Music: A New Light in Their Eyes by Joel Clarkson from Story Book Soundscapes
Simple, Effective Homeschooling
It’s simple, really. Think of homeschooling as part of your lifestyle. Incorporate learning into your daily activities. Real life learning is the most effective kind of learning because it involves all of the senses, and it accomplishes a real purpose.
Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life
This is a quote by Charlotte Mason. If you don’t know about Charlotte Mason, you ought to research her philosophy and her writings. She wrote a series called “Home Education” which you can find in many places including Amazon. Many homeschoolers get the whole series. I have read parts of it, but I must confess that her writing is difficult for me. She wrote during the 1890’s, so her language is a bit dated. But there are many modern authors who interpret her ideas and principles for the homeschoolers of today.
A very good place to start to find out about the Charlotte Mason method is the book by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay called “For the Children’s Sake”. She is the daughter of Francis Schaeffer, and she describes her search for the best form of education for her own children in this book. She also explains how we can apply the CM method in our homes. This is the book that inspired me to follow the CM approach. Karen Andreola has also written several books that are very helpful in learning about Charlotte Mason’s philosophy and how to apply it in our own homeschools.
If we think of education as an atmosphere, we will set up our homes in a way that will encourage learning. We will have learning materials and resources readily available for our children. We will keep an orderly and peaceful spirit in the house as much as possible. We will encourage questions. We will be available to our children and communicate with them often. We will include them in the daily activities of taking care of the home. Teaching them to do chores is an important part of their education. Real life activities teach them many thinking skills and problem solving skills that they will need throughout life.
If we think about education as a discipline, we will train our children in good habits and character. We who are Christians tend to think of homeschooling as discipleship. So this involves teaching our children the Bible, prayer, worship, and growing in our relationship with God. For me, this is the most important part of parenting and homeschooling. I remember praying with my children many nights. I prayed for them to come to know Jesus for themselves. I prayed for them to experience His presence and to have encounters with Him that caused them to know how real He is. We put the Bible first in our homeschooling. We watched videos of Bible stories. We prayed together as a family. We sang worship songs together.
If we think about education as a life, then everything we do as a family is educational. You don’t need to worry about covering each subject when you live your life with your children, speaking with them, letting them help you, looking for teachable moments, and answering their questions. When my children were young, I encouraged them to use their imaginations and talk to me about whatever they were thinking. I paid attention to their ideas and made them feel as if they were important and interesting. Because they were! I tried to make my children feel respected and heard. We went to museums and farms and plays, but we also went to the grocery store and the post office together. I wanted them to experience life with me. I looked for opportunities to let them experience new things in the ordinary world that we lived in. I talked with them about issues that bothered them. I listened to their concerns and gave them advice and comfort. I tried to tie our homeschooling with things that were happening in real life. We studied the holidays as they came around. We studied the history that accompanied them. We learned about heroes in the Bible and heroes in history. We read books together as a family. It was part of our lifestyle. We were then able to share the experience and enjoy a story together and then share inside jokes and memories and family bonding that naturally happened.
Simplify Your Life and Your Homeschooling
Using these basic CM principles, you should be able to simplify your life and your homeschooling. Look at learning as a natural process since most children have an innate curiosity and naturally want to learn everything they can. Work with that curiosity and desire and learn right alongside them. Answer their questions if you can, and if you don’t know the answer, research with them to find the answer. In this way, you will enable them to take ownership and eventually control over their own learning. They won’t be learning because you are telling them to but because they really want to learn. And that kind of learning will stick. It will help them to find out their own gifts, talents, and interests.
Your children will enjoy the learning process and will complain a lot less than students do when they are forced to read and write about things that have nothing to do with their own lives or interests.
Simple and effective – isn’t that what we all want for our homeschooling?
I hope this message will free you up from expectations and ways of thinking that were bogging you down and keeping you from enjoying this amazing time in the lives of your children and this wonderful experience of living life with them.
May your family be blessed by the atmosphere, discipline and life that you live together in your home.
Here is a little freebie I’ve made for you if you would like to learn more about the Charlotte Mason method.