I don’t follow any one particular style or curriculum for homeschooling, but my eclectic style is definitely influenced by Charlotte Mason. Without getting too much into all of her interesting philosophies about how children learn, grow, and develop, (because that could take a LONG time), I’ll just say the main thing I’ve extracted from her teachings is that children should be exposed to lots of “living” books where the words come alive on the page in the form of stories, etc. (as opposed to textbooks), children should be exposed to a wide range of topics throughout their day, children should definitely be exposed to classic literature (even at young ages), and lessons should be short (20 minutes or so for each subject).
Studying Charlotte Mason was my reason for adding Nature Study, Art Study, and Music Study to our schedule when I first began to homeschool. I’m fortunate that an acquaintance of mine with girls my girls’ ages had the idea to start a small Charlotte Mason co-op (with just our two families). We meet every other Friday, and this past Friday was our first meeting. I’d say it was a success! We did a nature study at a local park and the girls enjoyed finding all kinds of “goodies” in the pond (fish, turtles, etc.), and back at the house we did Nature Book sketches/painting, a composer study, we read and discussed Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, and read poetry. We also enjoyed snack and lunch times together. It was our first co-op meeting, and the girls seemed to be enjoying each other’s company, so I was okay with – for this meeting – getting off track a bit and letting the girls fall into a natural playtime, which meant we didn’t do our art study, hymn, and handicraft (woodworking). Next meeting, we’ll buckle down and get it all in!