My Journey to the Charlotte Mason Approach Part 1

As a fairly newbie homeschooler (this is our second official year), I continue to learn and grow as I go along. I am always looking for new information that can help me make informed decisions about such things as methods, curriculum, planning etc. With that in mind, I thought I would share the journey that led my family down the Charlotte Mason path (with eclectic tendencies). My hope is that my story can help newbies such as myself evaluate their homeschool needs, or even encourage veteran homeschoolers in their decisions. Today is part one of my journey. Just to be clear before I go on, I am not advocating Charlotte Mason as the only choice for any homeschooler. Her methods seem to be the best fit for my family, but another family may have different needs than mine.

When I began to seriously consider homeschooling, there were three methods that I was really leaning towards. Keeping in mind that I have an active child with an equally active imagination, I found myself gravitating towards unschooling (delight directed), the classical approach, and Charlotte Mason. My original first choice was actually the delight directed approach.

Unschooling appealed to me because, as I have mentioned, I have a very active child. One of my original reasons for wanting to homeschool is that Danger Girl cannot sit still for very long. She has to be moving around or she will not stay focused. I felt unschooling offered the best approach for her as we could pursue activities that offered movement and look for teachable moments in these activities.

I firmly believe that children learn more readily when a subject particularly interests them, and this is another reason I originally leaned towards unschooling. My thought was that I could present subjects/activities, and if they caught Danger Girl’s attention we would continue. If she showed no interest we would put it away until another time.

My other big reason for leaning towards unschooling was that I felt it would offer the most frugal option, and since I was leaving work to teach my child this was very appealing to me. Another, smaller, thought was that I did not want to stay with the same system of teaching that Danger Girl would get in a public school setting. I figured why not go to the other side of the spectrum if we were doing this.

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For more info about unschooling:

John Holt’s Unschooling site

Home Education Magazine Unschooling Site

So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler did a series in the summer on the different homeschooling approaches. You can check that out here.

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Armed with my well thought out intentions, I approached my husband with the method I had already decided I wanted to use, thinking he would love the idea as much as I did. I held this delusion because of the two of us, I am the planner of the family. When we go on vacation I am likely to have our fun scheduled out and pre-paid where possible. I figured if miss has-to-have-a-plan-for-everything was coming to Mr. go-with-the-flow with the idea he would have no qualms. I was wrong. He was not at all comfortable with an “unstructured” setting, and I was not going to convince him. When he so easily rejected my plan, it was time to take a detour and start the journey over.

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