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Making the move from WTM to Charlotte Mason... anyone else?


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My kids are still very young. But I am finding more and more that, while I think the neo-Classical movement is a very good option, I am more suited personally to teaching in a CM style. I find that I am feeling more and more "confined" by curriculums, and so much happier with just... reading. The children naturally narrate, naturally play-act scenes from books, and naturally want to explore their environment. I was enjoying Right Start Math, but am feeling more and more like now that I've been guided down the "how to do it", that I can teach math more-or-less on my own, following just the list of topics.

 

Has anyone else gone over to CM entirely or almost entirely? I know Classical and CM are close cousins, but I think I'm going to jump ship!

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We are more cm than classical. In fact we changed a lot for this semester and are moving more towards cm.

 

Oh and my plan for next year is to be almost entirely cm.

 

 

I'm finding it hard to articulate my desire to move to CM... do you mind sharing what motivated your change?

 

My biggest thing, I suppose, is her idea that children are living persons, and not blank slates, and that knowledge should be presented as a great feast, rather than lists. And finally, "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life"- those are her ideas that have really resonated with me.

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I started out with WTM which is what turned me on to homeschooling in the first place. When my oldest became school-age I had already moved on to CM and her K & 1st grade years were purely CM, and now I'm moving towards LCC. I love much of CM methods. It is so rich, deep, beautiful, and free.

 

Here is a blog post that is not mine, but sums up what i love about CM that you might enjoy as well. I also love the book, When Children Love to Learn, and the curriculum Ambleside Online.

 

I embraced her methods on literature, science, history, art/composer study, and plenty of free time to just be. I like LCC ideas of making latin a priority, studying Greece and Rome in depth, and getting a good exposure to classical literature.

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I wrote a blog post on Why a Charlotte Mason Approach Works Well for Us in 2010, and it holds true. I veered away from it for a while, but we are much happier when we use her approach to learning.

 

Have you read much about her methods? Books I would very much recommend are:

 

A Charlotte Mason Education

More Charlotte Mason Education

A Pocketful of Pinecones

Lessons at Blackberry Inn

 

The first two are how-to books that are extremely helpful. The second two are written from the viewpoint of a CM mom, and are a pleasure to read.

 

I also use the website Charlotte Mason Help a lot! I visit Ambleside Online frequently too, for book ideas, and because I'm using their history cycle with my ds11, and eventually with dd9.

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I'm trying to find that sweet spot between both. The pendulum will swing to the CM side and we love it but then my kids miss the memorization and worksheets and tests. Then the pendulum will swing the other direction to more fully classical and we miss the naturalness of CM. I adore AmblesideOnline and Charlotte Mason Help and Simply Charlotte Mason but I also adore Memoria Press (which couldn't be further from CM). You'd think after 10+ years of homeschooling that I'd have this figured out more.

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When I've been my most classical, I've been radically LCC classical (even before the book was written), rather than neoclassical. Maybe that is why Charlotte Mason's methods have bombed so badly for me.

 

After reading a CM book, I once took 4 pre-teen boys to observe some goats in preparation for writing some poetry. How was I supposed to know it was mating season? Lets just say the poetry those boys wrote would have made Charlotte swallow her tongue.

 

I've used some Waldorf and bits of so many other non-text book methods, but CM inspired curricula always seem to fall flat, and to be quickly abandoned. I don't know, maybe it's just too gentile and lady-like for me. I spent my first 6 years being raised in gentility, but after that, well...things got interesting, and...I don't know. It seems like I use bits of everything BUT CM.

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CM and classical are sisters really if you look at them side by side. I would listen to specifically Andrew Pudewa (of IEW fame) "fairy tales and the moral imagination" for how to make classical more CM. He talks about how classical is like a globe with many countries. His version of classical sounds more like a CM philosophy. He says he like the country of classical where the focus is on beauty - music, literature, nature. It's a really good speech that is well worth the $3. Here's the link:

 

http://www.excellenceinwriting.com/ftm-e

 

Beth

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I find that I am feeling more and more "confined" by curriculums, and so much happier with just... reading. The children naturally narrate, naturally play-act scenes from books, and naturally want to explore their environment. I was enjoying Right Start Math, but am feeling more and more like now that I've been guided down the "how to do it", that I can teach math more-or-less on my own, following just the list of topics.

