Hi Cindy! Thank you for your e-zine. I just received it yesterday and it is just what I needed. Truly this is a blessing to read and I haven’t been able to put it down. I have 4 blessed children 8,6,3 and 1 1/2 yrs old. I really want to do as Charlotte Mason did but am not quite sure how to get started. So far all I have done is textbooks and know in my heart of hearts that I want more for my children than bringing school to our home. I have purchased A Charlotte Mason Primer and am looking forward to learning about how I can make our homeschool life better. I am excited to read your book and articles. Thank you for taking time to publish this e-zine. It will be a place to come and get revived and encouraged. I wonder if you will be coming out our way some day at our Mache conference here in Minnesota? Anyway I thank you for the hard work and time you give this ministry. Thank you again, Kelly
Thanks a million for your email! It is always precious to know that HSEW is helping. I really pray hard about what topics to share and what to say with each and every article. Thanks for letting me know more specifically what you enjoy and what you are needing. DO keep in touch to let me know what helps you the most. 🙂
Real quick, I would like to give you some QUICK help in getting started with the Charlotte Mason approach. As you will notice, over time you will get very, very specific help on just about anything you will face while you homeschool. Just keep reading, keep checking our blog, keep tuning into Mom-to-Mom Radio Show, and keep joining us for our Talk-a-Latte chats and seminars. You may not need what you read or hear that day, but you will have it as a treasure when you face that need. I set aside a time each week to learn and study something new. That is not related to homeschooling anymore (my children are now graduated). It is how I keep growing as a person. Our children need to see that. Learning is not just for school…a test…or to get into college. It is for a full life!
Ok! Back to your question…
How do you get started with Charlotte Mason’s approach?
First, I think you are on the right track. My book, A Charlotte Mason Primer was written to help a mom dig into the book over the weekend and get a jumpstart on the Approach for Monday morning. It gives you a “picture” of how her approach looks when you apply it to every subject that you will teach.
Now, a warning! Don’t feel like you have to teach EVERYTHING CM style in one day. I lived that book. I began the Charlotte Mason approach by one concept at a time. I let it get deep within me. You know, Kelly, I think that was why I never looked back. I was seeing fruit before I could even figure out the next thing.
For example, the first thing that I brought into my homeschool was swapping textbooks for real books. The kids LOVED them soooo much that we saw immediate fruit. We dug deep. We EXPERIENCED the lives of great men and women. We learned from those who thought SNAKES were so intriguing that they would write an entire book all about snakes!!! Think about that for a moment…someone loved the topic enough to dig for years and years to get the information for their book. They were so passionate about snakes that they spent time studying…observing…and now sharing all about them. We don’t have to get out there and find snakes to learn this on our own. We also don’t have to memorize a list of facts about them. Instead, we can dig into a book, written by a person who LOVES that topic so much that he/she spends every minute learning more about that topic. Priceless!
It did not take long to see the passion imparted to my children. I knew it was working. I could see the fruit. As we settled in and got OUR WAY of bringing real books into our home and homeschool, I was then ready to work on the next thing that needed a breath of life. I looked for how she did it. Then, implemented that next thing. On and on until we had a home/homeschool that used the great ideas that I believe God wanted for me to use.
I view Charlotte Mason as a Titus Two mentor. She taught me how to teach my children.
You are on the right track. Get a vision for where you are going. Then, decide what ONE THING could help the most. Implement it. As you get it down, then add the next and next. Soon, you will have your homeschool where you want it. You are going in the right direction.
Secondly, take what works, scrap the rest! I don’t think it would help you very much if I didn’t bring this to your attention. There are things that I read in Charlotte Mason’s books that I did not believe in or that I didn’t think would work in our family. I scrapped them. There was SO MUCH good stuff there. Those things were my focus. It does not matter who you learn from, even me, there are going to be things that you do not like or that you want to do differently. FEEL FREE to do that!! Take what works, scrap the rest! I tell you this because I see sooo many moms who are introduced to one approach and simply love it, then they find something that bothers them or does not work and they throw out the entire approach. They wonder around looking for something else to work and do the same thing over and over. There is not a consistency in their approach or teaching. Kelly, I want to see you rock-solid. Never feel like you have to choose between methods or approaches. Instead, use what works for your family. BUILD your homeschool like you would your home–one step at a time, built to last!
