Using Charlotte Mason Methodology
8:30 Prayer – The day opens with a short time of quiet prayer drawn from the Psalms or the Gospels.
8:40 Math – Students begin with fifty minutes of math. The period is broken up into individual students working through the problem set, group drill practice, and group concept work. Each student works independently in a book suited to his or her ability. The teacher explains the lesson and works individually with any student who needs help. Problems are corrected and any missed problems re-worked. The day’s score is recorded on an Excel worksheet. View Math Curriculum
9:30 History with Oral Narration – Eight students gather around a table and prepare to read through the fifth chapter of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. They begin by taking out their maps and locating Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore, and Talbot County, Maryland. They briefly recall ideas from the previous class on this subject. Chapter 5 (the story of Frederick’s transfer to Baltimore) is read to the group. After the reading, one student tells the story back in his own words; others offer additional details. Discussion follows. After sharing their ideas on the text, the students look at several woodcut reproductions depicting various episodes from Frederick’s life. View Example of Oral Narration on Frederick Douglass.
10:00 Latin – Students work on the next lesson of the Oxford Latin Course. New vocabulary words are introduced by connecting the words to English derivatives (porto = I carry / portable, import, export). Students then work in pairs to illustrate the new words now situated in Latin phrases. A new Latin passage is read, first by the teacher and then by the small group. Students take turns translating the sentences into English. Today’s translation is part of an ongoing story of the early life of the Roman poet, Horace.
10:30- 11:30 Nature Study – Our arborist arrives and students head off with cameras and notebooks to Ferncroft Reservation. Today’s field work will form the basis for a report on local animals and plants that will be used for guests visiting Ferncroft Reservation. View Written Narration on Nature Study.
(on another day) 10:30-11:00 Bible with Written Narration – Students gather with their Bibles in the study room. A brief introduction is given. Bibles are opened to the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. These students have been working through this story paragraph by paragraph. One student reads through the new passage. Bibles are then closed and set aside. There is complete silence in the room as each student works independently to write his or her narration of the passage. Students share their impressions on the meaning of the passage. Later in the day, these students will type their written narrations onto a word document. In a few weeks, they will have their own version of The Joseph Story. View Written Narration on the Joseph Story.
(Other classes offered during the week include: Science, Writer’s Workshop, Art, Picture Study, Composer Study, Spanish, Singing, Leadership Skills, and Woodworking/various handicrafts.)
11:30-12:30 Lunch and personal time – Students engage in a variety of activities of choice: outdoor and indoor play, reading, creative writing, and handicrafts.
We go outside every day and just play. Some people might see it as mindless playing, but someone else might think of it as team work, building collaboration, and democracy.” Abbie, 11
12:35 Skills Hour – The hour begins as four students type in narrations from the morning’s work. A teacher assists any who need help typing and/or editing their work. Three other students work independently practicing basic skills of penmanship, typing, and vocabulary test prep, while another prepares a power point presentation for science.
1:35 Literature – Usually this time is devoted to the reading of a children’s classic or Great book; students follow along in their own books and pause along the way to discuss key points. But today, because they have finished reading Where the Red Fern Grows, they meet for Writer’s Tea. Each student takes a turn reading his or her reflection paper while the rest listen and eat homemade blueberry pie. View Short Story Written in the Style of Where the Red Fern Grows.
2:20 Clean up
2:30 End of day
As you can see in the description above, it is the students who are doing the work of education. They are reflecting, problem solving, reading aloud, narrating, discussing, translating, exploring, observing, recording, writing, editing, researching, practicing skills, and presenting their work. The teacher acts as philosopher and guide while the students do the work of attending, thinking, and expressing their ideas. As Charlotte Mason explains:
The children are the responsible persons. They do the work by self effort. The teachers gives the uplift of their sympathy in the work and where necessary elucidate, sum up or enlarge, but the actual work is done by the scholars.” Mason, A Philosophy of Education, 6