I've also found a wealth of information at Simply Charlotte Mason and Ambleside Online.
So far, here's what I like about the Charlotte Mason method:
- There is an emphasis on nature studies. My years as an outdoor educator showed me the value of getting kids outside and looking at nature. So this one is a no-brainer for me.
- It is based on quality literature rather than textbooks. I was not very impressed with the choppily written textbooks I was required to use in the classroom. Using good books is essential to instilling a love of reading. Using sub-par books is a great way to kill that love.
- It is age-appropriate, yet challenging. There is no sense of hurriedness with Charlotte Mason. Quite the opposite in fact. Learning is something to wallow and soak in, rather than rush through.
- It is flexible and adaptable. There is no "official curriculum" for doing Charlotte Mason. It is a method that can be applied to a variety of educational programs.
- Short lessons. This is a good thing. My daughter has the uncanny ability to stretch things out to eternity!
- It values development of life skills and handicrafts. I'm a crafty person and love making things. I have already started to introduce my daughter to some of these practical skills that are becoming lost arts.
Things I'm not so thrilled about
- Getting my daughter to do narration. This probably isn't a bad thing, just something that will take a little practice and a persuasion.
- Poetry. Argh! I'm intimidated, okay?!
- Labor Intensive (lots of read-alouds). This year we've been fitting school nicely into little brother's and sister's nap times. I really don't want to change that a lot for next year. It's not that I wouldn't mind, but little brother would have some definite opinions about the matter. I'm sure!
- Segmentedness. This is a big one for me. I love the unit studies we've been doing. I love how we're able to integrate most areas of study together. Although realistically, we still do separate math and phonics lessons. And our artist studies haven't been connected either. I would love to find a way to do a Charlotte Mason style theme unit. I'd LOVE advice from anyone who has done this.
I would love any feedback from all you Charlotte Mason-ites out there. Have you experienced any of the concerns I've mentioned? Is my list of positives accurate? Tell me what I've missed. I'd love to hear from you!