Your children are 3 and 5, right? Of course it's fine not to use any curriculum at these ages, or to combine a few things. But I'd imagine that it would be hard to know what's going to work in the longer term, especially since classical education wasn't originally meant to apply to kindergarten anyway. Nor was Charlotte Mason's method, as I understand it.

 

As for reading, this quotation from Charlotte Mason herself is posted at the top of Ambleside Online's "Year Zero" page:

 

"Away with books, and 'reading to'--for the first five or six years of life. The endless succession of story-books, scenes, shifting like a panorama before the child's vision, is a mental and moral dissipation; he gets nothing to grow upon, or is allowed no leisure to digest what he gets." (CM's OHS, V5, p.216)

 

But then the site goes on to give a list of dozens and dozens of suggested books to read to children during the preschool years. :confused1:

 

(I can't join their forums and ask about the inconsistency, because they say they're just for families who are planning to use the AO curriculum. Maybe someone can enlighten me?)

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I'm finding it hard to articulate my desire to move to CM... do you mind sharing what motivated your change?

 

My biggest thing, I suppose, is her idea that children are living persons, and not blank slates, and that knowledge should be presented as a great feast, rather than lists. And finally, "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life"- those are her ideas that have really resonated with me.

 

 

For exactly what you said. My ds especially needs to be educated In a gentle manner. He struggles with so much but is also very brilliant. Read aloud s and waiting for him to be ready ( grammar) will make all the difference I believe. I really have to throw out my preconceived notions.

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I stopped in out of interest, as I don't see it as an either/or. I think it's important to have the trivium in mind when choosing educational opportunities for our children. It's also important to keep CM's recommendations in mind when choosing the same educational opportunities - keep lessons short, literature-focused and ALIVE. To me, it seems like SWB's saying many of the same things CM did - keep the work light, focus on narrations and great literature. So I'm still curious about why you think you'd have to pick one or the other.

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"Away with books, and 'reading to'--for the first five or six years of life. The endless succession of story-books, scenes, shifting like a panorama before the child's vision, is a mental and moral dissipation; he gets nothing to grow upon, or is allowed no leisure to digest what he gets." (CM's OHS, V5, p.216)

 

But then the site goes on to give a list of dozens and dozens of suggested books to read to children during the preschool years. :confused1:

 

But they aren't "suggested books to read" as much as examples of excellent books that might be worth reading to give children something to grow upon and leisure to digest.

 

The next paragraphs explain (emphasis mine),

The book suggestions on this page are meant to provide examples of the type of books that would be consistent with the standards Charlotte Mason set. There is no need to find all of these books and read them according to a schedule. Simply use this list as a guide to selecting the best books from what you already own or have access to.

 

There's no need to read an endless succession of story-books. A few well-loved, excellent books are what they recommend. Wonderful stories children can take and make their own. Here are some examples of books Ambleside Advisory thinks are excellent and fit this description. They aren't going to read such-and-such in this or that year. They don't even want you to read everything on the list. Some stories are good. Endless stacks of books from the Library that aren't superior may be not good.

 

Does that help?

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I stopped in out of interest, as I don't see it as an either/or. I think it's important to have the trivium in mind when choosing educational opportunities for our children. It's also important to keep CM's recommendations in mind when choosing the same educational opportunities - keep lessons short, literature-focused and ALIVE. To me, it seems like SWB's saying many of the same things CM did - keep the work light, focus on narrations and great literature. So I'm still curious about why you think you'd have to pick one or the other.

 

I completely agree. I like to think I use a lot of CM methodologies of how to teaching with the Classical of what to teach. Having read a lot of CM it sounds to me like CM was very Classical with a soft and gentle approach. I really don't think they are either/or.

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I don't mean to say that WTM and CM are VERY different, in many ways they are very similar. But to give a few examples- WTM's science is quite different than CM's. WTM history recommends that first graders memorize the pharoahs of Egypt and some other 20+ item list that I can't remember right now. I am not opposed to this memorization, per se, but I do wonder what context they can possibly have for these things after just doing the SOTW materials and add-in books. I love CM's picture study... can't remember what SWB has for this.

