of the home? Does He ever say that He knows that you won’t find staying at home with your child or children fulfilling, so you will need to find other things to do, too?

I know how you feel. I was there, too, when I had my first child. My heart was to stay home and raise my children, but I still had to adjust. And it took a couple of years to adjust to the slower pace. I still wanted to go, go, go. I was frustrated by how much effort it took to get all the baby gear together just to go to the grocery store or the park or a friend’s house. Then I had another baby. Then another. I had been doing homeschool assessments all during the summer and tutoring whenever anybody asked. It made me feel a little more significant and fulfilled than just changing diapers and cleaning (which I abhor). I came to the realization that I have chosen to be a homemaker, but I don’t really like homemaking. And I’m not really good at it. I felt like a failure, since I had chosen as a life profession something that I’m not good at and don’t enjoy doing. So I kept trying to find other things to do along with the things that I’m not good at. Things that I’m better at, like tutoring and talking to people about how they are educating their children.

Finally, the Lord stopped me, as I was running myself ragged with all the outside things besides taking care of my own children. He let me know in no uncertain terms that I was neglecting my children. Oh my! I was grief-stricken. I had been neglecting them for about 10 years at that point.

I had to stop looking for fulfillment in things outside of my home, my husband and my children.

I was under direct orders from the Lord, so I figured I had better obey Him. So I stopped trying to go somewhere every day. I stayed home with my children. We then had time to do some projects together. I baked with them more. I found activities on the internet that I could do with them. I still fight with doing other things when I should be spending time with my children. They get busy doing their own things, and they are having so much fun, that I don’t want to interrupt them. Sometimes I just start reading a book and get caught up in it and don’t really spend much time with them one on one. Now that the internet is here, I really struggle with spending too much time on it and not enough time with my kids. And I don’t take care of the house like I should.

But I’m here. I’m Mom. And to them, that’s enough. More importantly, to God, that’s enough.

Family picture Mother's Day cropped 001

Judging Other People’s “Enough”

You aren’t praying enough.

You aren’t reading the Bible enough.

You aren’t speaking the Word enough.

You aren’t giving enough.

You don’t have enough faith.

You don’t go to church enough.

Because if you were, you wouldn’t be going through the trial you’re going through. All of your needs would be met, and you wouldn’t have any lack.

Okay.

Except for the one verse I have read that says, “Indeed, we felt within ourselves that we had received the [very] sentence of death, but that was to keep us from trusting in and depending on ourselves instead of on God Who raises the dead.” 1 Cor. 1:9

And this verse: “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” 1 John 3:17

You know, God really does allow trials to come into our lives. And He uses them to produce patience and stronger faith in us.

And then He speaks to His people around us to help us. Many times, they listen and respond. And the person in the trial gets the help they need. Sometimes, people don’t respond in love when they see a need.

Instead they judge and say in their heart: “Well, that person must not be doing enough of something right, or they wouldn’t be in that predicament.”

Then things get really bad for the person going through the trial.

And then the people around them really judge them and say, “They must have brought it on themselves.”

Lord, help us to walk in love and fulfill Galatians 6:10: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Help us to LOVE enough.