I’m going to be honest with you, my journey with the Charlotte Mason approach has had its ups and downs. And maybe one of these days, I might write a post about it. But even though I’ve had my ups and downs at times with this philosophy and its methods, I really have come to love this approach. Not only has it born good fruit in our homeschool, but it has helped me grow as a homeschooling mama.
Something I really want to share that’s been on my heart for awhile has to do with this idea of principles and methods. There’s been a lot of conversation taking place in Charlotte Mason circles recently that I think is not only great, but also very badly needed. I’m seeing much more conversation taking place about the importance of focusing on the principles and not some rigid form of following methods.
I still continue to learn about this educational philosophy and how to apply it in our homeschool. But I have to admit, that in the past it I found it easy for me to get caught up in the details at times with Charlotte Mason’s methods…trying to do things “exactly right” according to Miss Mason. The problem with that is, that I found myself feeling like there was this mounting list of to-do’s and it began to feel more like a burden than a joy. When I truly began to understand that this approach was first and foremost about principles and that the methods were flexible and adaptable, I began to feel more freedom with this approach. I began to see all the freedom and flexibility it offers and that naturally brought about more peace and joy in the process.
Miss Mason set out to build a philosophy of education. And the methods sprang forth from those principles. Therefore, in a Charlotte Mason education, the philosophy…the set of principles…is the foundation. With an understanding of these principles, we can set out to develop an education that is tailored to fit each of our unique children, adapting the methods as needed.
Miss Mason recognized that children are different. In fact, the very first principle she stated was that children are born persons. They have unique personalities. Therefore, there is not going to be a one-size fits all curriculum. This is one of the reasons why the Charlotte Mason approach resonates with me…because her philosophy considers the child. It’s a philosophy that addresses the whole person. And it’s a framework from which I can build a year of study based on principles that molds to the needs and abilities of my child.