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Why We Quit Using the Charlotte Mason Method
If you have been following around here for a little while you may know that we (well, I) decided to give the Charlotte Mason method a try for this school year.
I love the Charlotte Mason method, I love all the photos I see and really agree with most of the method.
But I am just unable to follow it.
Seriously, we maybe did one month of a revised version of the method before it just simply fell apart.
The truth is, I’m more of an organic homeschooler and we all do better when we view homeschooling as a lifestyle, not something we “do”.
My goals for homeschooling are many but having my kids enjoy learning is a huge part of it and while we were still learning while following a more rigid homeschool schedule, it took away from the times we wanted to follow random interests or the amount of YouTube videos we could watch after a child asked how batteries worked.
There is so much I enjoy about the Charlotte Mason method and the type A side of me is disappointed that it didn’t work for us, even though I really wanted it to. But I’ve been feeling really blah about homeschooling lately and I think it is partially because I was trying to make something work that just wasn’t our style, and even though we haven’t really been doing the CM method for the last few months I was definitely feeling some lingering guilt over it. Some how announcing we are no longer trying the CM method helps lighten that burden.
WHAT WE ARE DOING INSTEAD
So, we are sticking with homeschooling as a lifestyle, and for me that includes a little bit of intentional learning as well. I recently read Pam Barnhill’s Better Together which is about the concept of Morning Time, I don’t like the term “morning time” but I like the concept so I did some brainstorming with the kids and Raeca came up with the idea of Brain Stain (because you use your brain and what you learn leaves a mark on your brain – I was impressed by her idea).
I have created a Brain Box (my twist on a morning basket) that I plan on switching up monthly. I hope to share what is in our box on a monthly basis, so watch for the December post soon!
In addition to Brain Stain we are leaving room in our days for free play, game schooling (I’ll be updating our games post soon!), lots of audiobooks, pursuing the kids’ interests and following rabbit trails as they come up. I also subscribe to a number of educational YouTube channels and whenever interesting videos pop up about history or science or geography I call the kids over and we watch those and sometimes that creates it’s own rabbit trail.
We are also planning a Europe trip (aiming for next fall) and the kids are going to be heavily involved in choosing where we go and what we see and big part of that is learning European history and geography. (I’m super excited about this!!!)
That in short, is why we are no longer using the Charlotte Mason method and what we are doing instead! Have you ever tried a homeschool method or philosophy and realized it just isn’t for you?
We recently “quit” a strict CM schedule and curriculum, too. The ideas of the CM method are lovely, but there were areas that just didn’t work for us. The whole idea of read/narrate, read/narrate, read/narrate, and then read/narrate some more just burnt us out and made our learning dull. My kiddos wanted to “do more” with what they were learning. So, we have gone eclectic and organic — and our days have turned around completely!! Yay for you (and other Mamas) who trust their instincts and follow the needs of their children’s hearts and learning. Keep going!
Hey Amber – I hear you on the read/narrate part. I really like the idea but doing it over and over in a day or even multiple days in a row had my daughter really dreading it. Yay for eclectic and organic!
Can you share some of the YouTube channels you follow? We’re new to homeschooling for kindergarten and I’d love to benefit from your experience!
Hey Heather, if you sign up for my newsletter you get a list of our favorite homeschool resources and I share some of our favorite YouTube channels (you can sign up on the homepage: https://www.intentionalhomeschooling.com/), though a good one for kindergarten age is Peekaboo Kidz.
Instead of “morning basket”, we just call it “table time”….for the subjects that we all come to the “table” to do together.
Then everyone splits up to do reading and math on their own. 🙂
That’s cool! Ours would have to be “couch time” since that’s where we do most of our stuff. 😉
I would love some Yourube suggestions as well! We have switched from strictly CM to a more organic and eclectic method as well and that has included YouTube! But it feels like there is a lot to wade through sometimes.
Hey Rachel, if you sign up for my newsletter you get a list of our favorite homeschool resources and I share some of our favorite YouTube channels (you can sign up on the homepage: https://www.intentionalhomeschooling.com/).
We quit using narration a while ago and it was the best thing – and I learned that kids spontaneously narrate all the time about anything they want to tell me about that I didn’t do with them. We still learn a ton through reading aloud and living books – we do audio books and read alouds every single day. We participate in nature walks through our holeschool group, and my kids spontaneously do copywork just in everyday life for a purpose. So in short, love the method but love how it is happening organically in our home. We, like you, view homeschooling as a lifestyle. While there are a few things we do during our week that are me being intentional (reading life of fred and story of the world twice a week and doing workbook Wednesday’s and poetry teatime), we do a ton of gameschooling, YouTube learning and spontaneous rabbit trail learning too. Glad you quit what wasn’t working!
Yes! I’m realizing how much more better spontaneous narration has been for both of my kids. 🙂 I love there are so many on this homeschool journey doing the same organic, real-life, homeschooling as a lifestyle approach.