Some Pressing Thoughts on the Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Method

As my title suggests, I have pressing thoughts, so I’m impressing them upon you. Even if no one reads it, at least I’ve struggled through my ideas. My Charlotte Mason book study meeting last week got me thinking about my role as teacher. Here’s what I think I learned: I am to be see-through. I serve the children faithfully by putting them in the way of good literature. I also ensure that they are hearing the gospel as presented by the Bible itself. I am a sounding board to their ideas. I serve up a smorgasbord of education, lots of good stuff on a regular basis. And I allow them time to digest it all, too. I pray for their minds, bodies and souls. I remain see-through so they can see God through me, and the Holy Spirit can reach through me to work in them.

When I offer up personal opinions, I am being cloudy and not serving their best interests. Moreover, why should I need to speak? My actions ought to show what I believe. I ought to be someone the children can imitate. And isn’t that part of the sanctification process–showing yourself less and letting Jesus shine through more?

Now that I’ve learned all that, I need to mention the things that confuse me about this method. I haven’t figured it all out yet. For instance, there’s a lot of good literature that we read. And not all of it agrees with each other. I can’t even ensure that it all agrees with what I believe. Do I talk about it? Or do I let their little minds puzzle out their confusions themselves?

And also, concerning Bible studies, I find the Ambleside Online schedule (at least for Years 1 and 2), too easy and short. There are Scripture readings assigned for each week, but if we schedule Bible five days a week, that leaves me struggling to keep it alive. I get bored, too, with not enough to read.

And concerning the narratives. Yes, I am to be a sounding board for their ideas. And yes, they are supposed to narrate everything to get those ideas out in the open. But I am often a questioning board instead of a sounding board because my kids don’t like to narrate. “I can’t remember anything.” “Can I just say my favorite part?” Sure. “It was the end.” Oh.

I think Charlotte Mason told us that kids all enjoy narrating. Sigh. I wonder when mine will start believing her.

Maybe the better question is, when will I start trusting her? I get nervous about the stuff I don’t understand. And I think that’s when I stand in the way between a good education and my kids. I need to just trust that if I get out of the way, offer up the good stuff, and keep going at it faithfully, they will be nourished.

Let the feast continue.

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3 thoughts on “Some Pressing Thoughts on the Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Method”

  1. Interesting thoughts. Thank you for putting them out there… I’ve heard such great things about CM but don’t know enough myself. I have had doubts that it aligns with biblical teachings only due to my brief research, so I obviously could be wrong. Have you ever considered Sonlight? We’ve thoroughly enjoyed it as a literature guide (taking & leaving what my kids like and dislike). But I run to a Christian used book store and purchase them all, ignoring most of the other subject-based purchases considering our relaxed/unschooling method. We finished their recommended devotional pretty quickly as well, and have been trying to find other quality Bible lessons/studies/devotionals to no avail. Do you not recommend Ambleside? I’ve never heard of it. In His Love.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve heard of Sonlight, though I never did the research on it. I do recommend Ambleside Online because it has such a great book list. I just have trouble with their recommended Bible schedule. I probably don’t understand how to do it correctly, or the correct way doesn’t work correctly in my family. AO is free, and it’s online, and there’s a ton of information on it, so if you ever feel like delving into it, you can check it out here: http://amblesideonline.org/

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