 

For English, the WWE books do seem to be pretty CM style, but I find it a bit odd to use materials that are totally disconnected from the child's own reading material. Also, SWB's narration technique is much different, and in my mind, an upper level skill inappropriate for a 1-3rd grader (summarizing in 1-2 sentences vs remembering all you can with CM) And why do this incredibly repetitive grammar in early elementary when you could cover the same material in 6 weeks if you waited a few years? What advantage is there to the child to know what a noun is but not have an intuitive feel for language FIRST before learning grammar? Same with spelling. Why start so young?

 

I think a lot of people don't realize how rigorous CM gets as children get older, they see it as gentle because it starts off gently, but part of the reason for that gentle start is to allow time in the day for a very important part of education- habit forming- which makes it easy to incorporate a much more rigorous approach later.

 

I see WTM as studying a culture and CM as creating a culture. Does that make any sense?

 

Again, the actual execution of the two programs is probably very similar. I just see some philosophical differences that make me come down on the side of CM more and more heavily.

 

 

For the person who asked about all these picture books for small children, I think CM's hope was that small kids have a handful of much read and much treasured high quality books, instead of having 10 new books a week but no real favorites.

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Also worth mentioning that I don't really care much for the book list at AO- especially their history chioces. I think there are other living books available that are perhaps better. But I do think it's a great place to start and to get a feel for things.

 

Also, yes, my kids are young, so I'm sure I'll go through a few more permutations before this is all said and done!

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I'm swinging wildly in the wind these days - I think I am really what would be called eclectic, but in the past we've been more classical than not. Now I'm loving Charlotte Mason and Educating the Whole Hearted Child. My son does not love learning, but he used to love all of the reading we did when we used Sonlight. After Sonlight, we did History Odyssey for a few years. This year we're using My Father's World WHL and loving it. It is so much more of what we both like. But, now it's high school. I wish I had the past few years back. Neither of us has good habits & because of that getting all of the high school level work done is hard. I will say that he remembers things better when he learns them in context of how they are used. For that reason, CM is a much better match and I think it's also why MFW is going so well.

 

This semester I really wanted to work more on "habit remediation" but it's hard to keep up with the outside classes - Geometry and Spanish. We are using textbooks for Geometry, Spanish and Biology and living books for history, literature, Bible and art. So, I guess I'm eclectic.

 

I like Charlotte Mason over classical right now because of the same thing others have said - children are people. I want to pay attention to my son as a complete person, not just spend time on academic endeavors. Instead, I want to work on those habits (what little time we have left) and encourage him to view the world as a whole. i was encouraged yesterday because he asked if we could make time this week to go to a nearby state park so that he could work on his landscape painting. We may compromise on the location so that I can bike while he paints. Maybe we're on our way after all?

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I don't mean to say that WTM and CM are VERY different, in many ways they are very similar. But to give a few examples- WTM's science is quite different than CM's. WTM history recommends that first graders memorize the pharoahs of Egypt and some other 20+ item list that I can't remember right now. I am not opposed to this memorization, per se, but I do wonder what context they can possibly have for these things after just doing the SOTW materials and add-in books. I love CM's picture study... can't remember what SWB has for this.

 

For English, the WWE books do seem to be pretty CM style, but I find it a bit odd to use materials that are totally disconnected from the child's own reading material. Also, SWB's narration technique is much different, and in my mind, an upper level skill inappropriate for a 1-3rd grader (summarizing in 1-2 sentences vs remembering all you can with CM) And why do this incredibly repetitive grammar in early elementary when you could cover the same material in 6 weeks if you waited a few years? What advantage is there to the child to know what a noun is but not have an intuitive feel for language FIRST before learning grammar? Same with spelling. Why start so young?

 

I think a lot of people don't realize how rigorous CM gets as children get older, they see it as gentle because it starts off gently, but part of the reason for that gentle start is to allow time in the day for a very important part of education- habit forming- which makes it easy to incorporate a much more rigorous approach later.

 

I see WTM as studying a culture and CM as creating a culture. Does that make any sense?

 

Again, the actual execution of the two programs is probably very similar. I just see some philosophical differences that make me come down on the side of CM more and more heavily.

 

 

For the person who asked about all these picture books for small children, I think CM's hope was that small kids have a handful of much read and much treasured high quality books, instead of having 10 new books a week but no real favorites.

