Home Schooling book review: A Charlotte Mason Education

Home Schooling book review: A Charlotte Mason Education

Since I started to read homeschooling blogs I’ve begun coming across the name Charlotte Mason quite a bit. The first few mentions didn’t grab me. I didn’t have a great interest in finding out more. But finally my curiosity began to be piqued. This was one of the first books I found that dealt directly with her philosophy of education, though I realized in retrospect that Laura Berquist’s Designing your Own Classical Curriculum is influenced by Miss Mason’s philosophy.

I checked out a Charlotte Mason book from the library, but in the ninth month fog my brain couldn’t process it (I’m sure things won’t be much better now or for a little while as I’m still in the new baby sleep deprivation, and recovering from surgery, brain not working to top capacity). The language is too nineteenth century and the thoughts too dense. Perhaps I’ll give her a go later, but for now I’m having much better luck reading other people’s summaries and interpretations of her work.

That said, I really liked this book, A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison and it’s made me much more interested in Charlotte Mason as a source for home schooling ideas. This little book is a very managable size. I read the bulk of it in the hospital on the Thursday Isabella was born as I was waiting out my eight hours until the surgery. It will definitely go on my to-buy list (which is getting quite long!)

Subtitled A Home Schooling How-To Manual, that’s a pretty good description of the book’s style. After a brief bio of Mason and an introduction to the basic method, the book is organized by subject area. Levison describes briefly how each subject is approached and gives some suggestions for resources. Very easy to read, easy to understand. A good reference and quite friendly.

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  • Actually, Isabella is pretty good about night sleeping. We’ve generally been getting two solid blocks of sleep (3-5 hours) between midnight and 10 am. Which suits me pretty well since I was generally going to bed anywhere between midnight and two and sleeping until 9 or 10 before she was born.

    I don’t mind the middle of the night feedings so much, it’s the late evening early night hours when I really just want to lie down. The hardest part is her fussy period that usually happens somewhere between dinner and midnight. She cries and cries and it seems like nothing comforts her.

    Of course, everything could change, I know. But so far I think we’re pretty lucky.

    Thanks for the prayers.

  • Melanie, I could have written word-for-word what you are feeling right now. The lack of sleep is hard.

    Has anyone mentioned to you that babies are nocturnal? It’s the secret no one wants to mention to new moms, but babies like to be awake in the wee hours of the morning. At least mine and my sister’s (Fortenberry) do. Once we got that through our head, we adjusted OUR schedules and planned to be up during the night…movies, snacks, good book in the living room. And grab sleep other times. It’s not foolproof…babies and adult sleep rhythms are SOO opposite!

    My prayers are with you and Dom, especially in his job search. I can’t imagine the stress that is bringing.

  • Reading your post reminded me of nursing my first-born daughter, (now in medical school) so long ago.

    At the time, a wise woman and mentor of mine reminded me to �nurse first and ask questions later,� whenever she was fussy. �Even when I just finished feeding her, burping her, and changing her,� I asked?  �Yes!�

    Babies nurse for different reasons, sometimes for hunger, sometimes for comfort, and sometimes simply to hear their mother�s soothing heartbeat, or voice, or smell her reassuring fragrance.

    Many times my babies just needed to be �topped off� with a few relaxing suckles on the breast before drifting into a deep sleep.  I often thought of my breast milk as liquid love.

    Responding in love to my baby�s cry no matter what time of the day or night taught me another dimension to self-giving, self-donating love.

    Motherhood is truly an amazing vocation.