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Reasons to NOT follow AO or a CM education?

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Hello-

 

DD (6) is beginning 1st grade this fall, and I am very torn about what curriculum/philosophy we will be following. I know CM IS classical in many ways, but for me, it's coming down to following AO or TWTM. True, many people combine or do substitutions, but for me, my sanity, and the way my brain works, I need to pick either/or. I have had the AO books in my Amazon cart for weeks, and I just can't pull the trigger:) Something is holding me back! Science is weak? History starts with early Britain, which is weird? I'm not sure what it is! I was attracted to CM for several reasons, and I was an English teacher, so I love the idea of a literature-based curriculum. But is the TWTM more rigorous and therefore a better plan?

 

I'd love some help sorting this out and figuring which direction to go. DD is an early reader, and easily reading chapter books on her own (E.B. White, Little House, etc.). We are using RightStart math, and are cruising through Level B. I can see her thriving either way.

 

Are there reasons you DON'T care for CM or AO education?

 

Thanks!

Angela

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I personally love the ideas behind Charlotte Mason but find that other people's choices of books and implementation don't always work for me. I think you would do much better to read the actual books by Charlotte or a great book on her method such as "For the Children's Sake" by Susan Schaeffer Macauley. Then pull together your own program doing the time period you want and using the books that appeal to you. Charlotte Mason is not a box of certain books, it is a method.

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CM is too genteel for me. Waldorf is too artsy. The Principle Approach is too American. TWTM is too accelerated. I don't like the book list for The Robinson Curriculum. The Amish books are too farmy. But I apply all these vintage METHODS to the original Doubleday hardback What Your _ Grader Needs to Know series.

 

You can apply CM methods to any booklist. I only have the math and handwriting pdfs from Simply Charlotte Mason, but I really like them.

 

But again in answer to your question, CM is just too genteel for me. I'm a hiking boot wearing gal, with OCD tendencies. I'm no fuss and minimalist to the extreme. Sometimes CM stuff makes me want to barf. :ack2:

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I agree with MIchelle and Mandy. It may seem like more work on the outset, but it really will be a huge benefit to read her works(or at least Volume 3 and 6). There are many different ways to apply her ideas to a booklist that best suits you and your family. We began with AO, but did move on by taking a majority of CM ideas, added a little from other classical methods and used the books that we loved. :)

 

We start with the ancients and add more to science.

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The notion of reading "living books" is all well and good, unless the book list contains books with very bad values. Unfortunately this is the case with far too many of the book selections in AO.

 

People tend to have overly romantic feelings about the attutudes on race, gender, and religion that are prevalent in the Victorian and post-Victorian era books that dominate the AO lists.

 

The US History book they use, This Country of Ours, is hair-curling in its pervasive racism and bigotry, but this problem is far wider than just one book.

 

Bill

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:hurray: :thumbup: :hurray: :thumbup: :iagree: :iagree: :iagree: to Tibbie's awesome post!

 

The only thing I'd add is my surprise that the first thing you're worried about going into 1st is what philosophy you're following. I'd be MUCH more concerned about how you're teaching phonics, spelling, and how your STUDENT will best learn them. Just because CM or SWB thought the methods up doesn't mean your student will learn that way. I'd just use your head and look at your kid and say If I do what they say for spelling with the dc I have in front of me, will it work out? Pick up a book and try it. See how it clicks with that dc. Then print some worksheets and try them on your kid, and see if SWB's suggestions (very worksheet driven, bleh) work for your kid. Skills are where it's at at this stage, and the wise teacher figures out that the ONLY answer is what connects with her particular dc.

 

If the AO books have sat in your cart that long, maybe you don't want them. It's cheaper to get stuff through the library and only buy the ones you see getting reread, the ones your kids LOVE. You'd hate to blow your wad on AO books and realize those aren't even the ones your kids love. I have 7,000 books in my house. Buying books is a pretty big deal here. I wouldn't buy a whole swatch of AO books like that. It's too easy to get them and realize your kid doesn't even LIKE those types of books or the taste that person used in choosing them.

 

You know maybe you'd be happier opening your mind to new ideas. Look at Veritas Press or My Father's World or Sonlight. All of these are blending what is GOOD from CM and classical. All can produce happy students. All are well-loved on the boards. All have great book lists. I'd start though with the reality of your student for how he's best going to learn his writing, spelling, phonics, etc. Then pick your book list. And personally, I like a mix of VP and SL books. Gives you the best of the best. :)

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You can get most of the AO books free online... You don't have to buy them. If you are not sure then try the free versions first and see if it works out for you. I am using the first year book list with my kids. The only one they really like is James Herriots animal tales which is also on the Sonlight list. The rest they just politely listen too but don't really enjoy. Well they do also like the burgess bird book.

 

Have you looked at sonlight? My kids like a lot of the books from there. We get most of them from the library.