Finally, keep it all simple and easy! Don’t let finding the approach or implementing the approach get heavy, encumbersome, or pressing. Remember Matthew 11: 28-30. We need to learn from Jesus. I love that when I study His life here on earth, I see His focus through the way He lived each day. HE LIVED. He focused on RELATIONSHIPS. No one could put Him in a box! Kelly, you know how blessed you are with your children. They are at very, very FUN ages. Demanding ages, but FUN ages! If there is one thing that would want to say if we were face-to-face, it would be to LIVE. Literally, PONDER things all along the way. What I mean by that is to stop and enjoy. Tune in. Soak it all in. Scripture tells us that Mary, the mother of Jesus, pondered the things she saw and experienced. On this side of homeschooling, after all of the books have been closed, the diplomas have sealed that season of our lives, and my days are very, very different, I love and treasure the years of homeschooling. I can’t tell you that I love and treasure the days that I was stressed out and worried that I was messing the kids up and that they would never get it! (ha!) I regret my lack of vision on those days! But, I treasure it all–
…Matthew struggling with writing–pressing so hard and on the verge of tears because it meant so much!
…Pressing through those math lessons-BUT! FINALLY GETTING IT! 🙂
…The millions of questions about things I did NOT know!
…The messy writing.
…Elisabeth’s “I CAN DO IT MYSELF” attitude.
Now, we have conquered! We have completed. The days are all over. We don’t go that way again. The treasures today are our memories. Praise God we have years and years and years of precious memories! So, beloved friend, LIVE. ENJOY. LOVE. You have a lavish blessing before you. God has unleashed the floodgates for a blessing that you will cherish forever. Keep everything simple and easy so you can enjoy your little ones. If things start pressing and pushing, evaluate what is going on. If it is fear, snuggle up close to God and get His vision. If it is comparison to others, pull back and put your eyes on YOUR CHILD, get to know them, move forward bit-by-bit with what THEY NEED each day, and let the world go by…they WILL get there! If you need more help, well, you have a friend here! 🙂
I am SO excited for you! I just know that this year is going to be a blast for you. Stick with our ezines. Stop by my blog regularly. Join into our chats an seminars. We will go on this journey together!
Oh! Speaking of all of that…you asked about whether I will be in your area or at your conference. Good news and bad news. First, the bad (I always like to end on a good note! ha!). During this season of my life, I am not traveling to events. My son is in the Army and is stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC. Every time I get the opportunity, I steal away to see him. Also, he has taken every opportunity he can to come home. Army probably says it all. We never know when those special moments are. So, I have changed how we do things, which brings me to the GOOD NEWS! 🙂 We CAN come to you! We offer online chats and seminars. You can tune in live from your own home while I share from my home OR all the way in NC. 😉 This works soooo much better for us. Plus, we record everything so you can download the audios to listen to over and over and over. I love being live, but this is truly an experience that I LOVE! Give it a try!
Just a quick note! We have had THREE Charlotte Mason seminars online through Talk-a-Latte. Of course, we are very CM friendly, so even the others are very good if you want to “flesh-out” the approach. But, you may want to grab the set of all three seminars (they are AMAZING!). Here is the link (just scroll to the bottom and look for the $99.95 special!): http://www.cindyrushton.com/CharlotteMason21stCentury.html
Well, I hope that this helps you! If not, PLEASE do ask more questions. I am here! You are not alone in this journey. I am honored to be there along this journey with you.
Love ya tons!
PS! Did you see the download a while back in Homeschooling the Easy Way Ezine? It was called a Jumpstart on the Charlotte Mason Approach. Here is the link in case you missed it! 🙂 ENJOY!