Charlotte Mason was born in Bangor and was mostly home educated. Her mother died when she was 16 and her father died the following year. She enrolled in a school to be trained as an educator and then taught for ten years at Davison School in Worthingon, England. After her years at Davison she went on to teach for many years at different schools. In 1891 Mason founded the House of Education where she trained educators and governesses in her philosophy of education. After her death the House of Education became the Charlotte Mason college.
Two distinctive ideas set the tone for the Charlotte Mason method of education and are mentioned in her publications. “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life” and “Education is the science of relations.” Her motto for students was “I am, I can, I ought, I will.” She believed that children came into the world as thinking people who don’t need books that are partial or dumbed down for the sake of small children.
The basis for homeschoolers is to use “living books” that come alive in the child’s minds rather than cold, sterile, factual textbooks. The children are then to read these books within as many subjects as possible. The the child is to tell what they read about. They can do this by oral dissertation, writing, pictures, whatever way they choose to express what they have learned.
For subjects like spelling, English and grammar Mason put together a dictation process. She would say a sentence and have the children write the sentence while she watched for punctuation, grammar, usage, etc. This is in stark difference to spelling lists and diagramming. This helps the student put proper skills into real life situations. We will all have to write sentences but we will rarely be asked in adult like to put out a spelling list on any given day.
Handwriting fit right into this where Mason would help the child within other subjects to better their handwriting. She was not an educator who used manuscript paper to write a whole page of S’s.
Many homeschoolers choose this Charlotte Mason Method of education. It is affordable and based on sound principles.