Are you considering a relaxed Charlotte Mason homeschool philosophy? Though the Charlotte Mason method is wonderful, it can be a bit overwhelming. A relaxed approach lets you pick and choose the parts that work best in your homeschool.
The following articles will help you to discover more about this homeschool philosophy.
When considering homeschooling, most people will ask, “Can I homeschool?” And, while a valid question, it probably isn’t the one you should be asking. The more appropriate question is, “Should I homeschool?”
When we decided to start homeschooling, it was because of a deep belief that it would be the best thing for our family. We had no idea how to start homeschooling, but we were ready to take a risk for our kids. We researched it thoroughly, had family discussions, and then chose the path we felt was best.
Two months later, we threw most everything out the window and started all over. Why? Because there is no way to prepare yourself or your family for homeschooling. It is wonderful, amazing, horrendous, scary, beautiful, and messy. There are hundreds of curriculum options and dozens of philosophies. And there's no shortage of people telling you how to do it best even if those "how-to's" directly contradict each other.
In short, it's overwhelming.
At the beginning of our homeschool journey, I realized that things were not going the way I wanted. I had envisioned this happy homeschool full of fun, field trips, learning, and togetherness. I had researched all the homeschooling methods, read dozens of curriculum reviews, and bookmarked page after page of homeschooler bloggers. I spent hours that summer putting all the lesson plans into a software program I had used during my teaching years. I had each day laid out with breaks smattered throughout.
I had a plan – a beautiful, detailed, typed-out plan.
It was fail-proof.
That is – until it failed.
Over the years our routines have changed. Our homeschool has evolved as my children have matured and as I’ve become more comfortable with our routines. But, our constant has been the Charlotte Mason philosophy. We are not strict adherents, but more of loose followers of this homeschool philosophy.
So, take a peek inside a day in the life of our relaxed Charlotte Mason homeschool.
Is your homeschool relaxed and inviting?
At one time, our homeschool was miserable. We were following all the “rules of school” and enjoying absolutely none of it. School had become stale and boring, and we desperately needed to add a little bit of Enchantment to our relaxed Charlotte Mason homeschool.
In a former life, I have been a CPA, CFO, Bakery Owner, and a few other jobs with acronyms. I have always worked because I enjoy working. I enjoy having something that gives me a feeling of self-worth. I like having something that is mine and makes me feel like I’m contributing not only to our family, but to society as well.
After I had children I spent a lot of my time taking care of them, but as they have gotten older they have needed me less and I wanted to feel productive. So, I continued working while homeschooling. Is this a struggle? I’m not going to lie. Sometimes it is. I want to do all. the. things! I want to have this amazing enchanted, relaxed homeschool. But, how is that possible as a working homeschool mom?
I have a love/hate relationship with Nature Study.
In theory, I believe all children should spend time outside in nature exploring the world in which we live.
In reality, I'm not a fan of bugs, or heat, or cold, or poop, or humidity, or snakes, or most reptiles, and a significant portion of amphibians.
Those are the words on my calendar this month. Gaze. Describe. Create. I honestly can’t think of a better way to describe art appreciation in our home. These three words put my mind in a peaceful place where I want to look at beautiful paintings all day long. They make me think of my daughter who loves art in every form, and I wonder if that is because she is naturally inclined toward art or is it because she has had the opportunity to gaze, describe, and create.
Art appreciation is one of the principles of a Charlotte Mason homeschool. It is also one of the reasons we homeschool.
If you are a Charlotte Mason homeschooler, then chances are the words copywork and dictation have come up repeatedly in homeschool discussions. The late Charlotte Mason, an educator who inspired an entire homeschool philosophy, advocated copywork and dictation as two of the key components to educating children in language arts. But, what are copywork and dictation and how do you do if you are doing them in the correct way?
Narration is a fabulous tool to learn to understand your children. What are their thoughts? What are their opinions? And what have they learned? Not only is narration an essential part of a Charlotte Mason homeschool, but it is an excellent asset to any type of homeschool.
Early in our homeschool journey, I discovered a new way of teaching poetry called Poetry Teatime. Poetry Teatime is a great way to enjoy literature while bonding with your children. I was immediately attracted to this “enchanted education” and knew we needed to add it to our homeschool.
Freewriting had inspired their reluctant writers to find their writing voices.
For years I’ve tried to start our mornings with a morning time, morning meeting or morning basket. But, invariably, it would be stressful, unpleasant, and result in a morning basket that didn’t get rolling until early afternoon. Then a friend introduced me to a revolutionary morning time idea that would start our day with peace, family time, and focus.
When I started our first book club for kids, I had no idea that it would expand to include more than 50 kids from all over our community. We’ve traveled to far off lands and galaxies, built tiny houses, gone on scavenger hunts for gnomes, dusted for fingerprints, and more. The kids have met new people and been exposed to new genres of literature. It really has become a highlight of our month.
The school system wasn’t able to provide the learning experiences I wanted for my kids, so I decided to do it for them. I immediately started thinking of all the wonderful places I wanted to take them and planned our studies around those adventures. We began calling them FieldSchooling adventures. But, what is FieldSchooling?