 

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I did a lot of the AO literature and quite frankly I just didn't find it an age-appropriate or fun fit for my children. Some of the reading they liked and for others their eyes glazed over. I think AO tries to choose free literature and this sometimes means it isn't necessarily the better literature. Just because it is vintage doesn't mean it is good.

 

On the other hand, I think Charlotte Mason's philosophy of education has a lot to offer. I agree that reading her own works and internalizing it will be of benefit (whether or not you follow a boxed set claiming to be CM). Simply Charlotte Mason and CharlotteMasonhelp (both linked above) were helpful to me; although in the end I choose not to follow any one specific plan or philosophy.

 

I agree with the above poster that it is more important to choose a phonics program and a math program that will work for you and your child. Read good books that you both like. Read books on classical education , CM education and more, but glean from them what you want and leave the rest. Don't tie yourself to them.

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I think it's worth looking at other programs, such as those mentioned and linked to, to get IDEAS of how others have interpreted CM using modern books.

 

I'd also look at Childlight's magazine like thing called the Review. There are some interesting things there and on their blog.

http://www.childlightusa.org/review.php

http://childlightusa.wordpress.com/

 

If you like AO, you can certainly try it without spending big bucks because virtually everything they use is out of copyright or otherwise free.

 

I think it's incredibly important to separate CM from Victoriana. The woman herself liked the Boy Scout Handbook, for goodness' sake. You don't have to dress your kid like Little Lord Fauntleroy to use her ideas.

 

I do not use AO, but have tried to glean useful ideas from CM. I like some old books, but I like living in the modern age. It's also entirely possible to use AO suggested books for a totally not CM program.

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I read "When Children Love to Learn" and really liked it. But I don't care for AO's list. I looked at 1st grade and it seems either very light or overly complicated.

 

Our Island Story was probably a nice book for British children once, but....I don't see the point.

 

Trial and Triumph is an awful book. I know some people here like it. But it's just sectarian propaganda, and has no place as a history book. Wycliffe was killed just because he wanted to make an English Bible? puhlleeesseee....... :angry:

 

Teaching history by telling stories is nice, but I don't see any context there for the Baldwin and the rest. I know young kids have issues with chronology, but eventually you have to start straightening that out, not adding to their confusion. Maybe people who have done AO have figure out how to make it work out. But I wouldn't bother to tackle it with the books and schedule given.

 

The nature studies book looks nice, but I live in Florida, so it wouldn't be useful to me. And, again, maybe someone who has used it knows better, but I think a book like that would be best as summer enrichment. I know from growing up in Ohio that nature study can be pretty limited for a good chunk of the year.

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I agree with Bill that some of the book choices are just absurd. Really quite useless in terms of life today. Like Moby Dick. Would be great to say you have read it but...why? So you can discuss it over lunch? Most people haven't read it because it really is boring, long, and tedious. Sometimes the idea of the perfect education is not what the kids will like. Just my 2 cents

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Trial and Triumph is an awful book. I know some people here like it. But it's just sectarian propaganda, and has no place as a history book. Wycliffe was killed just because he wanted to make an English Bible? puhlleeesseee....... :angry:

 

By Richard Hannula? I haven't read it, and as we aren't Protestant, I doubt we'll use it, but I did pick it up at some point. I just looked and it says "Two years later, Wyclif died of a stroke, but his followers carried on the work" (110).

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The only thing I'd add is my surprise that the first thing you're worried about going into 1st is what philosophy you're following. I'd be MUCH more concerned about how you're teaching phonics, spelling, and how your STUDENT will best learn them.

 

Actually, I think too many people dive into homeschooling not thinking enough about the underpinnings and the philosophy behind what they're doing. Instead, people dive into methods and curricula that they've heard "work" or are "good" and then when it doesn't work for them, they don't have any reason to go back to, or any reference for why they're doing it the way they're doing it. I think it's much better to know where you stand in terms of your goals, your philosophy, and so forth and then put it aside and let life and your real kids' needs inform what you do. Philosophy is what you refer back to when times are tough - so you can say, oh, yeah, that's why we're doing it this way. And, of course, life can alter your philosophy, I just think it's better for there to be something there to alter beyond just "what works." How can you define what works until you've decided on a goal anyway?

 

That said, I agree with everyone else here that AO's booklists are old and dull for the most part and that there are other options and ways to do CM if that's what you want.

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I agree with Bill that some of the book choices are just absurd. Really quite useless in terms of life today. Like Moby Dick. Would be great to say you have read it but...why? So you can discuss it over lunch? Most people haven't read it because it really is boring, long, and tedious. Sometimes the idea of the perfect education is not what the kids will like. Just my 2 cents

 

Uh, oh, Bill. Them's fightin' words.