 

 

IMO, you are looking at WTM too rigidly. I see it more as a guideline or a framework that I can modify as needed for my specific children. I have seen many members of this board recommend to hold off on formal science or history until 3rd grade or later. Many people don't start a formal grammar program or spelling program until that time as well. I don't think that this makes them a non-classical schooler. They are simply adjusting the suggestions in WTM to fit their family.

 

I also don't think there are many people (even on this board) that only use products created by SWB or recommended by her. WWE is a fantastic program, but it is obviously not the perfect fit for every child. Many families don't use the workbook and create their own copywork and dictation assignments from what they are currently studying. The workbooks are not necessary to follow the WWE curriculum.

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I don't mean to say that WTM and CM are VERY different, in many ways they are very similar. But to give a few examples- WTM's science is quite different than CM's. WTM history recommends that first graders memorize the pharoahs of Egypt and some other 20+ item list that I can't remember right now. I am not opposed to this memorization, per se, but I do wonder what context they can possibly have for these things after just doing the SOTW materials and add-in books. I love CM's picture study... can't remember what SWB has for this. For English, the WWE books do seem to be pretty CM style, but I find it a bit odd to use materials that are totally disconnected from the child's own reading material. Also, SWB's narration technique is much different, and in my mind, an upper level skill inappropriate for a 1-3rd grader (summarizing in 1-2 sentences vs remembering all you can with CM) And why do this incredibly repetitive grammar in early elementary when you could cover the same material in 6 weeks if you waited a few years? What advantage is there to the child to know what a noun is but not have an intuitive feel for language FIRST before learning grammar? Same with spelling. Why start so young? I think a lot of people don't realize how rigorous CM gets as children get older, they see it as gentle because it starts off gently, but part of the reason for that gentle start is to allow time in the day for a very important part of education- habit forming- which makes it easy to incorporate a much more rigorous approach later. I see WTM as studying a culture and CM as creating a culture. Does that make any sense? Again, the actual execution of the two programs is probably very similar. I just see some philosophical differences that make me come down on the side of CM more and more heavily. For the person who asked about all these picture books for small children, I think CM's hope was that small kids have a handful of much read and much treasured high quality books, instead of having 10 new books a week but no real favorites.

 

Well said!

 

Also worth mentioning that I don't really care much for the book list at AO- especially their history choices. I think there are other living books available that are perhaps better. But I do think it's a great place to start and to get a feel for things. Also, yes, my kids are young, so I'm sure I'll go through a few more permutations before this is all said and done!

 

I like their "free" reading lists better than their history lists. We're using their history rotation now, but we're subbing out the history books... ds11 (Year 6, term 2) is using The Book of the Ancient Greeks (Dorothy Mills) instead of The Story of the Greeks. We plan to keep going with Mills through the Renaissance/Reformation and then ??? I do play mix and match with book lists from various years though, since we're "late" to AO.

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IMO, you are looking at WTM too rigidly.

 

You are right about this. I should try to remember that SWB is not the only classical educator out there, she and CM are peers of a sort, each having developed a classical program. I have nothing but respect for SWB and I think a lot of her curricula are made for parents who are new to HS or need more hand holding than I feel I need. I didn't realize going in how quickly I would find my footing, so now I am finding a lot of her materials to be unnecessary for us, and they feel sort of awkward when compared to "doing my own thing" with similar methods. The one exception is history- where I feel I need the hand holding, and SWB's materials fit the bill perfectly. I feel much more comfortable with her material than just going it alone with a book list and a prayer. lol!

 

It is possible that SWB is philosophically very similar to CM in terms of habit formation and just did not include this information in her book, feeling it was off-topic. But the rigor of her program at such a young age, IMO, does not leave adequate time for nature exploration, habit training, and simply playing.

 

I should update my siggy- my son is either a young 1st grader or old K'r, depending on whose state guidelines I am looking at. In Switzerland, he is in the middle of his second year of our version of K.

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In case anyone is interested, this is a series of posts that I've been reading through and thoroughly enjoying about teaching writing the CM way-

http://ourmothersdaughters.blogspot.ch/2013/01/a-good-sentence-or-what-to-do-while-you.html

 

I suggest you scroll down to the bottom of the post and read all of the previous posts in the series which she links to before starting the most recent one.

