This post is part of the iHomeschool Network’s 10 in 10 link up. Today’s topic is top 10 reasons I chose my particular homeschool method.
1. Too Scared to be Classical
When I was in college I had to compose my own philosophy of education. I was a total idealist. I wrote about reading the Great Books, memorization, Latin and Greek studies, and so on. When reality hit, I found that I did not have the stomach for such rigorous learning. And our life abroad also didn’t mesh with the highly structured classical system. CM was a gentler but still traditional style of education that I could successfully implement.
2. Too Scared to be an Unschooler
Here is an admission that I’ve never offered here on the blog. If I had it to do over again, I think I might become an unschooler. In the beginning, I had some terrible misconceptions about what unschoolers are. I thought you literally allowed (encouraged!) your child to play video games all day long. Now that I know more about it, I see that I have a lot of unschooling, or delight directed, tendencies.
But when I was deciding on the direction of our homeschool, CM offered a “safer” framework, one that didn’t seem as wild as unschooling.
So when you take reasons 1 and 2 together, you can see that in my mind, CM was a middle ground that I could accept.
3. Eclectic Tendencies
Charlotte Mason can be adhered to in a purist sense, but not many homeschoolers do that. Instead, they pick and choose the elements of CM that suit them and go eclectic on the other parts. I don’t know if all homeschool methods lend themselves to eclectic approaches, but CM certainly does. I am too much of an independent thinker to be sold out 100% to any single educational philosophy. CM provides a foundation and lets me branch out from there and be a bit eclectic.
Charlotte Mason used living books as the main vehicle of delivering ideas to children. As a lover of books and a skeptic of textbooks and twaddle, CM’s ideas greatly appealed to me.
Because living books are the foundation of a CM education, it is a frugal homeschool option if you have access to a library. Even if you do not, many excellent books are available for free in the public domain. Of course, to best use public domain books you need an eReader of some type — a Kindle, Nook, or iPad.
Now more than ever a frugal education is important to me, and CM offers that.
6. Fine Arts
You already know that my daughter is a very creative child. Charlotte Mason’s emphasis on the fine arts is a perfect fit for her and exposes her to beauty that she can emulate in her own creations. As a homeschool mom, having the opportunity to study artists and composers is a real perk to me since I studied only the tiniest amount in college and never before.
I am a nature gal. I love the outdoors, wild places, and wooded parks. I believe that God’s very character is expressed in the natural world, and therefore, we have an obligation to enjoy nature and see God’s glory in it. Charlotte Mason firmly believed in giving children unstructured time outside where they could exercise and observe natural science first hand.
Shakespeare, the Bible, and other classics of English literature are important in the CM scheme of things and are not limited to high school years. I have a great appreciation for modern literature, but not to the exclusion of the timeless works of the past. So although CM doesn’t emphasize the classics as strictly as a classical education does, there is still a healthy foundation there that I can approve of.
I am not a huge lover of poetry, but I never wanted to prejudice my daughter against it. So, according to Miss Mason’s suggestions, we did regular poetry study from the very early grades. And it worked. My daughter enjoys and appreciates poetry far more than I do.
10. Narration Through Lapbooking and Notebooking
Narration is so essential to a CM education that I would go so far to say that if you are not narrating, you cannot call yourself a CM educator. But what I love most about narration is that it can be done in varied ways. When Sprite was young, we often used lapbooking as a method of narration. Over the years, we have slowly moved over to an almost exclusive use of notebooking. In notebooking, she is learning an academic subject but is also practicing writing at the same time.
If you are a CM educator, I’d love to hear your reasons. Were you like me? Was choosing CM actually a refusal of other more extreme philosophies?
This post is linked up at Angie’s Top Ten Tuesday.
If you want to join in, post a top ten post of any topic and link up there.