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I agree with Bill that some of the book choices are just absurd. Really quite useless in terms of life today. Like Moby Dick. Would be great to say you have read it but...why? So you can discuss it over lunch? Most people haven't read it because it really is boring, long, and tedious. Sometimes the idea of the perfect education is not what the kids will like. Just my 2 cents

 

Are you baiting me? :D

 

Bill (who is getting ready to break out a harpoon)

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I second CM Help's free Booklist. To me, CM methods apply language arts, history, and science through quality literature. I didn't care for the AO list either, but I really like CM Help's Booklist, so we use that, with substitutions.

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Guys, this has been super helpful. Really. And thank you for mentioning the importance of knowing what philosophy you are operating from before marching forward. That's what I'm trying to do:)

 

I looked at Beautiful Feet and I really like a lot of the choices. I think at this point I need to combine some book lists from various places and put them together. I was hoping to just use one list "as is" but I have some unknown aversion to the AO Year 1 list...I have a gut feeling my DD won't be enamored, and I don't want to do it just because others have decided those are simply "the best" books available for a 6 year old.

 

Also, as a Catholic family, we were already going to have to make some changes to the AO list anyway;)

 

At this point, my big question is about following a history cycle. I want it to be logical. I want it to be clear. Does it make sense to begin with American history, as BF does, for example, or begin with Ancients?

 

Angela

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I don't think you can say CM is bad simply by looking at AO. There are several living book curricula that are excellent, or you can make your own. CM done right is plenty rigorous. The younger years seem light, but it's because CM thought little kids should be just that, little kids, exploring and learning about their world.

 

As for some living books not being proper, I've found the same with some textbooks.

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By Richard Hannula? I haven't read it, and as we aren't Protestant, I doubt we'll use it, but I did pick it up at some point. I just looked and it says "Two years later, Wyclif died of a stroke, but his followers carried on the work" (110).

 

Oh yes, sorry, writing too quickly this morning and conflated his death with his exhumation. I knew he got burned, but, yes, that's not how he died. I honestly stopped reading that chapter after the line that said Bible translations were forbidden by canon law and that the Catholic church didn't want an English Bible because then they would "lose influence" over people. *clunk*

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I would take a look at Heart of Dakota , My Father's World, Beautiful Feet, and Living Books Curriculum. All of those have better book lists in my opinion than AO. I use HOD and I like that they use a mix of older books and newer. I personally don't think if CM were alive today she would still only be using the exact same books she used then. :)

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I typed a long response to this thread last night that ended up a bit convoluted because of the biases of my own experience. I have been reflecting on it since then. The thing is that I agree with both OhE and Farrar.

 

OP, I felt much as you did before I began homeschooling my kids. I wanted to choose a path, one guiding philosophy, and stick with it. I wanted to feel like I had all my ducks in a row. At the time, CM seemed like the best fit, so I proclaimed myself a CM homeschooler, and I mostly was in the beginning. Still, there were many things about CM philosophy that didn't work for me (weak science, sight reading instead of a focus on phonics, a skewed ratio of antiquated books, for starters). But whatever, I was mostly CM and called myself CM. But why? LOL I mean, I also loved WTM and started down that path a bit more, combining CM and WTM and calling myself a CM/WTM homeschooler. But why? Again, LOL. That wasn't right either.

 

I still did science differently from both. I didn't even use a phonics program at all (just taught the kids phonics through books). I didn't follow WTM's history sequence. (Instead I did/do 2 years American, 4 years world, then repeat.) I do science all my own way, no CM or WTM there at all. I tweaked the math. And LA. We use living books, but you know what? That's WTM as much as CM. I actually think that many of the book choices in WTM are more age-appropriate and just plain interesting than the book selections in AO, and that's saying something, because we have read some great, challenging stuff! Of course, we have also read some great stuff that I found completely on my own.

 

I also use many of the suggestions in WTM, but in a very CM way...and most of the time, just in my own way. I use WWE but I choose our own selections. I use Voyages in English, a PS style textbook/workbook combo, but then I tie it into our writing workshop and we play with the grammar. I read for history, science, etc. and half the time I ask the kids what three most important things they can tell me (SWB style) and half the time I ask them to tell me as much as they can remember (CM style). I find value in both skills. I can't even say I mesh CM or WTM anymore though, really. I take what I like from everything I read and leave the rest. I incorporate some Waldorfy stuff, some "teacher books" meant for PS teachers, some unschooling, some unit studies, some project-based learning...

 

I said this in another thread a while back, but I will copy it here too because I have been exactly where you are (and I do mean exactly, struggling between CM/AO and WTM before my oldest's first grade year): I became truly happy as a homeschooler only when I rejected the need to pick a philosophy. I simply teach in a way that resonates with me and works for my kids. Yes, I use a little of this and a little of that, but I wouldn't call it eclectic so much as thoughtfully interwoven. The beauty of this is that if I need to shift, to adjust a little, I no longer have a full-on crisis of confidence. Now, the opposite is true; I can be unshaken and confident in adjusting because my homeschool philosophy is based on meeting my own family's needs, which will naturally grow and change.

