Even the most dedicated of Charlotte Mason homeschoolers sometimes find themselves falling out of line with the principles she espoused. Without frequent evaluation, it’s easy to drift off course until your homeschool doesn’t seem very CM at all. Here are signs that you’ve fallen off the Charlotte Mason wagon.
Speeding Past Narration
Let’s be honest. As valuable as narration is, it does take time. If you have found yourself habitually omitting narration (either oral or written), you may be about to fall off the CM wagon.
Narration of living books is a cornerstone of a CM education. If you leave it off, you really can’t say that you’re following the CM style.
Being Stuck Indoors
CM advised daily walks outdoors. Those daily excursions didn’t always include nature study, per se. But the idea was to get outside, breathe fresh air, and exercise the body while being at least exposed to God’s creation.
Charlotte Mason would have loved the book Last Child in the Woods. In it, Richard Louv expresses scientific proof of the value of nature in children’s lives. It is not an extra but a necessity.
When was the last time you enjoyed the outdoors? Have nature walks and nature journaling become distant memories? If so, you are in danger of falling off the CM wagon.
Overlooking Artist and Composer Study
Can you quickly name the last artist and composer you studied with your children? (If you can tell who you are currently studying, bonus points for you. You are firmly in the wagon on this one.)
If it takes some time to recall the name or it has been a few months ago, you’ve fallen off the CM wagon. Miss Mason recommended studying one artist and one composer per term, becoming intimately familiar with about 10 works of art or a handful of musical pieces.
It’s easy to let art and music slide as non-essentials when the “three Rs” are calling for attention. But wasn’t a love of the arts one of the traits that drew you to a CM education in the first place?
Neglecting Poetry and Shakespeare
Honestly evaluate how much poetry or Shakespeare you have studied in the last term. A lot? A little?
Poetry and Shakespeare are challenging for many of us, but there is no need to pass on that awkward feeling to our children. Keep exposing them to beautiful rhyme and beautiful stories by following CM principles.
I admit that I have fallen off the CM wagon a time or two in my years of homeschooling. Sometimes you enter “homeschool survival mode” and just get by as best you can. But if you still believe in the philosophy of Charlotte Mason, why aren’t you following it? Can you call yourself a CM educator if you are neglecting the most basic of her principles?