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The Charlotte Mason Method - Is it Too Late to Start?

By Heather Idoni

Added Thursday, March 05, 2009


==========================================================
The Homeschooler's Notebook
Encouragement and Advice for Homeschool Families
==========================================================
Vol. 10 No 18 March 5, 2009
ISSN: 1536-2035
==========================================================
Copyright (c) 2009 - Heather Idoni, FamilyClassroom.net
==========================================================

Welcome to the Homeschooler's Notebook!

If you like this newsletter, please recommend it to a friend!
And please visit our sponsors! They make it possible.

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

=================
IN THIS ISSUE:
=================

Notes from Heather
-- More Answers for Lina
Helpful Tip
-- Creative Funding for Curriculum
Winning Website
-- Spellarama
Reader Question
-- Interested in Charlotte Mason
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

=======================
Notes from Heather
=======================

Re: Homeschooling with Babies and Other Small Children

[Here are more answers to Lina's question last week -- I thought
they were worthy of printing in this issue since so many struggle
with the same problems! - Heather]

---

"Hi Lina -- The first thing I would encourage you to do is to stop
and take a deep breath. Kindergarten is not going to make or break
your homeschooling experience, although I understand the pressure
that you feel to get organized and be consistent.

Some suggestions:

1. Spend some time each weekend planning for the coming week.
Gather books to read, coloring sheets, art supplies, math manipu-
latives and put them in one place, ready for the week. That way,
when a snippet of time presents itself, you are prepared.

2. When my children were small, I included my children in the
responsibility of schooling. For example, I would ask the 3 year
old to play quietly in the next room and tell mommy when the baby
wakes up. That responsibility often helped that child to be more
focused and not feel as if she was being left out.

3. Have a basket of toys reserved for 'school' time for the 3 year
old. If she knows that those toys can only be used during school
time, she will look forward to that time alone.

4. It is OK to put a 3 year old in a safe area (bedroom, in a play
yard in the house) to play alone for 15-30 minutes at a time. It
may take some training time to help her understand that she cannot
demand your attention all the time, but eventually she will begin
to enjoy her time alone. When she can come out, spend some one-on-
one time with her, too.

5. Let the 3 year old 'do school' with you and your kindergartener.
Have coloring pages and books available for her to 'read and study'
while you are working with your older child. When you are reading
to your kindergarten child, include all the kids on the couch. It
is amazing how much a 3 year old can understand.

6. Rather than structured 'school' time, learn as you go. Count
beans as you prepare dinner; organize by colors when sorting
laundry or folding towels; draw shapes with chalk on the driveway;
read words as you read favorite story books. Make your phonics
readers your bedtime stories. RELAX!!

I hope these suggestions help. I always tell new homeschoolers -
you can't mess up kindergarten. Read, read, read, and love those
babies!!!" -- Ginger in NY

---

"Lina -- I so understand your struggles! I have a 16-year-old,
a 10-year-old, a 4 1/2 year-old kindergartner, a 3-year-old, and
a 20 month-old -- and I homeschool them all. I have learned that
planning ahead is the key! On Saturday afternoons, as soon as I
put my 3 youngest ones down for naps, I plan all afternoon for
the coming week. I make a list of what activities I will do with
them each day, and I make a separate list of what materials need
to be gathered, etc., and note about what day I will need each of
them. Then I gather as much as I can on that list as time will
allow, having as much as I possibly can done before the week starts
(sometimes I'm finishing this up on Sunday evening while my husband
hangs out with the kids). I do this for my older kids as well.
This makes it so my preparation time every evening only takes me
about 10 minutes -- and it doesn't use much brain power because
I'm only looking on my list and getting out the materials needed!
I don't have to try to think about what to do. If I tried to do
that at 11:00 at night, I would fail miserably!

Also, as others suggested, just plan/have other activities of the
same type (as much as you can) for your younger ones, because they
will want to be involved, too. For example, if my kindergarten
child is doing a math/counting activity, I give my 3-year-old some
objects to sort or count also, and I just give my 20-month-old some
objects and empty bowls to play with. But all 3 of them are always
at the table together, doing hands-on activities. Sometimes my
children want to do what the others are doing, too. I just tell
them that when they finish their own activity, they can trade, and
then I let them -- even if it is above/below their level. That
usually takes care of that problem. Then, in the late afternoon,
my kindergartner gets up from resting before the 2 younger ones
and I do my one-on-one teaching with her then. It only takes
20-30 minutes.