 

Someone else already asked, but have you read When Children Love to Learn? It is the CM book that brought her methods to modern times for me. It was the book (and I have them all) that made me feel like CM could be made fresh for today. It is not mired in antiquity. CM herself sought out great new books every year and the book made me feel that it was not only OK for me to do the same, but that it was actually incumbent on me as a teacher to do so, you know? CM was not stale but, IMHO, AO is.

 

I will say this: if you are struggling so much to choose between these two methods, it's probably because neither feels like a perfect fit. Don't start this process by fighting yourself. Pick a guiding philosophy (if you feel you must), but do not marry it. :tongue_smilie: I had a sort of homeschool philosophical crisis after DS10's first grade year, basically because I forgot who I was and was kind of inadvertently ignoring who he was. Doesn't matter what looks good in a book or your imagination, as you picture perfectly lovely school days. Does not do you one ounce of good to pick something that is not in line with your actual nature. Whatever you do (seriously!)... Whatever you do, do not ignore your true nature or the nature of your kids. Your philosophy should reflect who you are, not who you wish you were...and certainly not who you wish your kids were. At 6, you are only seeing glimpses of your oldest. You may have to adjust. So my best advice is to date who you want philosophically, but don't marry anyone...really, ever. :tongue_smilie:

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At this point, my big question is about following a history cycle. I want it to be logical. I want it to be clear. Does it make sense to begin with American history, as BF does, for example, or begin with Ancients?

 

If you really want to follow a history cycle, then you should begin with Ancients. It just makes more sense to begin at the beginning, and there are TONS of great books for young children about Egypt, Greece and Rome. You can either do a 4 year cycle, as laid out in WTM: Ancients, Middle Ages, Early Modern and Modern, or divide it up however makes sense to you. I've seen divisions where Ancients is covered over 3 years - first covering early Civilizations up through Egypt, then Greece, then a year is spent covering the Roman Empire up through the early Middle Age (say, before the first Crusade) then another year studying the late Middle Ages through the Renaissance, then the Early Modern and finally Modern history. Of course, you may decide to take some time to focus on American History as well.

 

Personally, the most logical cycle for me is the 4 year - it just makes sense in my head, you know? I think my kids would be bored if we spent a full year on Ancient Greece.

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At this point, my big question is about following a history cycle. I want it to be logical. I want it to be clear. Does it make sense to begin with American history, as BF does, for example, or begin with Ancients?

 

Angela

 

My kids are each 19 months apart. A big part of the reason I spent the first two years on American history was so that I could begin all three at once on the 4 year world history cycle. Your oldest could spend grades 1-2 on American history, then your younger would be ready to join in on world history after that. I personally did not want to be hitting the more serious and disturbing parts of SOTW3-4 with young ones on board, although I know some people have successfully folded their younger kids in.

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Someone else already asked, but have you read When Children Love to Learn? It is the CM book that brought her methods to modern times for me. It was the book (and I have them all) that made me feel like CM could be made fresh for today. It is not mired in antiquity. CM herself sought out great new books every year and the book made me feel that it was not only OK for me to do the same, but that it was actually incumbent on me as a teacher to do so, you know? CM was not stale but, IMHO, AO is.

I agree with this and the rest of your post. When Children Love to Learn is an excellent book. I would say CM draws me more than any other philosophy but I certainly do not follow it to a T. I use what I like and forget the rest, just like anything else. From reading about CM and her own words I get the impression that she was very modern and cutting edge for her time. I like to think she would be amazed with all of the curriculum and resources available today. There are plenty of modern books that are living just as there are plenty of old books which are twaddle. The age of the book doesn't determine this at all. ;) Personally I like the combo of When Children Love to Learn and A Charlotte Mason Companion. Reading those two books gives a nice round view of the different styles of CM education. To the OP try to remember that Homeschool is marathon not a sprint. Your dc is just now starting 1st grade so you are just at the beginning. Pick something that you are really excited about. The teacher/mother sets the tone for the home/school. Chances are if you are excited about it your dc will be too. If you end up switching to something new the next year don't sweat it. I find sticking with and being consistent with the 3 R's the most important. The other subjects can be changed up here and there. Math is the toughest subject to switch around on but even that for K-2nd is doable. All that to say I totally understand being stressed out about curriculum choices. Totally been there done that especially with my oldest. Now that I'm further into my marathon I realize that a 1st grader is only a 6 year old. By the time I get to my youngest for 1st grade it will seem like a breeze. ;) Personally I like starting with basic Bible history followed by US history before jumping into ancients. There are so many excellent US history resources for early elementary. Also I feel the subject matter to be more appropriate for those ages. Either way is fine as long as you get in a couple years of US history and at least one 4 year cycle before high school I think you will be golden. :thumbup1:

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Kristina,

 

That. Was. So. Helpful. I really appreciate the response. You are right: I don't need to marry a philosophy at this moment:) But I do want to operate with an overview, since we will be homeschooling for many years to come. What is your history cycle like? I love the idea of beginning with American history...it feels so much more accessible for a first grader.

