Monday

Charlotte Mason and Classical: A Delicious Mix of Homeschool Philosophies

Everyday Scholé is back!!! We’ve taken quite a few months off as all of us were wrapping up blogging projects or writing projects, but this month we are beginning a yearlong series that is sure to inspire you and your homeschool. We are taking an in-depth, practical look at the eight essential principles of classical pedagogy (make haste slowly, much not many, repetition is the mother of memory, embodied learning, songs, chants, and jingles, wonder and curiosity, educational virtues, and scholé, contemplation, and leisure). Each month we will focus on a different principle and how to practically implement that principle in your homeschool.


Can you tell I’m excited?!? I think what I’m most excited about is that I’m not a true classical homeschooler. I’m a Charlotte Mason homeschooler. It’s true that Ms. Mason had much in common with classical homeschoolers {some even consider her a classical homeschooler in her own right}, but on the surface a few of the eight essential principles seem to fly in the face of what Charlotte Mason homeschoolers promote as a “true” Charlotte Mason education.  So for the each of these eight principles I’m going to be focusing on how to use classical pedagogy as outlined by Dr. Perrin in the link above, but in a Charlotte Mason way.


Before we start this journey through classical and Charlotte Mason, I wanted to mention something that Dr. Perrin states at the beginning of his video. He says, “Principles should support our practices.” Basically the thrust of that statement is that the things you do in your homeschool should have a principle that supports them. For example, if you are a Charlotte Mason homeschooler why do you engage in nature study? Because you are supposed to do so if you ascribe to Ms. Mason’s philosophy? Because the curriculum you bought says to do it? Do you really even know why Charlotte Mason was such a huge proponent of nature study for all students throughout their school years? These are important questions to ask about any homeschooling philosophy whether it’s classical, unschooling, traditional, etc. If you don’t know what various educational practices are trying to accomplish in your homeschool, it is pointless to do them.

While I’m focusing on these eight principles in a Charlotte Mason homeschool, I hope that you will look at them through whatever philosophy influences your homeschool because I truly believe these eight essential principles of classical pedagogy are fundamentally just really great educational practices in general that can be applied to whatever method you use. I can see how all methods of education can be tweaked and manipulated in such a way to benefit from the use of all eight principles. The hardest part, as Dr. Perrin states toward the end, is that changing our mindset about education to one that encompasses these ideals is work for us. It is not natural for those of us who are graduates of the public school system here in the United States. The most difficult challenge you will have is not the vision, but the implementation.


You might have noticed that scholé is the last principle listed. I firmly believe this is because as you focus on the other seven, teaching from rest will become a natural byproduct of your endeavors. It doesn’t mean that it comes naturally, as I mentioned above, but it will be apparent that schooling your child with these principals in the forefront of your mind will reap a calmer, restful, leisurely approach to education in your home. I’ve seen this lived out in our homeschool and I’m excited to share some practical ways I’ve achieved this in the coming year.


Be sure and check out my fellow Everyday Scholé bloggers and their thoughts about the principles of classical education.

    

What educational philosophies influence your homeschool the most? 
Let me know in the comments.
Chelli

9 comments:

  1. You're right Chelli, changing our educational ideals to encompass these principles is hard. Even though I've been homeschooling for 15 years now, I still find myself falling into old public school habits of teaching to the test, and trying to be done NOW.

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    1. Definitely the most difficult part of all of this. It is like public school is our natural default so when things aren't going according to plan or we're tired or the children are crazy, that's the setting we revert back to which ultimately makes things worse.

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  2. Great post, Chelli! I love that you're giving a CM 'flavor' to these ideals. I hadn't thought about applying these principles to other methodologies. Looking forward to reading more!

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    1. The longer I thought about them the more I could envision them being implemented across a much broader scope than classical education alone. I'm excited to write more about it!

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  3. Chelli! I would consider our homeschool an eclectic mix of Classical, Montessori and Traditional. I look forward to reading your new posts. I've turned to your past blogs many times this year to try to keep our "school" environment restful and our goals realistic. I'm so glad I found your blog!

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, LAO! I'm hoping to definitely touch on how to apply these principles to traditional. However, I'm afraid I don't know enough about Montessori to do it justice.

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  4. "the things you do in your homeschool should have a principle that supports them."

    This was especially poignant for me because I struggle mightily on why I am teaching what I have chosen to use. Curriculum has become somewhat of a "I have to do this because so-and-so says I do."

    I'm hoping to change this by really evaluating what is important in our homeschool and find the curriculum that fits that, rather than the other way around.

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    1. Beautifully worded, Kelly, and so important to reach this place in your homeschool journey. Thanks for the comment!

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  5. Thanks. It has given a lot of food for thought.

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