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In case anyone is interested, this is a series of posts that I've been reading through and thoroughly enjoying about teaching writing the CM way-

http://ourmothersdau...hile-you.html��

 

I suggest you scroll down to the bottom of the post and read all of the previous posts in the series which she links to before starting the most recent one.

 

 

Auntie Leila is AWESOME. With awesome sauce. And she's got such street cred.

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I think you should read what SWB says about CM.

 

www.welltrainedmind.com/charlotte-mason-education/

 

Since your children are so young, I think CM is appropriate but I would caution that as your children get older the WTM becomes a valuable resource. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

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I think you should read what SWB says about CM.

 

www.welltrainedmind.com/charlotte-mason-education/

 

Since your children are so young, I think CM is appropriate but I would caution that as your children get older the WTM becomes a valuable resource. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

 

 

I gave up o Andreola's version of CM years ago and I have no idea who Levinson is. I guess what I'm saying that I find their interpretations of CM to be a little on the soft and mushy side.

 

I really wish people would read her volumes for themselves. This is not to say that I agree with everything CM has to say, absolutely not. But she speaks for herself, she doesn't need all of these people reinterpreting her ideas.

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I gave up o Andreola's version of CM years ago and I have no idea who Levinson is. I guess what I'm saying that I find their interpretations of CM to be a little on the soft and mushy side.

 

I really wish people would read her volumes for themselves. This is not to say that I agree with everything CM has to say, absolutely not. But she speaks for herself, she doesn't need all of these people reinterpreting her ideas.

:iagree:

I have read a lot of CM books, and I enjoy what Andreola has to say, but it makes me want to crawl out of my skin when I hear people say that a CM education is some kind of laid back/gentle/easy approach. I really think that a large majority of people don't even know what a CM education is.

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This is a timely thread for me, sorting out our various strategies.

 

I will say that I have been very bothered that the WTM version of classical is so very academic, when the education of the Classical cultures was very focused on the education of the whole person: the intellect, the emotions (what the ancient Greeks classified as "music", a phrase that to them included imaginative stories and the artistic side of things), and the physical body. CM is much more careful to educate the whole person, and also to keep the child's character/spirit at the center of the educational enterprise.

 

I cannot tell you how taken aback I was to find WTM drop the teaching of ethics into a tiny chapter, essentially arguing that one has to look to one's particular religion for this. That is absurd. Honesty, integrity, compassion, generosity, hard work, joy in our enterprises, an even disposition, an obligation to care for the vulnerable, a determination to hold to what is right -- these things are not specific to any religion. okay, off my soapbox. :) But I'm happy to see these things addressed directly in CM.

 

CM treatment of math, and various other principles, I don't agree with; and we will be having (and already have) a much more formal approach to writing. I am profoundly grateful to WTM for the academic framework it provides. But for gestalt, CM suits better.

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There's no need to read an endless succession of story-books. A few well-loved, excellent books are what they recommend.

Yes, Ambleside Online says that about using their book lists. (Though from what I've seen on blogs and message boards, I have to wonder how many of their users actually limit themselves to "a few books" for ages 0-5, in any meaningful sense of the phrase.)

 

In the passage they quote, though, Charlotte Mason herself doesn't recommend "a few well-loved, excellent books" for the young child. "Away with books and 'reading to'" is what she says -- and whether or not we agree with this, I get the impression that she means it. :) In the same paragraph, she does recommend having a repertoire of excellent stories that the parent tells over and over to the young child. But this is supposed to be done by the traditional art of oral storytelling, not by reading aloud.

 

"And here is another advantage of the story told over the story read. Lightly come, lightly go, is the rule for the latter. But if you have to make a study of your story, if you mean to appropriate it as bread of life for your children, why, you select with the caution of the merchantman seeking goodly pearls. Again, in the story read, the parent is no more than the middleman; but the story told is food as directly and deliberately given as milk from the mother's breast."

 

I'd be interested to know if there are any homeschooling parents out there who take this advice seriously. I have yet to meet a single one. And yet, the funny thing is that by following this approach, the parent is basing the child's education on "being narrated to," by a real live person, in the years before the child starts narrating stories himself. This fits right in with the idea of mimesis as the basis of learning (as discussed on the CiRCE threads & elsewhere).

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I'd be interested to know if there are any homeschooling parents out there who take this advice seriously.

