When my husband and I sat down and actually discussed our plans
to home school our son, the first thing we attempted to clarify
was our home schooling goal. It is vitally important that husbands
and wives are united in their desires to home school their children.
A divided kingdom will not stand neither will a divided home school.
In our home, education has always been vitally important. My
husband is highly educated and spends a great deal of time in
self-education (he reads voraciously). He is extremely knowledgeable
in current events. I, in turn, also consider myself to be well-educated.
I studied Humanities with an emphasis in European Studies and
English Literature. I also have an associate degree in Art and
Our number one goal was to teach our son to THINK, to
be ARTICULATE, WELL-READ, and able to converse on any range
of subjects in an INTELLECTUAL and THOUGHTFUL manner.
Moreover, our desire is to see him develop the full-potential
of his God-given abilities. We believe that our child is a GIFT
from GOD and that He has a unique plan set out for him.
It is our job to see that he is given the tools necessary to allow
the SPIRIT of GOD to move within him and create within
him a desire, first and foremost, to seek the Lord, and secondly
to serve Him in whatever capacity the Lord desires.
Our second decision really was a matter of practicality. The
number one concern of my husband was how much time would be involved
in home schooling our son. Our business as I mentioned before
had grown to the point where I was required to spend roughly 3/4
time working at the computer. Although I am at home, I am still
needed to supervise design work, handle customer support issues,
and answer client emails and phone calls. Since I would be the
primary teacher, my skill at organization and planning (especially
time management) would be tested daily. My husband assists with
DS' schooling, mostly as listener and cheerleader. He is
supportive of my choice in curriculum and regularly is involved in
decision-making as well as keeping our son focused and on task.
In my early pursuit of home schooling information I quickly observed
that there were many roads to educational success at home. Not
all, however, are easy. Some require substantial planning, some
required intense teaching by the parent. I knew that our home
school would function differently than most since I would not
be able to teach 'full-time' and would require DS to be responsible
for a great deal of self-learning. We believe that education is
a lifelong pursuit and that it doesn't stop when you graduate
from high school or college. As Charlotte Mason states "Education
is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life." As such, self-learning
would be a vital necessity to our home school.
Charlotte Mason's method is all about self-learning. It teaches
children how to love learning and how to desire to learn on their
own. Some families believe Charlotte Mason's methods
are another form of 'unschooling' ("delight
directed" is another name but basically this method advocates
allowing the child to study what they desire to learn and not use
a pre-programmed curriculum.) After reading about CM
and her methods, it is clear that she is not advocating "unschooling."
She did believe that children must take responsibility for their
own learning but that the parent/teacher still played a vital role
in setting the curriculum up (preparing a literary
a Charlotte Mason home school is not easy and it does require
substantial preparation on the part of the parent. In the early
years (K-3) it also relies heavily upon the parent to read to
the child and instruct them in basic skills such as phonics and
math. However, as the child matures and their understanding of
complex subjects develops, the parent becomes less the teacher
and more the guide. Children in 4-6 grades are expected to complete
their studies on their own with help and gentle instruction from
the parent only. Jr. and Sr. high students would be responsible
for their own course of study and the parent would serve as advisor
as well as facilitator for discussion and debate.
Since Ambleside Online endeavors to "be as close as possible
to the curriculum that Charlotte Mason used in her own PNEU schools"
it was an easy choice to start our home school using this free
program. We have chosen to use Ambleside for our primary curriculum and so
far it has proven to be an excellent choice. Our son
enjoys the books and likes schooling the CM-way.
**Getting Started with Ambleside Online
Copyright 1998-2010. Carol Hepburn.