"Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life."

Charlotte Mason High School Study Guide


 This page is my study notes written from our group's discussion of High School the CM Way. I may also add some useful links for High School in general.

 Page Shortcuts
Notes on the Elementary Schedule, Notes on the High School Schedule, Analyzing the HS courses,

A Few Essays on Specific courses,
Narration 1, Jr High English Transitions, Literature for Teens, Poetry, Shakespeare, Science, Languages and Latin,

Beginning CM with the Older Child, Garden of Links, My High School Booklist


The Elementary Schedule

Original date March 2, 1998

Karen Andreola's Article "Homeschool Without Homework" "Karen Andreola introduces the Charlotte Mason method"

 This is it- we are finally going to look at just what is High School the CM way? We'll take a quick look at the younger student's schedule first, but then we really want to hear from parents of older students!

 Lesson Study by Lynn H

 As I said, first we'll look at the schedule for the little ones. At the back of "A Charlotte Mason Education", Catherine Levison has reproduced the typical weekly schedules for each age group from the original "Parent's Review", December 1908. I will give summaries here. Remember that the PNEU school met 6 days a week, so the hours were divided over 6 days. Also, the schedules varied from day to day- not all subjects were studied on every day. For example, the first-third grades would, from 9:50-10:00 study: M French, Tues Picture Talk, Wed French, Thurs French, Fri Natural History, and Sat have an Object Lesson. All other subjects rotate in similar fashion. The CM schedule is varied, to keep the children stimulated. Also, CM includes History in the English period- sensible when you are using real books and can combine subjects.

 Grades 1-3, periods of from 10-20 minutes, total time per week:

 English 6 hours, 20 minutes includes writing, reading, printing, repetition of poems, parables, or hymns, Old T, New T, and Geography
Arithmetic 1 hour 50 minutes
Science 1 hour 10 minutes of Natural History
French 40 minutes
Handicrafts 2 hours
Drill (PE or dance) and music 3 hours
Total :15 hours

 Grades 4-6 (periods 20-30 minutes each)
English 4th adds English History, Grammar, and Dictation 7 hours 20 minutes
5th & 6th 8 hours 50 minutes
Mathematics 2 hours 30 minutes
Science 2 hours 10 minutes
Languages 4th 1 hour 30 minutes
5th & 6th 3 hours
Drill, etc. 3 hours Add one German singing period per week
total 4th : 17 hours

 total 5th & 6th : 18 hours 30 minutes

 Grades 7-9 (periods 30-40 minutes)
English 8 hours 25 minutes add composition and more History
Mathematics 3 hours add Euclid
Science 3 hours 20 minutes Botany, Geology, Physiology
Languages 3 hours 45 minutes Add German, Latin, and Italian (40 phrases in 60 days)
Drill, etc. 3 hours
Ninth grade adds Morals, Astronomy, Algebra
Total : 21 hours, 30 minutes

 Grades 10-12 (periods 30-40 minutes)
English- including History, Grammar, Literature, Economics, etc. 8 hours 10 minutes
Mathematics 3 hours
Science 4 hours 10 minutes
Languages 6 hours 10 minutes
Drill 2 hours 30 minutes
Total 24 hours

 All ages were finished by 1 PM, followed by the afternoon Nature walks and other supervised play activities.

 Charlotte Mason advocated posting the schedule where the children would see it, and Catherine Levison says: "Knowing what they are going to do and how long they have to do it is one of the strategies of training them not to dawdle during school time.".

 This is long enough for now. Tell us how you manage your schedules? Catherine Levison has all of her children in the same subject at the same time. You might also have some time with the older ones while the littlest ones take naps in the early afternoon? Or do you do Unit Study, and give the littler ones extra play time?


Part Two- That High School Stuff

Here is the Parent's Review, Dec 1908, Weekly Schedule for the Ninth Grade

time/day M T W TH F S
9-9:30 Old Testament New Testament Latin Old Testament New Testament Physical Geography
9:30-10 Arithmetic Euclid French Arithmetic Euclid Algebra
10-10:40 Geology Composition Literature Astronomy Every-Day Morals Latin
10:40-11 Drill Singing Drill Singing Drill Singing Drill Singing Drill Singing Drill Singing
11-11:45 Literature English History Geography English History Grammar Botany
11:45-12:15 Botany Algebra European History Every-day Morals Geography Grammar
12:15-1:00 French German Italian French German Italian
Grades 7-9 (periods 30-40 minutes) English 8 hours 25 minutes add composition and more History Mathematics 3 hours add Euclid Science 3 hours 20 minutes Botany, Geology, Physiology Languages 3 hours 45 minutes Add German, Latin, and Italian (40 phrases in 60 days) Drill, etc. 3 hours Ninth grade adds Morals, Astronomy, Algebra Total : 21 hours, 30 minutes

 Grades 10-12 (periods 30-40 minutes) English- including History, Grammar, Literature, Economics, etc. 8 hours 10 minutes Mathematics 3 hours Science 4 hours 10 minutes Languages 6 hours 10 minutes Drill 2 hours 30 minutes Total 24 hours

 While younger levels had no homework, these grades (American 9-12) would be expected to spend at least part of their "Free" afternoons doing independent reading, research on what Charlotte Mason called "Delight Directed Studies", and homework.