 

Me! Me! My self-education has included reading the Story-Tellers Handbook, among other "art or oral storytelling" resources. This started because my kids love for me to tell them stories when we are walking, at the grocery store, etc. We're in Europe, so we walk EVERYWHERE and it helps motivate the rather short legs of a certain 3 year old who shall go unnamed. :closedeyes:

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Me! Me! My self-education has included reading the Story-Tellers Handbook, among other "art or oral storytelling" resources. This started because my kids love for me to tell them stories when we are walking, at the grocery store, etc. We're in Europe, so we walk EVERYWHERE and it helps motivate the rather short legs of a certain 3 year old who shall go unnamed. :closedeyes:

That's neat. :D

 

To clarify, though, I was wondering more if anyone has followed Charlotte Mason's specific advice, as cited above: to learn a dozen (or so) classic stories, and tell them over and over, and to do this instead of reading books to the under-6 crowd.

 

Or some slight variation on that approach.

 

It seems pretty radical, but I guess it's what all parents and caregivers used to do -- and still do, in much of the world -- since, for most of human history, children's books as such either didn't exist, or were only available to the rich. And in non-literate societies, their whole culture was passed on through this type of storytelling across the generations. So we must all arrive in the world equipped for that sort of thing. :)

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My kids are still very young. But I am finding more and more that, while I think the neo-Classical movement is a very good option, I am more suited personally to teaching in a CM style. I find that I am feeling more and more "confined" by curriculums, and so much happier with just... reading. The children naturally narrate, naturally play-act scenes from books, and naturally want to explore their environment. I was enjoying Right Start Math, but am feeling more and more like now that I've been guided down the "how to do it", that I can teach math more-or-less on my own, following just the list of topics.

 

Has anyone else gone over to CM entirely or almost entirely? I know Classical and CM are close cousins, but I think I'm going to jump ship!

You might want to look at Katheryn Stout Design a Study, these are just books with lists of what needs to be studied for math (this one even has brief ways to teach it and is great), science, history, spelling, and writing (I think). They are very useful and can be found real cheap on ebay or Amazon used (I bought all of mine from $1 to $8 used)

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That's neat. :D

 

To clarify, though, I was wondering more if anyone has followed Charlotte Mason's specific advice, as cited above: to learn a dozen (or so) classic stories, and tell them over and over, and to do this instead of reading books to the under-6 crowd.

 

Or some slight variation on that approach.

 

It seems pretty radical, but I guess it's what all parents and caregivers used to do -- and still do, in much of the world -- since, for most of human history, children's books as such either didn't exist, or were only available to the rich. And in non-literate societies, their whole culture was passed on through this type of storytelling across the generations. So we must all arrive in the world equipped for that sort of thing. :)

 

I'm remembering that I had almost no children's books. I had a precious few, pretty horribly illustrated bible stories, but those were later on.

 

And, you're right, my mother had no children's books.

 

I do think that some children's books are good, and I do try to make sure that the ones I keep are the most beautiful. I don't have a lot, though (I gave away most of them, they didn't cut it).

 

I think that if I've told my children stories, it's been bible stories because those are the only ones I know well enough to tell. :laugh:

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That's neat. :D

 

It seems pretty radical, but I guess it's what all parents and caregivers used to do -- and still do, in much of the world -- since, for most of human history, children's books as such either didn't exist, or were only available to the rich. And in non-literate societies, their whole culture was passed on through this type of storytelling across the generations. So we must all arrive in the world equipped for that sort of thing. :)

 

I did this with my oldest children out of instinct, I told them the same bedtime stories over and over, usually the three little bears and goldilocks, and the three little pigs. My repertoire was pretty limited, lol. We also have a ton of story books for all ages, and my young kids always seem to want to read the same three books over and over again for months on end :).

 

I find WTM, CM and LCC to be completely compatible, we are combining all three. LCC led me to MP, which we use along with booklists from Mater Amabilis and Ambleside. I also love some of the resources from SCM, such as their artist study sets. We do more formal writing and grammar, ala WTM. We also use some resources from Catholic Heritage Curriculum, which I find to be very CM friendly, and MODG, which of course is classical. All of these seem to flow quite nicley together, but I would say MP has become our main curriculum simply because it appeals to my sons personality the best.

