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.

What it Means to Be Changed By Love

I am Penney Douglas. I have been Changed By Love.

I am still in the process of being Changed By Love.

What does it mean to be Changed By Love?

One way to be Changed By Love is to overcome fear.

I started out with lots of fear: Fear of man, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of embarrassment, fear of making a fool of myself, fear of not measuring up, being insignificant, not being good enough, etc.

Can you relate to any of these fears? Maybe you have been plagued by other fears than these, but nonetheless, most of us start out with certain fears that we struggle to get over throughout our lifetimes.

But we need to do what it takes to overcome all types of fear.

Why try so hard to conquer fear in our lives?

Because there is no fear in love.

And perfect love casts out fear.

It’s not God’s will that we live in fear.

Fear is the enemy’s will for our lives.

Fear is faith in the enemy’s power over us.

God wants us to put our faith in His power over the enemy.

So who do you trust – God or the enemy?

God is love. Perfect love casts out fear.

So trust in God, and cast out fear.

The new person that you become – the new mindset you will carry – will be based on Love.

This is one way that Love changes us.

There are more ways.

Stay tuned.

There is more to come!

My Heart, His Garden

I planted a garden today.

My new flower bed

I helped Garrett plant his garden a couple of weeks ago.

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Garden is the theme of the hour.

God is telling us to go back to the garden.

As I said before, so many things can be compared to a garden that I became overwhelmed with the enormity of the task of writing about a garden. I felt that the Lord was leading me to write about a garden, but I didn’t know which aspect of a garden He wanted me to address.

I think I have gotten some clarity on that now.

God delights in gardens and views each of his children as a garden.

My heart of hearts is a garden. It is God’s garden.

I meet Him there sometimes when I worship wholeheartedly.

When I enter into His presence.

Do you know what I mean when I say that I feel God’s presence when I worship?

Have you experienced a peace that passes understanding, a love that encompasses everyone around you and all that you know, as you focus on the Lord and His majesty, as you picture Him seated on the throne and the angels bowing before Him in worship and feel His holiness and power emanating from the throne?

There is a song by Misty Edwards that beautifully describes the secret garden inside of each of us where God will meet with us alone, if we will meet Him there. This takes some time, effort and Holy Spirit-inspired and empowered prayer to really enter into. If you are not aware that it’s even a possibility, you may never attempt to meet with the Lord in the secret garden of your heart.

Here is that song with some pictures of gardens to help inspire your imagination of what a garden inside of your heart might look like.

Adam and Eve walked and talked with God in the coolness of the day in the Garden of Eden.

They lost access to the garden when they sinned. Hence, all of mankind lost access to it. But after Jesus died and carried our sins away, He gave us access to the Father again. We can have relationship and fellowship with God, His Father – our Father – because the veil that separated us from Him is no longer there. The veil was ripped from top to bottom when Jesus was crucified.

Now we can walk with God in the cool of the day again.

We can meet with Him in the garden by worshiping Him and praying. We stay there until we sense His presence. We listen for His voice. We get revelation from Him. Then we carry that revelation with us as we go into our daily activities.

But we never really have to leave His presence. He lives inside of us, so we take His presence with us wherever we go.

We must do our part. If you have the baptism of the Holy Spirit, you must really exercise your spiritual gifts that come with that and pray in your prayer language. Often. Every day. Not just every once in a while.

In this way, we can war from the garden, from the inside out.

And we can take the land or territory that God has told us to as we spent that time with Him in the garden of our heart of hearts.

You Be You, I’ll Be Me

different tea cups

I am me. You are you. She is she.

And the converse is true.

I am not you. You are not me. And she is not you or me.

What am I saying?

God has made each of us unique.

So why do we compare ourselves to each other?

I will not do things the way you do them. I don’t want to do them the way you do them.

I do not see things the way you see them.

It’s okay. I am me. And you are you.

I discovered something while teaching my kids how to drive. I noticed things that they didn’t notice as I was looking in the same direction that they were. In some cases, I saw things that I wished they had been paying attention to, like the brake lights on the car ahead of us!

But in other cases, they noticed things that I didn’t see that helped us get to where we needed to go.

At first, some of them noticed nice cars that they liked all around us. That drove me bananas! I couldn’t believe they were paying attention to such insignificant, unimportant things when they should be paying attention to the road ahead of them, the traffic, and making sure they were in the right lane to get to where we needed to go.

As they got more experience, they started to learn about what they really needed to be paying attention to. Some near misses, some exclamations from me, some honks from other drivers, missing exits that we should have taken, and getting lost helped them to realize that they needed to pay more attention to their driving than to the nice cars around them.

They learned how to drive safely. But they don’t do it exactly the way I would.

They learned the most important skills and what really deserved their attention while they were driving. They still don’t notice the same things I do as we’re driving along. But they take care of the important things now.

There are some things that we all need to pay attention to. You and me and she all have to do some of the same basic things, like take care of ourselves, our families and our houses.

But the way we do these things will vary with our priorities, our interests, our goals, and our personalities.

My way is not the right way.

Neither is yours!

OK, I’ll be me – you be you.

I’ll take ideas and inspiration from the things you do and the way you do them.

And you can see if there’s anything I’m doing that you may want to try.

But do it your way. The way that works for you and your family.

Deal???

Deal.