Lots of homeschool parents look into the Charlotte Mason method and get overwhelmed. They like some of the concepts (or maybe all of them!), but most of the parents I talk with are unsure of how to really implement CM ideas into the day-to-day routine of home educating. Or some have spent a lot of money on curriculum and feel obligated to use it. Others are using virtual academies and feel they don’t have time to add anything from Miss Mason’s ideas.
No matter what your situation is – home education, virtual academy, public or private school – you can add some of the CM philosophy to your day. It will enrich your family’s life. I promise!
Here are 5 easy ways to make the CM method part of your busy day:
1. Read good books at bedtime. Everyone loves a good bedtime story. Maybe you can’t read 20 classics each year, but you can begin by reading one, right? Find a list of best loved children’s books, choose one, and make the commitment to read a chapter every night at bedtime. It will draw your family closer together and provide a lovely education in classic literature. This is not the time for Captain Underpants or Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Those are fine for independent reading, but the bedtime book should be something rich and satisfying…adventurous and noble.
2. Pick an artist. Head to the library or the discount book store and look for a book about a famous artist; any artist you are interested in. Pick one work of art from the book to talk about for 5-10 minutes each week. Your entire family will benefit from the exposure. No tests required.
3. Allow your children to tell. No, I am not talking about tattling on a brother or sister! Encourage your children to tell you all about something they have learned – anything at all. Ask them to tell you everything they know about Lego Star Wars, or Spiderman, or Sleeping Beauty. And then really listen. Expand on this skill by asking them about areas of study. On occasion, replace a writing assignment with a “narration” and see where it takes you…
4. Choose a classical composer. The library is loaded with great classical music and the discount bins at book and music stores usually have plenty of options as well. Just listen to it…maybe mention the name of the composer from time to time and that’s it. You would be surprised how much most children appreciate, and even love, classical music when they are exposed to it. Almost everyone has at least one composer that speaks to them. Besides, it beats the latest “music” from Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, and The Jonas Brothers, right?
5. Wax poetic. Very few people seem to read poetry anymore and it’s a sad state of affairs. Choose a volume of children’s poetry (if your children are very young), or choose a beloved poet (if the kids are older) and dig in. If you can manage one poem a day – great! If you can only manage one poem a week, it’s better than none! If you get really brave, you might even try to memorize and recite a few. Go nuts!