 

IMHO, the Higher Up and Further In (HUFI) curriculum at www.charlottemasonhelp.com would be a great choice for those who are drawn to a neo-classical approach such as WTM and also drawn to CM. Of course, It follows a 4 year history cycle, which makes it more compatible with SOTW and WTM. It also has added more modern books to the AO selections, which may appeal to more neo-classical types. I have found her "how to" articles to be very helpful in implementing the "fine arts" component of CM curriculums, and she is definately more straight forward with the nuts and bolts and less of the "mush" some people find with authors like Andreola. And, like AO and MA, it's all free!

 

I've also heard Sonlight described as a CM curriculum, but I've never used it.

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I love CM's picture study... can't remember what SWB has for this.

 

There are picture studies in FLL. I do find the writing exercises in WWE a little odd as they are removed from our regular writing. I have the book but may skip it in favour of writing selections from our read-alouds. The ideas are sound, and she's tried to create an open-and-go program for parents who can't or don't have time to find selections at an appopriate level. If that's not you, by all means, do it yourself, though you may still want to read what she has to say or listen to her mp3 about teaching writing in the elementary years.

 

IMO, you are looking at WTM too rigidly.

I think you should read what SWB says about CM.

 

 

Yes, and listen as well, and watch her on YouTube!!! I think if you listen to SWB's audio resources, you'll come away with a very different impression of Classical education than if you just read the book. I have bought a few, though I initially resisted, and they're only a few bucks, and I'm grateful I did. Particularly The Joy of Classical Education (only 99 cents!) but also Homeschooling the Real Child, which works with any type of educational model. I also loved her lecture on writing in the elementary years. I didn't know I was such a huge fan until I started really listening (and watching; the youtube videos are free).

 

WTM is a very, VERY formal book. In places, it comes across badly - yes, even cold and joyless. SWB has said outright, I believe, that the schedules were created for the book because the publisher requested them and they are not at all mandatory or even what she did with her own children. Many parents find them not only unrealistic but kinda laughable (me, me, me!). Some follow them; most do not.

 

To me, what WTM offers that I didn't find so much in the CM world is practical, flexible ideas for educating my kids in 2013 or whatever year it is. So much of CM philosophy is mired in the classics that I think parents may be disempowered in terms of choosing their own living curriculum. I may be thinking mostly of Ambleside here, but even some sites presenting themselves as alternatives to AO have their own rigidity. And then, if the classics don't fit, like if you're not Christian or not American or not British or don't enjoy the current composer, or whatever... well, I had trouble figuring out where and how to start filling in the blanks. SWB and WTM helped me with those things while staying true (imo) to some important principles of CM.

 

ETA: For what it's worth, I don't enjoy most contemporary homeschool-oriented writers on CM, but really got a lot out of When Children Love to Learn. YMMV, but I found it very well-grounded in contemporary realities, as opposed to mired in the 19th or early 20th century, or some vague, mythical, rosy-coloured past... as some seem to be.

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I've been reading along because CM piques my interests and I find myself gravitating to aspects of it whenever I come across posts here.

 

The following is really more of an aside, but caught my eye:

I cannot tell you how taken aback I was to find WTM drop the teaching of ethics into a tiny chapter, essentially arguing that one has to look to one's particular religion for this. That is absurd. Honesty, integrity, compassion, generosity, hard work, joy in our enterprises, an even disposition, an obligation to care for the vulnerable, a determination to hold to what is right -- these things are not specific to any religion. okay, off my soapbox. :) But I'm happy to see these things addressed directly in CM.

 

I completely agree. I wasn't quite taken aback but felt it was a diplomatic way of bowing out. Still I was curious what a WTM view on teaching ethics would be.

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I wasn't quite taken aback but felt it was a diplomatic way of bowing out.

 

I agree. But it is unfortunate, because I think character development is pretty fundamental to classical ed. But her goal was probably to reach the widest audience while stepping on the fewest toes, and I think referring people to their religious education was a safe bet.

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I was reading bits here and there in CM's Volume 1, pg 228

 

Reading to Children

 

It is a delight to older people to read aloud to children, bit this should be only an occasional treat and indulgence, allowed before bedtime for example. We must remember the natural inertness of a child's mind; give him the habit of being read to, and he will steadily shirk the labour of reading for himself; indeed, we all like to be spoon-fed with our intellectual meat, or we should read and think more for ourselves and be less eager to run after lectures.

