Friday, April 17, 2009

Charlotte Mason Q&A

I'd like to thank my friend, Jody, for asking me her sincere questions about Charlotte Mason's educational philosophy.

"What is the point of CM approach?"
To create a love of learning in the child.

"Does it truly take 6 hours of outdoor time a day to love the Creator?"
No, I definitely don't think 6 hours is required to love the Creator of the nature we're studying. And while I think she was being quite idealistic in even recommending that much time, I don't think her point was that quantity of outdoor time = more understanding, more love, or more academic knowledge.
However, having said that I take that recommendation (to spend that much time outdoors) with a grain of salt, I do find much value in nature study. The point of nature study is to learn science in a real, concrete way. Not reading in a textbook about botony, zoology, or astrology, but seeing and touching and experiencing science in nature. Nature study is how science is done in the elementary years.

"What is the point of all that narration?! "

First of all, narration isn't meant for every single subject and it is accomplished in many differerent ways (telling the story back, acting out the play, drawing the animal I'm reading about, etc.) Each child (at this age) spends about 5-10 minutes total narrating each day. Narration is composition, learned orally before it is learned in writing. Children learn to express their ideas orally first by telling back what they have learned. Then later, when they need to learn how to write an essay, they only have to write out what they have already learned to express and organize. In schools, children have to learn to write out their thoughts before they even know how to organize them. CM figured out that it works better the other way around. I think that's genius.


Stacy said...

Thank you!! Very well written. This post will definitely be one I send people to again and again as I am asked to explain certain things about CM, and need to do so in a minute or less sometimes :)

I hope you will do more "CM FAQ" on here :)

Jamie said...

Great post! But remember, outdoor time isn't just about nature study. It also stimulates imagination, coordination, and gross motor skills. It is great for the brain. Literally. Being idle causes the brain to be stagnant.
CM seems overwhelming at first, but I've come to realize that in training my children CM style, my chores are done faster and I have lots of time to watch them learn AND enjoy the outdoors.

Ginger said...

Thanks for the reminder, Jamie. :)

Angela Kirsch said...

Hey, Ginger! Narration's point isn't oral compostion, that's the perk. The point is to form mental paths, to concrete the memory of what they just heard or read so that they learned it, not just heard or read. :)

Narration can take place immediately, or at the dinner table for daddy, or on the phone to Gramma--just not too many hours from hearing the information, and then the child has actually learned it and processed it, not just took it in to perhaps be lost.

That's what I believe anyway! :D


Ginger said...

Narration is oral composition, at least in the early years. But I do agree that concreting memories is what it achieves.
Good point about when narration can take place. :)

Kelly said...

Wow, that was clearly the most helpful description of narration I've read.