“A Charlotte Mason Companion” by Karen Andreola is another wonderful read. Especially while your children are young and before you start homeschooling. Charlotte Mason was a teacher in London in the mid 1800’s. She taught future teachers how to teach. In 1886 she wrote “Home Education“.
She talks of “living books” – narration, no homework, no grades, short lessons, free afternoons, few lectures, ideas, culture, and education as a discipline.
I really like her idea of living books. Textbooks can be so dry and boring. They just suck all of the inspiration and imagination right out of the child. Living books, however, seem to come alive. They engage the reader and keep the subject interesting and the student wanting more.
Her idea of narration falls in line with “The Well Trained Mind“. Instead of just regurgitating facts the students are taught to think for themselves. What better way to learn something than to have to re-tell the story. I think that makes perfect sense.
She encourages self-discipline with her students. This is a definite plus to homeschooling. As the children get older they become more self-directed. They become more responsible for managing there time. That in and of itself is a valued skill in today’s world.
Her ideas for teaching science are also wonderful. She recommends each child keep a nature journal. And she encourages much time spent in the great outdoors. How wonderful that is for little minds!
Speaking of nature journals there is an excellent one which you really should look into. It’s called “My Nature Journal” written and illustrated by Adrienne Olmstead. Both of my girls have this book and they just love using it! It offers adventures into the woodlands, the meadows, ponds and streams, the seashore, and the twilight. As an example, one of the topics is animal tracks. It describes and gives pictures of different types of animal tracks and has several pages to sketch the tracks the child will find when on her search.
I found it useful to put together a journal kit. I bought zippered pencil pouches and filled them with regular pencils, colored pencils, a pencil sharpener, a good eraser, a hand-held magnifier, a magnifying box, and a measuring tape. Put this, the journal, a bottle of water and a snack into a backpack (one for each child) and you are ready for an afternoon of fun!
Check out the teaching of Charlotte Mason. You will be truly inspired.