Following Eight Students, Ages 10-12,
Using Charlotte Mason Methodology
8:30 Prayer – The day opens with a short time of quiet prayer. Today’s theme is “blessing.” “Who would you like to bless today?” The children write notes in their prayer journals. A few share their ideas with the group.
8:40 Math – Students begin with forty-five minutes of math. The period begins with an eight minute “unit study” (e.g. fractions, multi-step equations, geometry) for review or growth. Individuals then begin working through their individual lesson and problem set. 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. View Math Curriculum
9:30 Pre-Civil War U.S. History with Verbal 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 in Maryland. They briefly narrate 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; the story is recorded as a “group narration.” Discussion follows. After sharing their ideas on the chapter, students look at several woodcut reproductions depicting various episodes from Frederick’s life.
View Example of Verbal Narration on Frederick Douglass.
10:10 – 11:30 Nature Study – Our nature study teacher arrives and students head off with field notebooks to Ferncroft Reservation. Today’s field work will form the basis for more detailed study in class the next day. Sketches from the field notebook will then be copied into the student’s main Nature Study Notebook with accompanying written descriptions researched from online or from Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study.
View Example of Nature Study Entry on the Bullfrog
(on another day) 10:15 -11:30 Scripture with Written Narration – Students gather with their Bibles in the study room. A brief introduction is given by the teacher. 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. Others then share their impressions on the meaning of the story. Bibles are then closed and set aside. Silence follows as each student works independently to write his or her own narration and draw an illustration into their Scripture notebook. In a few weeks, they will have their own version of The Joseph Story.
View Example of Written Narration on the Joseph Story from the book of Genesis.
11:30-12:30 Lunch and personal time – Students engage in a variety of activities of choice: outdoor play or indoor board games, playing musical instruments, or working on 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 Literature – After free time, students gather to read from classical children’s literature or Great Books. They follow along in their own books, and pause along the way to discuss key points. Today, because they have finished reading Where the Red Fern Grows, they will meet for Writer’s Tea. Each student takes a turn reading his or her reflection paper on the book as the others listen (while eating blueberry pie.) After each reading, students are invited to say what they found interesting in their friend’s reflection paper. The assignment for this reflection paper: Create a second conclusion to Where the Red Fern Grows and write it in the style of this author.
View A New Conclusion to “Where the Red Fern Grows” in the style of the original author.
1:30 – 2:20 Students meet with the art instructor to begin working on a new project: creating seascapes using colored yarn attached to 5” by 10” cardboard.
(Other subjects during the week include: Writer’s Workshop, Poetry, Logic, Art Appreciation, Composer Study, Spanish, Music composition/practice, Leadership, Skills practice (penmanship, typing, grammar, editing) and Woodworking/handicrafts (such as knitting).
2:20 Clean up Students do their assigned clean-up tasks.
2:30 End of day
As you can see in the above description, it is the students who are doing the work of education. They are reflecting, problem solving, reading aloud, narrating, discussing, exploring, observing, recording, researching, illustrating, writing, creating, 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 give 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