 

and yes, I have read and reread When Children Love to Learn. It is a wonderful book, and I know the CM methods would work super well for us with some tweaking and more interesting and fresh book lists.

 

Angela

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If you care about (the very large amounts) data and evidence in deciding on how best to educate your children, as in using good quality evidence-based studies, then I recommend reading both of the books below. They have been by far the most helpful for me. From my research, it seems that parts of the "classical" method are supported by the evidence, primarily the emphasis on memory work and on teaching core, content knowledge. There may be parts of CM philosophy that are also supported by the evidence. However, I don't think that any of the popular homeschool methods are completely supported by the evidence. Therefore I find it most effective to be eclectic. That is, I pick and choose different aspects of the philosophies and assemble a method which most closely matches the evidence. The Knowledge Deficit (Hirsch), Why Don't Students Like School? (Willingham)

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I've found this thread very interesting. CM was perhaps the only philosophy that I was NOT interested in initially but I recently followed a link someone posted to her original writings and was quite intrigued....it seems like the kind of thing my son would love, especially when the influence is mixed with the WTM (could never follow anything 'as is'). However, especially based on the comments people have made here, my question would be whether there are any CM inspired booklists that do incorporate modern books as much as the older books as well as offer a more global perspective? I'd really like to see booklists that include books from all cultures and not just excerpts regarding the 'uncivilized' from the western perspective.

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Welp....that about summed it up......yep....!!!

 

 

 

CM is too genteel for me. Waldorf is too artsy. The Principle Approach is too American. TWTM is too accelerated. I don't like the book list for The Robinson Curriculum. The Amish books are too farmy. But I apply all these vintage METHODS to the original Doubleday hardback What Your _ Grader Needs to Know series.

 

You can apply CM methods to any booklist. I only have the math and handwriting pdfs from Simply Charlotte Mason, but I really like them.

 

But again in answer to your question, CM is just too genteel for me. I'm a hiking boot wearing gal, with OCD tendencies. I'm no fuss and minimalist to the extreme. Sometimes CM stuff makes me want to barf. :ack2:

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There are some things I like about AO, (actually, I like some of year 1 and year 2... and then I fall away), but I will say one reason to question whether you should use it would be your ability to teach skills in context of your content subjects. Just because I know a fair amount of grammar doesn't mean I can do a good job of teaching it systematically, logically, and age appropriately in the context of other assignments. I'm a "one thing at a time" kind of person, so if I didn't have a guide, program, textbook, workbook or something to guide me then I would omit an awful lot of skill work. Maybe it's a result of my own education (every subject taught separately,) or just my own personality, but I'm not thinking about diagramming sentences when I'm reading history. So, it's not just about what fits your child the best, but also what works well for you as teacher.

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I've found this thread very interesting. CM was perhaps the only philosophy that I was NOT interested in initially but I recently followed a link someone posted to her original writings and was quite intrigued....it seems like the kind of thing my son would love, especially when the influence is mixed with the WTM (could never follow anything 'as is'). However, especially based on the comments people have made here, my question would be whether there are any CM inspired booklists that do incorporate modern books as much as the older books as well as offer a more global perspective? I'd really like to see booklists that include books from all cultures and not just excerpts regarding the 'uncivilized' from the western perspective.

 

I am not aware of any one comprehensive list of modern, cross-cultural CM-inspired books. How I wish! There have been lots of threads asking for living book selections for world history and geography though. This issue is one of the biggest reasons WCLTL is my favorite CM book. There is a discussion about how to provide a CM education in other parts of the world and it was pointed out that obviously a child should be provided with an education that is relevant to his/her own country. A child from India, for example, should not be taught exclusively or predominantly with CM's own selections because an education should be made relevant and useful for that child's own particular circumstances.

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Kristina,

 

That. Was. So. Helpful. I really appreciate the response. You are right: I don't need to marry a philosophy at this moment:) But I do want to operate with an overview, since we will be homeschooling for many years to come. What is your history cycle like? I love the idea of beginning with American history...it feels so much more accessible for a first grader.

 

and yes, I have read and reread When Children Love to Learn. It is a wonderful book, and I know the CM methods would work super well for us with some tweaking and more interesting and fresh book lists.

 

Angela

 

I did two years of American history with DS10 (with the other two kids listening and playing along too). This was for his 1st and 2nd grade years, when DD would have been considered pre-K and K. (I do not require formal school before 1st.) I never found a perfect spine to use, so I approached the subject by breaking it into periods and finding a single great book about that period to serve as the spine. I added lots of picture books and biographies. I used the WWE hardcover book as a guide for his narration and copywork, selecting passages from our reading. I added CM style music and art appreciation and study. The hands-on we did involved few paper projects and more true handicrafts. You have much to choose from in American history: quilling, embroidery, knitting, quilting, etc. We also made recipes from different eras.

