What is a Charlotte Mason Education—Questions Answered 2

If there are no tests or quizzes, how do you know the student is learning?

A Charlotte Mason education relies on a child’s inborn desire to know and their natural curiosity. A child who has been reared with this underlying philosophy from the beginning will have the God-given natural desire to know and learn at his immediate disposal. A student who has been trained from his beginning school years to defer to the teacher’s knowledge and wait for information to be supplied to him will need time and patience to let the desire to know re-surface. This may take time, but supplied with interesting work and confidence that God has indeed blessed all people with the desire to know, it will revive. An older student who has had his daemon of laziness and sloth fed, will have to do the work it takes to overcome and put himself on the path of attention, self-motivation, and ultimately duty to himself  and those in authority over him including God.

I’m taking my kids out of a typical learning environment and want to do a Charlotte Mason Education. Where do I start?

Start with good books. In Charlotte’s terms that is called a Living Book. The easiest good books to acquire are classics. Find some good basic classic books. These are stories that have survived the test of time. Beatrix Potter’s books, Charlotte’s Web, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, Pilgrims Progress, Thornton Burgess’ books….there are many book lists available on the internet. Search those and then look at your local library to quickly acquire books.
For history and science you will look for books that tell stories, not facts. Sometimes in science books this is in more of a conversational style. History books will describe places and people, tell the details surrounding events, and introduce you to the lives of the people involved.
The study of God can consist of a good Bible story book, actual reading of stories from Scripture, along with memory verses.

This will get you started. After you tackle these first steps, find a reputable math curriculum. Then begin filling in the other subjects as you continue to learn about the philosophy surrounding a Living Education.

My kids are burnt out on typical system school. Will a Charlotte Mason Education help?

Yes, it will, but first rejuvenate your students. Bring life back into your environment. This means stirring curiosity and imagination. Go on some field trips. Visit beautiful places, visit peaceful places, visit places that allow hands on interaction. For example, taking your burnt out students to an art gallery, is nice but somewhat sterile and void because your students likely have no prior introduction or relationship to the art. Far better is to find someone who loves art and watch them paint. Better yet, see if you can paint along with them.

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