Monday, August 24, 2009

Learning from Charlotte Mason

Several months ago, a dear friend gave me a copy to read of The Charlotte Mason Companion by by Karen Andreola. Charlotte was born in 1842 in Bangor, England and went on to revolutionize education in Great Britain. You can read her biography HERE.

I am falling in love with her idea's, most notably the concept of 'Living Books' and 'Narration' in the early years. She wrote, of books...

"For the children? They must grow up upon the best . . . There is never a time
when they are unequal to worthy thoughts, well put; inspiring tales, well
told. Let Blake's 'Songs of Innocence' represent their standard in poetry
DeFoe and Stevenson, in prose; and we shall train a race of readers who will
demand literature--that is, the fit and beautiful expression of inspiring ideas
and pictures of life."

I love her thoughts in this quote:

"Education is a life. That life is sustained on ideas. Ideas are of spiritual origin,
and God has made us so that we get them chiefly as we convey them to one another,
whether by word of mouth, written page, Scripture word, musical symphony;
but we must sustain a child's inner life with ideas as we sustain his body with food."

As I read Charlotte's idea's, I find a passion and excitement to teach my children in my home. I find myself nodding as I read and narrating thoughts to my husband who agrees also.

I am currently looking for some good writing on classical education, so if you know of any please let me know!

This book is on the way, I am excited to receive it... I am sure I will be updating you when I read it!

Anyway... back to Charlotte Mason in our home. Karen Andreola suggests two books for using with very young children prior to the age of formal narration. "Aesop's Fables" and "Mother Goose". As soon as a read this, I admonished myself for not already having copies of either and the next day found them at Half Price Book's.

Esther already has a passion for books and will just sit with a pile and 'read' them, so she was enthusiastic to dig into some new material with me.

This morning we read "The Crab and its Mother"

"A CRAB said to her son, "Why do you walk so one-sided, my child? It is far more becoming to go straight forward." The young Crab replied: "Quite true, dear Mother; and if you will show me the straight way, I will promise to walk in it." The Mother tried in vain, and submitted without remonstrance to the reproof of her child.

Example is more powerful than precept."

Its such a short story, but its perfect for Esther. She was able to re tell the story, then talked about crabs, shells, the ocean and then practiced walking around like crabs.

I also encouraged her to tell her Daddy about it when he got home and she immediately started walking like a crab with a big grin on her face.


  1. Yay for Charlotte Mason! You're going to love the Elizabeth Foss book. :) So, what's all this about moving?!

  2. Apparently it takes 2-4 weeks to ship, I ordered it August 6th, so maybe soon!!!!

    We moved to Josh's parents house for the next few months before the big move to NC. It's helping us save up and plus, all of our things are in storage which means that we won't be packing over Christmas!

    We're actually really close to you now! In fact, I will happily walk the difference when it cools down!

    How are you? I'd love to see you soon!

  3. That's awesome! I've been thinking of you and hoping to invite you and the girls over as soon as some of the dust settles around here... We've had some crazy big changes of our own! Stephen is now working nights AND we're gearing up to send him back to school this fall! These next few weeks will be really busy, but we'll give you a call as soon as we are able!