Teaches the “Whole Child”
There is so much information about education and teaching techniques available online and in print that a new homeschool parent may find it completely overwhelming. However, there are a few traditional methods that work well for homeschooling families.
One mainstay in this area is the Charlotte Mason Method, which has proved to be an enduring set of principles many homeschool parents follow today and that can be applied in whole or in part. Great Homeschool Conventions (GHC) will feature experts in this method at five regional conferences in 2012.
What is the Charlotte Mason Method?
She believed that a well-rounded education addresses three main aspects: Atmosphere, discipline and life. Atmosphere is considered to be the environment in which a child will be learning. Discipline is the development and practice of those habits that reveal a person’s character. The aspect of “life” encompasses academic learning.
Mason’s “Living Books” Concept
Children often learn best when they can be drawn into a subject through a story told by someone who has enthusiasm for the specific field of knowledge. Mason considered such stories as “living books” and these expressive tomes take the place of textbooks in nearly all academic subjects. The premise is that if the reader can become emotionally involved with the story or narrative text, then it will be much easier to recall facts and important events.
A “living book” can also impart a love of learning and reading because of the author’s conversational, first-hand account writing style. The Charlotte Mason Method uses “living books” in teaching history, geography, science and literature.
A Gentle Approach to Learning
Charlotte Mason developed an effective teaching structure that is both simple and gentle. For example, instead of emphasizing facts and dates in history or locations and climate in geography, Mason’s approach focuses on people in time and people in places. When information is presented about the people behind the events and in the locations, learning occurs naturally.
Math concepts are first taught with manipulatives and always with an eye towards practical application of math concepts. Before a child starts to write and solve equations, Mason believed that he or she must first see how math can be used in daily life.
Experts to Speak on Charlotte Mason Method
Great Homeschool Conventions has hosted experts in the Charlotte Mason Method and will feature such speakers as Sonya Shafer, Jan Bloom and Catherine Levison in 2012. Parents attending these conferences will learn specifics about how they can apply this approach in their homeschool.
Sonya Shafer, who serves as a co-director at SimplyCharlottMason.com,is also a writer who has studied and taught using methods created by Mason. When addressing parents, Shafer focuses on the practical aspects of this educational approach.
Jan Bloom, who has also spoken at numerous homeschool conventions, helps parents build a home library. Through seminars and speaking engagements, Bloom encourages parents to add great books to their library and helps them obtain rare or out-of-print books, as well. She and her husband have traveled from convention to convention with as many as 4,000 books, which they offer for sale.
Catherine Levison of CharlotteMasonEducation.com is also a presenter at Great Homeschool Conventions. She speaks encouragingly to parents about homeschooling as she talks about her own experiences as a homeschool mom, which began in 1980’s
In addition to reading, writing, history, geography, and arithmetic, the Charlotte Mason Method provides parents with a structure to teach poetry, music, art, grammar, spelling, foreign language, science, and bible studies. To find out about a 2012 regional convention planned for your area, click on the conference sites listed on Great Homeschool Conventions.