For those of you who haven't met me before, allow me to introduce myself...
My name is Jeanne. My husband and I have three delightful children, the youngest of whom, Jemimah, is homeschooled using an Australianised version of the Ambleside Online curriculum. We live in a small country town of around 1200 residents in Central Victoria in Australia. (That's why I spell strangely and celebrate odd holidays!!)
Our isolation means that we have little opportunity for meeting or socialising with other homeschooling families. Co-ops and other homeschooling groups are an unknown commodity around our neck of the woods!! Most of what we learn about homeschooling and Charlotte Mason has been gleaned from books and the Internet.
Relatively recently I discovered the blogosphere, and suddenly an entire world of like-minded homeschoolers was opened up to me. I've met Amblesiders in New Zealand, England and Canada. I've read about nature study in China and in the snowy US of A. I've rejoiced with mums in South America - and in South Africa as well. What's more, I've had the opportunity to get to know other mums following Charlotte Mason's methods closer to home in Australia and even...goodness me!..in Victoria!!
Recently I had the opportunity to meet one of these mothers on a weekend trip to Melbourne. Kylie has been homeschooling her son for a number of years, but only recently discovered Charlotte Mason's philosophy. Our meeting was an opportunity for her to ask all of those burning questions that all of us have when we make big decisions in how we educate our kids.
Since you're here, why don't you join us in our chat and we can all help Kylie with her questions! I'd appreciate your help - I'm sure she will too!!
Kylie: There are a few questions I have about Miss Mason's philosophy compared to what I've been doing with my son. What actually makes a Charlotte Mason curriculum different?
Theresa: One of the things I love best about using the Charlotte Mason approach to learning are the short lessons in the morning. We have our afternoons FREE! Afternoon's free.
Jennefer: I've been using Classical Education, and I might be able to help with your question, Kylie. Take a look here: Comparing Charlotte Mason and Classical.
Kylie: You mention the study of art, music and poetry as core subjects, Jennefer. How on earth do I do that?
Molly: One of the very first books I ever read as a new homeschooler was the Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola. I especially loved the chapters on Picture Study, Music Appreciation, Poetry, Shakespeare and Nature Study. You can see some of my thoughts here: Whatever is Lovely: Art Appreciation.
Barb-Harmony Art Mom: I think copying a picture after artist study is like copy work in language arts. It's a great way for learning how to draw. Drawing With Children-Think of It As Copywork.
Jimmie: We're studying Picasso. My daughter's even made some cubist style art! Picasso Artist Study.
Candace: We're looking at Van Gogh this month. Our next artist - Van Gogh. I think I've found the perfect book for Artist Study! Van Gogh art project.
Me: We particularly enjoy composer study. This term we're studying the beautiful music of Bach: Refreshment of the Soul.
Amanda: I think Vivaldi is probably my favorite composer because I love the violins. Here is a video of Vivaldi's movement Winter from his Four Seasons. I also have put together a free PDF notebooking page to go along with a study of Vivaldi, if you would like to use it: Vivaldi- Four Seasons- Winter.
Laura Lee: Ive been curriculum planning recently. Here are our composer and artist plans, if you think they'd be helpful: Charlotte Mason Moments: Curriculum Planning.
Kylie: Okay, I'm inspired! I think I understand art and music better now. What about poetry though?
Jessica: I've recently been inspired in our study of poetry. Here are my Thoughts on Poetry Memorization.
Kylie: Does anybody know of any Living Books for Grammar? They would certainly make my life easier!
Kris: This one's great, and what's more, it's in the public domain and online! Grammar-land.
Kylie: Narration always sounds scary to me - and to my son!. How do you approach that?
Jacci: My daughter was a bit tense about starting narrations too. I might be able to help, Kylie: Encouraging Your Child With Narrations - Keeping Things Light.
Penny: This year we are moving on to picture narration and written narration in our homeschool . Do you suppose this is how the great literary giants learned to write?
Laura Lee: You can listen to my daughter narrate here! Charlotte Mason Moments: Sassafras Narrates!
Kylie: Wow! It all seems so simple when you show it like that! I think I understand now. My son loved his workbooks. Can you use any workbooks in a Charlotte Mason curriculum?
Lisa: I find most workbook programs fit nicely under the heading "twaddle." Sometimes I"Charlotte-Masonise" our workbooks: Charlotte Mason-izing a workbook program.
Kylie: I assume you all use workbooks for maths. How do you do maths in your Charlotte Mason homeschools?
Kris: I use MEP maths, but I find manipulatives very important. They demonstrate the concepts concretely, and this will help our kids better understand what they are doing in their books. Concrete Math.
Emma: I've been making Tangrams for my kids! Tangrams.
Kylie: How do I approach science then?
Kris: I am just starting a new project called Science Saturday. On Saturday I will post a science experiment for you to try out during the week. Introducing Science Saturday.
Kylie: That will certainly make experiments easier - thanks, Kris! I don't suppose anybody will be able to help me with nature study though... the thought terrifies me!
Barb - Harmony Art Mom: This might help you get started with a nature journal: Watercolor Crayons-Complete Leaf Sketch Video . I hope it might make you more confident in giving it a try!
Renae: The birds have been coming back to our bird feeder. They're great for nature study. For the Birds.
Kim: We are planning a year long study of trees in our yard, based on an idea I found in Charlotte Mason's Home Education. Winter Tree Study.
Lizzie: Today in the Burgess Animal Book, we read about elk! Elk.
Kylie: We don't have elk here, but it would be wonderful to learn about them! How do I go about modifying my homeschool for my particular circumstances?
Lisa: My vision of Miss Mason is one of lovely girls in Edwardian dresses sitting at her feet, listening adoringly as she reads them poetry, or Sir Walter Scott or something like that! I wonder what she'd have thought of the way we often do lessons in the car!! Charlotte Mason in the car.
Emma: We're staying at Mum and Dad's at the moment. The children needed a specific place where they could put their things, and do their work. I came up with an innovative solution! The new Schoolroom.
Me: We add a lot of Australian content. Here's a book we are using for Australian literature. You may find it interesting! Australian Just So Stories.
Shannon: Our homeschool's ever changing! Let me show you the latest incarnation! The Ever Changing Shape of our Homeschool.
Kylie: Goodness! I feel absolutely exhausted hearing all of you!! How do you cope?
Richele: Mother Culture - taking care of yourself is really important!! Have a look here... Mother Culture (tm).
Anna: Miss Mason recommended Masterly Activity - not only for school time either! I even apply it to my toddler! French kids don't get fat: The Best Way to the Stomach is Through the Heart.
Lynn: The discipline of habit is important too. Education is a discipline, and Miss Mason has much helpful advice on this issue too. See how we apply her methods to our Sundays here: Our Sunday Box.
The conversation is just getting interesting now. You've all been really helpful, and Kylie and I have really enjoyed getting to know you all. We all share so many things in common, and Charlotte Mason has given us a common language to express our wants and desires for the education of our children. It's getting late though, and Kylie and I need to be getting home. We both have long journeys, and we'll need to watch for kangaroos on the roads in the twilight. They can do terrible damage to the front of your car, you know.
Thank you for allowing me a little fantasy in this edition of the Carnival. Of course, our wonderful meeting didn't really happen...not in real life anyhow. Here in cyberspace anything is possible!! Thank you to all the wonderful mums for their fantastic submissions. If any of you don't like the words I've put in your mouth, as it were, please let me know what you would actually have said in the circumstances and I'll change it for you!! Please don't take offense though...
Adventures on Beck's Bounty will be hosting the next edition of the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival on 17th February. You can submit your blog article to that edition of the carnival using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival index page.