I know that what you are doing is SO hard. I really do. But
if you work on planning ahead and trying different things, I
know you will figure out just the right combination that will
work for your family."
-- Mindy

---

Do you have comments to share? Please do!
Send your emails to: mailto:heather@familyclassroom.net


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

================
Helpful Tip
================

Celebrate Your Child's Education -- and Raise Some Cash!

---

"I would like to offer a tip for those of us who are just starting
out with home schooling. While I'm aware of free materials that
can be found online and elsewhere, I'd still like to pick up some
textbooks and tools to help me teach my daughter. After researching
many places online over the weekend, the only good info I retrieved
was 'Goodness, this can get very expensive I see'. That's when the
light bulb went off in my head -- why not have a little fundraiser
dinner party celebrating my daughter's education? We're going to
sell chances for a small silent auction -- and my daughter will make
posters showing what learning trips she'd like to go on. She will
ask for people to sponsor her trip and then she'll send a report
back to them showing what she learned. She can sell her art pictures
for another donation, etc. Besides receiving just donations, we'll
also have a few catalogs of home schooling products that we'd like
to have. Those items will already be flagged, hoping that while
people sit around they'll look it all over and hopefully order
something. Next thought (as I sit here typing this tip) is how cool
it will look to decorate the house with generic school designs (like
you find in schools welcoming the kids back from summer vacation,
etc.), alphabet letters and more." -- Beth

---

Do you have an idea, experience, or tip to share? Please write!
Send to: mailto:HN-ideas@familyclassroom.net


==================
Winning Website
==================

Spellarama – http://www.spellarama.com

Although I haven't had a chance to take advantage of this free
resource yet, I definitely can see how it will benefit many home-
school families. Basically, you print alphabet cards representing
letters and sounds. Along with the 115 cards and 24 sound bonus
cards, there is a chart checker list. The site has instructions
for printing and for playing the following games with the cards:
Rummy, Elimination, Solitaire-Mania, Junior Rummy, ABC Runs, Flash
Card Fish and Hand A Fish. It will involve some time (and ink) to
get everything printed, but if you've been looking for a way to
teach/reinforce spelling in your home, Spellarama might just be
the answer! The site also offers a downloadable game for the PC,
Solitaire Mania, which is offered for a fee.

-- Cindy Prechtel, www.HomeschoolingFromTheHeart.com


===============================
Last Issue's Reader Question
===============================

"I am highly interested in the Charlotte Mason method of schooling,
but would like an easy to understand website, or list of books to get,
or just a really basic where-to-begin. Of what I have learned so far,
I like the method of reading a bit, then having the child tell it back.
We have started doing that recently and that has really really helped
stories to stick with my 10 year old; better than reading the entire
story.

I just want to know if it's too late to start my 10 year old in this
method of teaching. I also have a 5 year old and 2 year old, and I
know that for them I just need lots of books and outside time, right?

Any help would be very greatly appreciated." -- Sheri


=========================
Our Readers' Responses
=========================

"For an easy to understand Charlotte Mason book, read 'A Charlotte
Mason Companion' by Karen Andreola. You can read an excerpt at
Christian Book's website." -- Chris

CBD link to 'A Charlotte Mason Companion':

http://familyclassroom.net/Charlotte_Mason_Companion.html

---

"First, it's never too late to change your style of teaching,
especially when the change is helping your child to learn better!
I know a Mom who changed methods with a high schooler!

I love Charlotte Mason, too. I was totally overwhelmed by reading
her original works though. I would highly recommend 'A Charlotte
Mason Companion' by Karen Andreola and these websites:

www.simplycharlottemason.com
www.amblesideonline.com
http://heartofthematteronline.com/how-to-homeschool-the-charlotte-mason-way
http://charlottemasonhomeschooling.wordpress.com

I especially like the website and newsletter from 'Simply Charlotte Mason!
I have downloaded a free PE book, made the Bible Memory System, and
enjoyed lots of insights and inspiration." -- Misty

---

"Sheri -- I learned most of what I know about CM from Amblesideonline.org.
It is a great site, and fairly easy to follow. Even if you don't
use their curriculum suggestions (the site is free), just reading
CM's books in modern translation or writings from the parents who
run the site is illuminating.

