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Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a Charlotte Mason homeschool looked like? Then it’s your lucky day! Come take a peek into the real life day of a a Charlotte Mason homeschooler.
*This post is one in a series on homeschool methods. Scroll to the bottom to see links to the other posts in the series. *
I was sitting at a coffee shop with friends discussing our plans for the upcoming school year. All of us follow the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education. Our children are all about the same ages. As I listened, I was amazed at how similar and yet how different our plans were.
I love that Ms. Mason encouraged us to be students of our children. We can provide an individualized education for each children factoring in his primary learning style, what motivates him, and what we can do to prepare him for his future.
No two homeschools will look the same, regardless of which educational philosophy they follow. That’s one of the beautiful aspects of homeschooling. Here is a look at a day in our homeschool, which is heavily influenced by Charlotte Mason’s principles. Your homeschool will not, and should not, look like ours, but I pray you will be inspired and maybe find some new resources or ideas to help your homeschool thrive.
Copyright: serrnovik / 123RF Stock Photo
What I love about the Charlotte Mason method
Even though no two homeschools will look the same, the following three principles are common threads found in homeschools that follow the Charlotte Mason method.
A child is a born person.
From the day they are born, children begin forming connections with the world around them. They are capable of investigating, learning, understanding, and forming opinions, even if their opinions and understanding may not be as deep or complex as that of an adult.
Child form relationships through real experiences.
A child that only learns from a book does not have as deep of an understanding as one who learns from a real experience. For example, we can know about Charlotte Mason, but we do not know her personally. When children explore in nature, take field trips, and experiment with real objects, they have a deeper understanding than simply reading about them in a book.
Provide a broad and generous education.
We cover a lot of subjects during any given week. Our goal is not to learn everything my children need to know, but to provide them many opportunities to learn about various places, peoples, and most importantly, ideas. Through these ideas, their life will be shaped and their character will be established.
A day in the life of our Charlotte Mason homeschool
So what does a day actually look like for us? No two are exactly alike, but there is a rhythm to our days. We begin by reading the Bible independently. Non-readers or struggling readers listen to a passage from the Bible through the YouVersion app. If there is still time before breakfast, they read or play quietly.
While homeschooling in our pajamas is a nice concept and works well for many families, we reserve it for special days for several reasons. If we do lesson in our pajamas every day, it is no longer special. I have also found that if we are not dressed, it is more difficult for us to be active and get outside between lessons. Instead, we all get dressed and ready before breakfast, much to my girls’ dismay.
Our breakfast time consists of watching CNN10, reading a devotion together, learning and reviewing scripture, and reading a poem from our poet of the term (4 days a week) or singing the hymn for our term (1 day a week). This time allows us to gather and get off on the right foot for the day.
After breakfast, everyone completes her daily chores and we gather back for family lessons. Even though the girls are getting older and have more independent work, we still have some lessons that we complete together as a family, allowing us to stay connected and enjoy learning together. Each year the subjects we study together vary, but usually include artist study, composer study, nature study, Plutarch, Shakespeare, and geography. This year we will also practice public speaking during our family time.
After our family lessons, it is usually time for a movement break. I try to mix up our lessons so we can engage different parts of the brain and not become fatigued, but we still need to get up and get the blood pumping several times during the day. Depending on the day, we might run laps around the house, play balloon volleyball, shoot baskets, or pull a card from our brain breaks jar.
We finish up the morning with independent lessons. I am available to help as needed and usually work directly with my younger daughter in completing her lessons. After a lunch break, they finish up any remaining lessons and then have time for masterly inactivity. Masterly inactivity is when they have time to explore, create, or pursue their individual passions on their own.
It sounds lovely and well run. Even I like the sound of it on paper. The truth though is that every day is a little different with its own unique challenges. Some days do go as smoothly as they sound. Other days end up a little crazy because of outside commitments, business or personal project deadlines, or difficult attitudes. On these days, I revert back to the basics so we can make progress but not get bogged in the chaos.
Curriculum choices for our Charlotte Mason homeschool
Because we do not use a boxed curriculum, our curriculum looks a little different each year. There are a few constants though.
- We use copywork, dictation, and written narration to learn and reinforce spelling and grammar concepts.
- Oral and written narration provides us a means of evaluating our student’s progress. It also allows us the opportunity to discuss ideas found in their lessons including how it impacts their life. I try to keep this interesting by incorporating different types of narration.
- We utilize living books extensively in our homeschool curriculum. We even read math books to supplement our math studies. Here is a listing of our favorite living books for a variety of subjects as well as how to organize your library.
- We also extensively use games in our homeschool, including for teaching younger children how to obey. Other subjects we enjoy learning and reinforcing through games include math, geography, and reading.
- Nature study consists of reading about several different nature topics each year and taking nature walks. I use the Handbook of Nature Study and the NaturExplorer guides to plan our nature study.
- Because one of our goals in homeschooling is the formation of character, we are also intentional about habit training and discipleship. There is no single curriculum we use for this, but focus on helping our children develop habits and life skills that will grow their character and help them be successful adults.
Implementing a Charlotte Mason philosophy of education can often be a daunting task, largely because there is no one size fits all curriculum, but that is one of the main reasons I love it so much. I can pick and choose what is best for my family and for my children.
Want to learn more about homeschool methods? Take a look at the other posts in this series.
- A Day in the Life of an Extra-Large Relaxed Homeschooling Family
- Real Life Homeschooling~Our Homeschool Methods
- A Day in the Life of a Charlotte Mason Homeschool
- Creative Learning- A Waldorf-Inspired Day in the Life
- A Day in the Life~A Peek into an Eclectic Homeschool
- A Day in the Life~A Middle Road
About the Author:
Crystal Wagner believes learning is not confined to a book or “school hours,” but is a lifestyle that positively impacts generations. She helps homeschool parents learn practical ways to simplify homeschool planning, make learning fun, and disciple their children. You can learn more about Crystal at www.triumphantlearning.com.