I have read so many parents who insist that homeschooling is a bad word because it makes it sound as though all we do is School at home. The methods we all use are more diverse and tailored to the child than that, they cry and they insist we don’t spend all day around the table with workbooks and sheets.
It has been creeping up on me that we are becoming more and more schoolish in the way things are going. What would Charlotte Mason think if she saw us? I don’t know but I don’t think she would be too appalled. We have moved to more workbook type things, but even so they are well written workbooks and there is still daily time for some living books. It’s just that the books are now more just for reading rather than as jumping off points for all kinds of narration.
We’ve got more into the Seton and Critical Thinking books, which are essentially workbooks. However there’s a definate sense of Miss Mason in the way the Seton books are set out, so it doesn’t seem too far removed from her living books approach. I’ve also just invested in a good Greek set and have an eye on the Latin as well, once we’ve done the bulk of Mr. Linney’s book.
I don’t want to lose the sense of education being an “atomosphere” or a “gentle art,” but there is something reasurring about knowing someone has done the work of setting out coherant lessons even when I am incoherant, and has judged the right level even when I am at a loss.
I have come across parents who, when they are ill either send their children to school or let them watch Discovery or National Geographic and call that education. I am tempted to both of these at times but the way I avoid it is to let them do workbooks. It might not be the very best education I could give them, but it’s a still a lot better than some other options. To be fair to those who have produced the books, the ones I have bought, are written to a high standard. It’s just not as gentle as a purely CM approach, and perhaps not quite as interesting.
But there’s still plenty of the spirit of awe and discovery from Charlotte Mason in our lives, which they love and so do I.