 

 

 

I can't imagine that many of us agree with this? Yet there it is.

 

I'm simultaneously reading The Death of Christian Culture by John Senior (who Dr James Taylor, author of Poetic Knowledge had the privilege of sitting under).

 

 

John Senior (1923-99), the late classicist professor at the University of Kansas (KU), was a student of the poet, author, teacher, and great books advocate Mark Van Doren at Columbia University in the 1940′s. Van Doren was co-moderator of many great books groups at Columbia in the 1920′s with Dr. Adler, and both were students of John Erskine. Senior’s great books credentials go straight back to the beginning of the movement at Columbia. Dr. Adler was invited to lecture at KU in the 1970′s by Senior. (link takes you to the Classical Homeschooling website)

 

 

 

​In the back of the book, The Death of Christian Culture, he has an amazing booklist, "A Thousand Good Books, or, What Everyone Should Have Read" and the ages appropriate. It starts in the nursery, ages 2-7. I cannot imagine that these children are reading these all by themselves. ;-P

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I was reading bits here and there in CM's Volume 1, pg 228

 

Reading to Children

 

It is a delight to older people to read aloud to children, bit this should be only an occasional treat and indulgence, allowed before bedtime for example. We must remember the natural inertness of a child's mind; give him the habit of being read to, and he will steadily shirk the labour of reading for himself; indeed, we all like to be spoon-fed with our intellectual meat, or we should read and think more for ourselves and be less eager to run after lectures.

 

 

 

I can't imagine that many of us agree with this? Yet there it is.

 

I'm simultaneously reading The Death of Christian Culture by John Senior (who Dr James Taylor, author of Poetic Knowledge had the privilege of sitting under).

 

 

John Senior (1923-99), the late classicist professor at the University of Kansas (KU), was a student of the poet, author, teacher, and great books advocate Mark Van Doren at Columbia University in the 1940′s. Van Doren was co-moderator of many great books groups at Columbia in the 1920′s with Dr. Adler, and both were students of John Erskine. Senior’s great books credentials go straight back to the beginning of the movement at Columbia. Dr. Adler was invited to lecture at KU in the 1970′s by Senior. (link takes you to the Classical Homeschooling website)

 

 

 

​In the back of the book, The Death of Christian Culture, he has an amazing booklist, "A Thousand Good Books, or, What Everyone Should Have Read" and the ages appropriate. It starts in the nursery, ages 2-7. I cannot imagine that these children are reading these all by themselves. ;-P

 

Ummm... I have to say that a great portion of our homeschooling day is indeed me reading aloud to my kids, and bedtime will find me doing more of the same. While I do love CM, I think I need to differ from her greatly with the idea of not reading aloud. And, fwiw, my ds11 still reads to himself quite a lot! Dd9, well, she's working on it.

 

And no, many kids between 2-7 are not reading to themselves!

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I was reading bits here and there in CM's Volume 1, pg 228

 

Reading to Children

 

It is a delight to older people to read aloud to children, bit this should be only an occasional treat and indulgence, allowed before bedtime for example. We must remember the natural inertness of a child's mind; give him the habit of being read to, and he will steadily shirk the labour of reading for himself; indeed, we all like to be spoon-fed with our intellectual meat, or we should read and think more for ourselves and be less eager to run after lectures.

 

 

 

I can't imagine that many of us agree with this? Yet there it is.

 

 

Good point. This is one of many ideas in her original writings that some people are surprised or uncomfortable to come across. Sometimes when people wax lyrical about CM I'm reminded of Inigo Montoya.

 

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. ;)

 

So while many people, myself include, have gleaned much from CM, I doubt anyone is "entirely CM" despite all protests to the contrary.

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I use almost completely CM methods and since we have switched, our homeschool is so much more relaxed and my kids are learning so much. I am doing a very classical version of CM (not much different than her education since she did a basically classical education). My kids will definitely learn Latin and probably learn Greek. We will read books about Ancient Greece and Rome. I think the two can be combined very well. Although I don't think you can do WTM the CM way. They are pretty different. I hope that you find the balance you want! This is an awesome blog. Also, I love the booklists at Mater Amabilis, HUFI, and Ambleside. I absolutely love Simply Charlotte Mason. I just found the Tanglewood site. This is a great mix of Classical and CM.

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