Similarities Between the Classical & Charlotte Mason Methods

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Similarities Between the Classical & Charlotte Mason Methods - Purists on both sides cringe at the thought of combining philosophies, nevertheless, let's look at how a healthy combination can benefit your homeschool.

Welcome to day 3 of our Classical Charlotte Mason series.

On days one and two we discussed the principles and benefits of a Classical Education, as well those of a Charlotte Mason education. If you missed either post, please go back and read them here, before we discuss some similarities, and why combining these methods works. I know there are purists on both sides of the spectrum, that would cringe at the thought of combining these philosophies, nevertheless, let’s take a look at how a healthy combination of the two can benefit your homeschool. A quick disclaimer; I’m no expert in either philosophy, but I have successfully combined the principles of both in our homeschool for the last 4 years.

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A Marriage of Two Philosophies

Let’s take a closer look at 4 of the essential principles of classical education from day 1, and how they intertwine with Charlotte Mason principles.

Repetitio Mater Memoriae

Many Charlotte Mason purists dislike the memorization method of classical education, however Dr. Christopher Perrin points out that repetition and memorization does not necessarily come in the verbal recitation of facts. The repetition can be applied in different formats, much like narration, copy work and dictation would are used in the Charlotte Mason method.

Embodied Learning

In classical education we look at education as formation, children are encouraged to engage their minds and senses in the learning process. Mason believed children learned from real experiences, in the real world. Charlotte Mason’s principle number 12 says “We train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything”. Note that Charlotte Mason’s 12th principle (above) could also apply to teaching “much not many”, or Classical Education’s principle number 1.

Wonder and Curiosity

Classical education highly focuses on the love of truth, goodness and beauty, as well as in cultivating a spirit of inquiry. Wonder leads to worship, worship leads to wisdom, wisdom comes from God, the author of truth, goodness and beauty. Click To Tweet Mason taught that nature study laid the foundation for formal science, and that it it was profitable for obtaining knowledge of God’s creation by means of close observation.

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Educational Virtues

Classical education works on building the student’s character, and teaches that the virtuous student will display love, humility, courage, discipline and consistency. Charlotte Mason teaches that education is a discipline, and that habits whether those of mind and body, are formed definitely and thoughtfully. In principles 17 and 18, (the way of the will & the way of reason) Mason also talks about teaching children the difference between what they want, to do but it’s not right, and what they will do, as well as not to rely too much on their own reasoning, therefore displaying humility.

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How the Classical & Charlotte Mason Methods Work

I don’t intend to claim the above principles are identical. My attempt is to merely bring some similarities into light, to shed some understanding how these philosophies can work well together. Both methods strive to provide a well rounded education, and to educate the whole child, both place a high importance on treating the child with respect, as a person created by God. Both methods place God at the center, because all knowledge comes from him. The Classical education and Charlotte Mason methods promote the use of good literature.

Resources for a Classical Charlotte Mason Education

Even though the amount of homeschools who successfully blend these methods is high, most articles and forums on the web tend to focus on the differences, rather than the similarities. If you’re looking for a community (or two) that welcomes a combination of both, check out the following groups on Facebook. Charlotte Mason and Classical Conversations Classical / Charlotte Mason / Eclectic Homeschoolers Extraordinaire

Have you considered, or do you currently combine these methods? What does it look like in your homeschool?

Join me tomorrow, as I share our Classical & Charlotte Mason weekly schedule, and don’t miss the rest of the Classical Charlotte Mason Homeschooling series. Be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a couple of our favorite resources.

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