 

After this, we moved into SOTW 1 with the kids in 3rd, 1st, and K. This year we have been doing SOTW 2 for 4th, 2nd, and 1st. We will do SOTW 3-4 over the next two years and then do another 2 year American history rotation.

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I've only had time to skim the responses. I had some thoughts about how AO specifically, and CM generally, has and has not been useful to me. Perhaps they will be useful to somebody else. :)

 

ETA: 0. CM, in the focus on the whole child, comes much closer than WTM to the classical ideal I had in mind: a well-developed body, mind, and spirit/emotional sense -- a balanced focus on physical health & skill, intellectual development, artistic comprehension and expression. We are head-heavy around here (DH is a scientist and I nearly was) and find the reminders to balance the head work with physical and artistic work very helpful.

 

1. I do not read the original Charlotte Mason. It just makes me feel horribly guilty. Also I have read enough to see that I substantively disagree with a largish chunk of her educational philosophy: math comes to mind; also the non-revising approach to writing. I much prefer the AO modern versions of CM's work to be honest, for thoughts on raising the children well. :leaving:

 

2. CM sites have caused me to include some wonderful elements in our curriculum which would otherwise have been neglected. They include: daily poems; Shakespeare each term or semester starting in first grade (I use picture books, not Lamb or Nesbit); daily recorder (we'll move to piano sometime); heaps of outdoor time; daily language (though we do Latin, not a modern one); the Burgess books (these seemed tedious at first, but A. enjoys them and has developed a very observant eye); Our Island Story/Viking Tales; and drawing (Milestones Academy prompted me to begin daily drawing and put me onto McIntyre's book which made it practical).

 

3. I agree with Bill that This Country of Ours is a very unpleasant history indeed. Our Island Story, however -- certainly for the first chapters -- gives an extraordinary sense for how history actually happens. When we did SOTW A. was totally unclear on what it meant for a land to be "conquered" though he noticed it happened rather frequently. After hearing Viking Tales and Our Island Story chapters he has a much better feel for what conquering actually involves, and a sense for the reality of kingdoms and aristocracy -- that kings were not omnipotent, that balances of power were constantly shifting, &c.

 

4. The central focus of CM materials on the child's character is very centering to me.

 

We are combining skills at a WTM+ level with a reasonable chunk of AO content, plus various science/history addends. This is time-consuming but the results so far are good and keep my child, who learns quickly, engaged and challenged. I'm exhausted, though!

 

ETA: I wanted to add that I am so grateful to the many people who have provided free curricula resources for Charlotte Mason homeschoolers.

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I read "When Children Love to Learn" and really liked it. But I don't care for AO's list. I looked at 1st grade and it seems either very light or overly complicated.

 

Our Island Story was probably a nice book for British children once, but....I don't see the point.....

 

Teaching history by telling stories is nice, but I don't see any context there for the Baldwin and the rest. I know young kids have issues with chronology, but eventually you have to start straightening that out, not adding to their confusion. Maybe people who have done AO have figure out how to make it work out. But I wouldn't bother to tackle it with the books and schedule given.

 

The nature studies book looks nice, but I live in Florida, so it wouldn't be useful to me. And, again, maybe someone who has used it knows better, but I think a book like that would be best as summer enrichment. I know from growing up in Ohio that nature study can be pretty limited for a good chunk of the year.

I got frustrated when every plant I looked up, wasn't in there. Like blackberries for instance, nothing obscure. Oh well.

 

I just can't read Our Island Story on a screen so I found a cheap copy of Galore Park's version and am going to read that. Myself, I mean. We'll see if I read it to my kids. However, they do sometimes pick up books and read them, so hopefully I won't have to hide it in my bedroom! All I know about Lady Jane Grey otherwise, I learned in the movie with Helena Bonham Carter. That's probably not a good thing!

 

Mater Amabilis has some Catholic ideas, as the ladies who run it are Catholic. And they use way more modern books. I think part of the reason AO is stale is because they want to use out of copyright material, which is just limiting. I didn't care for the environment on the AO list I was on once, it was very much "you must use it exactly AND parent the way we say or else!" I vastly prefer the WTM's attitude that all can and should be tweaked to fit your situation, even as they lay out their approach.

 

whether there are any CM inspired booklists that do incorporate modern books as much as the older books as well as offer a more global perspective? I'd really like to see booklists that include books from all cultures and not just excerpts regarding the 'uncivilized' from the western perspective.

I don't read the "brown people are savages" books, nor do I want all white children in Victorian garb in my kids' books.

 

I once found a list of books about children around the world and one of their criteria was that the author was from that place or had lived there for at least two years.

http://www.ala.org/alsc/compubs/booklists/growingupwrld/GrowingUpAroundWorld

 

I think there are a lot of nice books about other countries. However, I haven't seen much that's comprehensive.

