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A Charlotte Mason Companion
by Karen Andreola

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A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal
Reflections on The Gentle
Art of Learning

Karen Andreola / Charlotte Mason Research / 1998
I began homeschooling partly because I wanted a different learning experience for my children than what was offered in schools. I longed for a Christian teaching approach that aimed at reaching the heart of my children—an approach that safeguarded their curiosity, warmed up their imagination, satisfied their need for play and outdoor activity, and provided them opportunities for character development. "This is it!" I said as I read what had to say about education. "This is what I want for my children."
With newfound courage and excitement, I put aside those things Charlotte declared detrimental:
  1. dry textbooks (which dull the mind);
  2. prizes and grades (which stimulate fragments of information without a train of thought);
  3. too many worksheets (which require fragments of information without a train of thought); and
  4. hour-long lessons and homework (what drudgery and inefficiency!).

I replaced these with intellectually nourishing "living books" by the best authors, narration (a child's telling in his own works—oral or written), and shorter lessons. We've made time for nature observation, art and music appreciation, and hospitality.
With Charlotte's advice, I've tried to run my little school on good habits. I was happy to discover that the use of good habits provides necessary discipline. Shorter lessons have enabled my students, when young, to pay attention, concentrate, and do their best. Living books have enhanced the love of knowledge in our home. Therefore, push and shove are absent motivations in this gentle art of learning.
If this sounds like the kind of education you envision for your home school, if you would like to be the master of your curriculum—not a slave to it—you will find support and encouragement in my book, A Charlotte Mason Companion. May your educational goals be met and your dreams come true in your precious family.

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Homeschool Highlights provides homeschooling resources for home schooling parents and students. This site is hosted by Dean and Karen Andreola, noted authors who brought to light the works of Charlotte Mason. They also review "living books" and homeschool curriculum materials for Rainbow Resource Center.

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