Learning increasingly more about Charlotte Mason and her teaching ideals has made me realize how much I was not doing “right”. When we started homeschooling we were more eclectic in approach and style. So, when one of my cousins told me about Ambleside Online (AO) a little before we started it was a welcome relief to have a ready made curriculum. The appeal was that mostly everything could be accessed for free online or located at the library, which met with our meager budget very well. Her son was the beneficiary of the education which he received from his mom while they were stationed overseas and when they came stateside he was enrolled in public school where he tested two grade levels ahead! Needless to say AO came highly recommended.
Not being my first time hearing about the Charlotte Mason Method, I dove in not realizing I didn’t know enough to do the book lists justice. AO had all of Charlotte Mason’s writings, which my husband and I attempted to read, yet the language was more archaic than we were expecting.
Able to comprehend? Yes, but not after a bit of work. After long days of working and teaching, tackling her books was slow going and became a battle. Actually a very short battle that ended in our defeat. I would eventually try again only to get too bogged down with everyday life to go farther than I made it before.
You may laugh when you find out that I was, in fact, making it harder on myself when it didn’t need to be. Because, even though I wanted to read the original works, on the Ambleside Online website there was a modern translation of the very book I tried so hard to read. One thing I picked up from studying science and doing all manner of research all these years has been a paranoia of non-original material and I wanted to be sure that I was getting the information from the source, without any taint of bias or error. This paranoia has resulted in almost three years of Charlotte Mason-esque homeschooling without a true knowledge of her philosophies. Therefore, paranoia pushed slightly aside, I have started with CM’s Twenty Principles (loving the original and modern English side-by-side which you can find here).
I look forward to tackling book one in the original English along with the modern translation soon to see what I have been messing up. And if you are just beginning with any CM based program, don’t let not knowing all of her principles stop you. I can tell you that my children, despite my ignorance and positively due to the many living books they have read, have truly benefited from the “friends” they’ve made and the experiences they’ve had through the living books. And never fear going through these principles and books alone. As I learn I hope to share and interact with you. So we can learn together! Stay tuned for what I am learning from the first volume of Charlotte Mason’s The Original Homeschooling Series: Home Education.