 

I think the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science has some interesting books that are very specific to the Indian environment, called Small Science. http://www.hbcse.tifr.res.in/

an article about it is at

http://twas.ictp.it/publications/nl/2012-volume-24/twas-newsletter-vol-24-no-2/small-science-big-impact/at_download/file

and the math, science, and English books put out by NCERT incorporate many interesting cultural and geographic features of India

http://ncertbooks.prashanthellina.com/ or http://ncert.nic.in/ncerts/textbook/textbook.htm

These are texts, with lots of activities, not books with a narrative as one associates with "living books." I think these are interesting efforts.

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It is easier to find nice K-3 books for American History and Geography, than it is to find them for world history.

 

The grade 1 What Your _ Grader Needs to Know book focuses on early American history, basic geography and Egypt. This is a nice mix and the Egypt studies fit in nicely with the South American pyramids. And although it generally hard to find K-3 ancient history there are some nice books on Egypt and even an Inspector Gadget DVD.

 

I know what you mean about feeling lost without one list. I was all over the place before I started using NtK and have felt so steady since I adopted it. Although it's not a booklist, it a list of topics with just enough reading not to supplement unless I want to. I have a Kindle full of Yesterday's Classics ebooks and Heritage History ebooks. When I do want to supplement a history topic, I just grab a PORTION from one of the books. Not every book is racist about every topic. I take history VERY lightly. I teach it more as a story than fact. I teach geography and civics more explicitly than history. The NtK books keep me steady despite skipping all around in the literature and not even having a literature list.

 

Right now I'm covering Alexander in book 2. So I'll just read any old thing from my Kindle. If I do get to the library I'll grab something...maybe...if I feel like it. I have encyclopedias. Next week, I'll move on, and whatever got covered got covered, and if just the NtK book got read, then that's good enough. Maybe I'll prepare some Waldorf style copwork. Maybe I'll do some CM or TWTM narration. Maybe I'll just read. But it's Alexander this week and something else next week.

 

Maybe a list of topics, instead of a booklist will be better?

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I just can't read Our Island Story on a screen so I found a cheap copy of Galore Park's version and am going to read that. Myself, I mean. We'll see if I read it to my kids.

 

The problem with this book is that is less "history" than national(ist) fantasy.

 

Bill

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AO uses free books whenever they can.

 

I'm willing to buy books. Often the books I buy are better than the ones that are available free. For example, getting high quality, well written, picture books from the library about birds has worked *much* better than the Burgess Bird Book (ugh).

 

Emily

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I want so much to branch out and do our own version of CM. What stops me is that I'm not very good at reigning in the amount of books. From what I understand about CM philosophy is that you use less books, but go deeper. There are just so many good books out there for so many different topics that I have an impossible time of whittling them down to just a few. I wind up with so many books that I want us to read that we just feel rushed the entire time. Not very CM at all. :glare:

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We don't use the AO history list, but have substituted the AO history for Beautiful Feet American History. Beautiful Feet has an article discussing "Why American History?". It helped me make a decision about which way to go with history:

 

http://bfbooks.com/Is-there-a-suggested-study-sequence-I-should-follow-with-BFB

 

We read the AO Year 1 list last year and my son and I actually enjoyed most of the books and stories. We're working through Year 2 this year, but it's slow going (my fault). We also enjoy the nature study, art and composer study. We use Right Start for math, FLL for grammar and AAS for spelling. I guess you can say that we follow AO very loosely, but it works for us.

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The problem with this book is that is less "history" than national(ist) fantasy.

 

Bill

 

whoo yeah! On the other hand, AO has nicely scheduled "The Little Duke" which at least hints at the other side of the whole Bayeux Tapestry era ...

 

Also problematic is the focus on rulers. It's not really a people's history. But it has its charms ...

 

By my own standards, using the Old Testament as the literal and true history is not feasible and is vulnerable to the sort of charge you've made RE OIS. But there is history there; and there are truths, if not always the truths (as seen by such light as has been given me) that the authors/redactors intended.

 

When A. was told the story of Rosa Parks a while ago, he furiously commented that he would kill anyone who treated another person so badly -- this is a very out-of-character statement, BTW. But having recently read the OIS account of Boadicea, his understanding of vengeance and his valuation of it have been considerably adjusted. So I find, again at least in the early-ish chapters, enough truth of various kinds in OIS to be keep us reading & discussing.

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argh -- I've posted twice and both times ignored the OP! Sorry!

 

Quickly, since I need to get to bed:

 

Reasons not to follow CM:

1. Although she had a much better handle on educating children than SWB (she spent a career doing it, and with a group wild phenotypes at that :) ) there is a lot about child development that she didn't know. Certainly her attitudes toward the body were Victorian.

2. The woman was not an excellent math teacher, nor did she have a good sense of the value of maths education. She really seems to have focused on arithmetic and not patterns; mathematics in nature; or mathematics in religion, ie infinity, nothingness, all that stuff.