I began using this when my daughter was 10 or 11, and she has done
fine -- actually, better than fine -- she's doing great. And my
littles love it; can't dream of doing school without loads of books
to read. Most importantly, I have been able to focus on character
training and building a relationship with my children. Before using
CM, I spent a lot of time teaching from a manual or box, and the
results of using this method are bringing a more authentic lifestyle
of learning to our home.

For the older children, I use a combination of resources, including
readings from Ambleside and Old Fashioned Education. For the littles,
I use HeartofDakota.com curriculum (her methods are CM-friendly) and
Ambleside readings. Good luck, and have fun!" -- Anne

---

"Charlotte Mason's teaching methods are a great way to learn. Some
of the special methods unique to her are: Use 'living' books rather
than dull, dry textbooks. Study nature intimately (read books, keep
a nature notebook, go on regular nature walks). Use biography to
study history. Incorporate picture study (view famous paintings
and narrate or describe them) and music appreciation (read about the
musician and listen to classical music enough to know it). I don't
think it's ever too late or too early to begin using Charlotte Mason's
methods with a child. Honestly, the sooner the better. A few of my
favorite books about Charlotte Mason are: 'For the Children's Sake'
byS usan Schaeffer Macaulay, and 'Charlotte Mason Companion' by
Karen Andreola. These 2 books have greatly shaped our homeschool.

Add read-aloud time to your school day. Kids can listen to and
understand books that they would have difficulty reading on their own.
Read out loud to them. Even the younger ones can sit and color or
build with Legos while you read. Read stories, biographies, 'science'
books about all the stuff outside, etc. You may also add 'copywork'
to your school day. Young kids like to copy things and this is a
great way to practice writing. 'Copywork' means that you write
something down and they copy it neatly on another page. For your 5
year old this may be their name or a note to Daddy. For your 10 year
old this may be a poem, Bible verse, or quote. Copying writing is a
way of learning how to write. They learn spelling, punctuation,
grammar, etc. while copying. Your school sounds as busy as mine with
a 10, 5, and 2 year old. Here at our house we have an 11 year old,
14 year old twins, and a 15 year old. When mine were younger they
listened to me read to them, did math with beans, and copied things
that I wrote. Nature study can definitely be done with young children.

Nature study is time spent outside looking at things (leaves, trees,
bugs, birds, sky, etc.) and reading age appropriate books about the
things they see. They can record some of what they see in their
nature notebook. Yes, even small children enjoy drawing a picture of
that bug they saw and labeling it with it's correct name found in a
field guide. Enjoy learning with your kids. You can keep a nature
notebook, too. Much learning is copying. They'll copy what they see
you do. Show them how to learn." -- Alisha

---

"Hi Sheri -- You might like to try Ambleside Online, the link is
http://www.amblesideonline.org/ -- There's heaps of info on this
site; it’s all Charlotte Mason based.

There is free curriculum and there are free yahoo groups that you
can join to get support while you are using this method. No, it's
not too late to start your son using CM -- and it's all adaptable.
Have fun with it!" -- Jo


=========================
Answer our NEW Question
=========================

"I have an average speller (2nd grade), an excellent speller
(4th grade), and a poor speller (6th grade), so spelling needs
are very different for each of my children. I've never used a
formal spelling program before; I've always given my children
words to study from the words which they misspell in writing or
vocabulary from our science or social studies. I have, however,
heard a lot of good things about Spelling Power and Sequential
Spelling, and I've also been interested in a couple of books
called How to Teach Your Child to Spell and Tricks of the Trade.
I've never been able to decide whether to purchase one of these,
or stick with what I'm now doing. Has anyone ever compared these
programs, and can you tell me what you think their pros and cons
are? Any advice or information will be welcome!" -- Shelly

---

Can you give Shelly some guidance?

Please send your answer to: mailto:HN-answers@familyclassroom.net


=====================
Ask YOUR Question
=====================

Do you have a question you would like our readers to answer?

Send it to mailto:HN-questions@familyclassroom.net and we'll see
if we can help you out in a future issue!


=======================
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=======================

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