Our Charlotte Mason-ness

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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.

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19 Comments

  1. What precious memories. I love when spontaneous projects like that appear.

    I think those are my “me-time” moments, just a couple seconds to sigh and realize that I am right where I want to be.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Erin

  2. we have a wooden play structure that I have always wished would get more use, we may need to borrow the face lift idea, I can’t wait to see what the children come up with.

  3. Yep thats what its all about. I have long yearned for a treefort for my son but so far it hasnt happened. Soon he will be old enough to make his own. I cant wait. I whiled away many happy hours as a kid, perched high in a tree fort. My hats off to your kids.

  4. We are starting homeschooling next school year and that is exactly what I am hoping the afternoons bring. The weather is finally getting nice here and the kids have been outside afterschool playing in the creek behind our house. It seems they just get going when it is time to come in for dinner. They need more time to be unstructured.

  5. Charlotte Mason is a big part of our homeschool and I love how Karen Andreola put it as the “Gentle Art of Learning”.

  6. I guess I would describe our homeschooling the same way. I have been intrigued by CM for a while, but always too unsure of myself to try it.

    I’m slowly dipping my toes in, though. We have started doing her dictation exercises instead of a formal language textbook.

  7. That’s the way to do it! How wonderful to have a yard where your kids can just “be” and you don’t have to worry about their safety. I’m not jealous. OK, maybe a little ;-).

  8. How wonderful!!! My girls are trying to save all of the caterpillars in our yard.

    I am learning that I like Charlotte Mason more and more.

  9. Great post! I think CM ways can be so natural and common sense, that we don’t even realize we are doing what she recommended. 🙂

  10. What fun.Jackson has a fort they built up in the tree and he plays for hours out there. CM would be pleased, I am sure.

  11. I want a playset/fort/fun place like that myself! I love that they take their workbooks out there sometimes, too. Very CM-ish!

    (And have you changed your header recently or did I just not pay attention. I like it, either way. ♥)

  12. Yes, Jamie, it’s new. I love it! Darcy, at Graphically Designing, made it for me a week or two ago.

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