3. I find her writing to be opaque and poorly organized. This speaks, to me, poorly of her skill to teach writing.

4. I am convinced that her method, as she taught it, requires very well-educated and trained teachers. It is not amenable to easy implementation by a homeschooler even of advanced education unless the person is specifically trained (or has studied) the elements of classical education -- formal grammar, geography, history, literature, &c. There seems to have been much more to, say, the history teaching in her schools than reading aloud, and having narrated back, passages from living books.

**** I am not saying that a mother can't get a fine result with a CM curriculum!!!! ***

 

 

Reasons not to follow AO:

1. Really, a chunk of the materials are horrifyingly bigoted. I believe that Madam How & Lady Why includes a section on why people in earthquake-prone areas deserve to die in earthquakes, and ditto for those near volcanoes. I do not believe the author had information on the richness of volcanic ash for growing crops, or also the infertile nature of rainforest/jungle soil (nearly all the available nutrients are quite shallow and being used by the jungle life -- the soil itself is quickly depleted by agriculture) or on the extremely competitive nature of human habitation. But still. It is very ugly. And there's the TCOO stuff, and the scheduling of d'Aulaire's George Washington (images of happy slaves, I gather -- I don't own it) as well as their Leif Ericsson (which I did own, and found the portrayal of American natives to be unacceptable to me).

**** I am not saying that the AO Advisory is bigoted. I believe they are doing their best, and that they have their own ways of dealing with these things. *******

2. A seriously Latin-West-Centered curriculum. And fairly Protestant of course.

3. The writing is insufficient for my goals.

4. Also, formal grammar and spelling are underemphasized.

5. If we stuck to AO's literature beliefs A. would hate reading. It was 3rd Grade Detectives, Magic Treehouse, and Captain Underpants that got him hooked.

6. In the upper levels, not sufficient analysis I believe. I don't think reading and narrating (even in written form) from the great books is necessarily sufficient for my educational goals.

 

 

Please note, this is not a complaint about AO, for which I am grateful and whose materials I use. The AO Advisory has made extraordinary efforts to provide a truly excellent classical education, one focused on developing fine persons, as inexpensively as possible. I do disagree with the worldview of the founders, but the AO forum has been only respectful and kind to my own perspectives. The AO Advisory consists of very fine and generous persons, and given how little time I myself have available I have no idea how they accomplish so much work on their curriculum -- they are constantly tweaking and improving it.

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It is easier to find nice K-3 books for American History and Geography, than it is to find them for world history.

 

The grade 1 What Your _ Grader Needs to Know book focuses on early American history, basic geography and Egypt. This is a nice mix and the Egypt studies fit in nicely with the South American pyramids. And although it generally hard to find K-3 ancient history there are some nice books on Egypt and even an Inspector Gadget DVD.

 

I know what you mean about feeling lost without one list. I was all over the place before I started using NtK and have felt so steady since I adopted it. Although it's not a booklist, it a list of topics with just enough reading not to supplement unless I want to. I have a Kindle full of Yesterday's Classics ebooks and Heritage History ebooks. When I do want to supplement a history topic, I just grab a PORTION from one of the books. Not every book is racist about every topic. I take history VERY lightly. I teach it more as a story than fact. I teach geography and civics more explicitly than history. The NtK books keep me steady despite skipping all around in the literature and not even having a literature list.

 

Right now I'm covering Alexander in book 2. So I'll just read any old thing from my Kindle. If I do get to the library I'll grab something...maybe...if I feel like it. I have encyclopedias. Next week, I'll move on, and whatever got covered got covered, and if just the NtK book got read, then that's good enough. Maybe I'll prepare some Waldorf style copwork. Maybe I'll do some CM or TWTM narration. Maybe I'll just read. But it's Alexander this week and something else next week.

 

Maybe a list of topics, instead of a booklist will be better?

 

I NEED MORE!!!! Please post more of your rec.s. These links are PRICELESS!!!!!

Thanks Hunter!!! Pretty Please ...post more...or PM me.

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The main thing I dislike about CM is the clearly articulated assumption that one has a nanny, and even more, that the mother should model herself after a nanny. I have gotten this feeling many times when reading her original works, and probably posted about it, but this I reject utterly.

 

I am in complete agreement with serendipitous journey about math. I think I find guidance from the overarching ideas and values, and less in her specifics. I ignore lots of her details, many of which seem weird to me or irrelevant (airing out the bedding, wearing wool, or even that funny quote I found in the PNEU Review about the benefits of various amusing foods).

 

But even AO and other CM people who tell us we must follow everything she says, part ways with her. For example, she believed in evolution. There are postings that if she knew what we know now, she wouldn't believe that, but I think this is rather offensive. Childlight USA has an article somewhere in one of their Review publications, which apparently caused some controversy, but they seemed fine with evolution, it's just one example.

 

The problem with this book is that is less "history" than national(ist) fantasy.

 

Bill

I figured as much. Still, might be worth reading.

 

Geraldine McCaughrean's Britannia has lots of interesting stories.

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