I usually describe our homeschooling style in one of two ways, either “classically eclectic, slightly Charlotte Mason” or “classically eclectic with a Charlotte Mason twist.” Either way, it’s clear that our major influence is classical; our minor is Charlotte Mason. Sometimes our Charlotte Mason twist is so slight that I don’t recognize it. Or maybe it’s that our Charlotte Mason-ness is manifested in such natural ways that I sometimes don’t notice it.
Last week I caught one unexpected glimpse of how the Charlotte Mason style looks in our homeschool. We’ve had some beautiful weather and, every chance they get, my younger two are outside. Their two favorite activities, of late, have been collecting caterpillars and working on their “hide-out.”
The hide-out used to be a wooden play structure (a.k.a. glorified swing set). I guess, technically, it’s still a wooden play structure, but it looks a lot different than it did the day we brought it home. After the initial fun had worn off and no one was really interested in swinging much anymore, the play set began to get a face-lift.
First, Brian helped Josh add on a pretty elaborate new wooden clubhouse. Then, Josh began dissecting the remainder of the play structure and rebuilding it with the pieces he’d removed. He’s built an entire new level, where he and Megan like to hang out, just talking and playing. They also love taking their math and handwriting workbooks out there to complete when the weather is nice. They’ve carried an old plastic table up into the clubhouse part, covered it with a blanket, and created their new favorite place to eat lunch.
And, they could care less about TV or video games as long as there’s still a flicker of light outside. I think that may be just the sort of thing Ms. Mason had in mind with the idea of free afternoons.
I can see why.