Homeschool HighSchool Part #3- The Rubber Hits the Road

Hi all,

 Time to look at exactly what the high schooler studies, and how. We've had hints all along, as various areas would say things like "grammar will be studied later". Guess what- now is later. I'm gleaning through the books for exactly how the areas are approached.

 Caveats- the posted schedule is for PNEU schools, which met 6 days a week. I don't use it, and I doubt if any of you do either. But it makes a good guide. The more I look at it the more I am impressed by dear Charlotte's planning- the subjects are rotated, seatwork is followed by oral work or a brief period of exercise or singing. So let me begin by taking apart that sample 9th grade schedule and examining the subjects in no particular order. References are to the Series; selections marked PGG refer to Penny Gardener's Guide references. In no way are these references exhaustive- they are only starting places.

 Old Testament/ New Testament 30 minutes, two periods a week each. Every-day morals 40 minutes twice a week (object lesson-type preaching)(total 6) This would include copy work, memory work, hymn-singing, and object lessons. Older students were often writing out their own copies of various Bible books.
vol. 3, ch 12 & 13
vol. 4 part 1 ch 1,2,3, 11,14

 Languages: 2 40-45 minute periods each (total 8)- Latin, German, Italian, French,

 This is scary! However, it breaks down easier than it looks at first. These languages would all be at different levels. Charlotte taught languages orally, beginning with French in the first grades. Many of the children would already have French spoken at home at dinner, or by household help. First would be learning the names of simple objects in the room, followed by learning phrases- 40 phrases in a 60 day term, and songs. In the 4th grade the students moved on to doing French copywork as well as having some read-alouds and conversation. At this time German was begun the same way French had been. By grade 7 the students would be beginning simple essays in French and doing German copywork- and beginning the oral part again with Latin and Italian. Latin being a "Root" language, they were expected to move rapidly; but Italian was apparently only expected to be understood enough for travel purposes. In High School the children would spend one of their language periods reading literature (usually aloud), conversing, and singing. The second would be used to write essays or do copywork.

 High school graduates would be expected to be totally fluent in English, French, and Latin, and able to get around in German and Italian. Remember that the English colleges expected students to be able to translate Latin, and a standard interview question would be something like "How many Books of Virgil have you translated"? The expected answer was 4 books, so a good portion of the Latin written work in the last two years of high school would be exactly that- translating Virgil. Before you panic, remember that most students never reached this level, as grades 11 & 12 were equivalent to a College Prepratory program.

 Drill Singing- 6 days a week, 20 minutes each.

 Anyone else notice how sleepy teens are? Imagine how the read-alouds would begin to buzz in your ears after hours of Bible, Arithmetic, and Geology? Charlotte woke them up with 20 minutes of aerobics and singing. Get up, march, sing! (probably in assorted languages, too. My 14 is trying to keep up with the Chicken Fat song- and can't even though he's quite muscular! Just hope he doesn't decide Mom has to do it too!)
vol. 3, ch X, pg101

 Mathematics- 2 periods each of 40 minutes (total 6): Arithmetic, Euclid (Geometry), Algebra and Advanced Math.

 Charlotte thought 'much' math study was unnecessary. She stressed not allowing the child to focus on dry facts. Math was to be taught with a discussion, manipulatives, and a few written problems done correctly. Arithmetic for older students might include bookkeeping, checkbook balancing, and other real-life uses. Geometry would be taught by application of principles, as would algebra, but she would expect use of formal proofs. Manipulatives (models, drafting exercises) would be required. There would be two periods of each type of math per week, taught as separate subjects to stimulate the mind.

 Science- 5 periods of 30-40 minutes each.

Specific areas would be varied each term - Botany might rotate with Entomology, and so on through the areas. Each would have a separate Notebook. More on Science can be found at the bottom of this page.
Botany (twice a week), Geology, Astronomy.
Physical Geography once a week, matched to the other studies.
This is an extension of Nature walks, focused a little more. For example, the students would examine different plants to learn the growth patterns, the flower structures- but would never take the flower apart by dissection! Charlotte would have been horrified by that common practice today! She did not believe in destroying to study! PNEU schools always have gardens kept by the children. Children would also be taken to visit botanical gardens, hothouses, and herbariums. Older children would be taught to dry and press plants as well as identify and draw. Rock collections are essential for geology, and active trading of specimens would be engaged in. Samples collected by traveled relatives would be prized. Astronomy class would include learning the stars and planets and making models, possibly even making their own telescopes. Any of these could easily become suitable areas for "Homework", as we discussed it before. Just think of the passion many teens develop for their rock collections! Physical Geography was just that- taking a little time to study the physical features of the planet, but Geography was considered part of History.
vol 4 part 1, ch 15

 History was part of English, but I'll split it a little here. After all, if you are learning using real books, the subjects are going to overlap considerably. Reading a biography of Madame Curie might be considered Science, Literature, or History (but please don't play with Radium for a lab). History was studied chronologically. In high school there were two periods of English History per week- after all, this was England. Another period would be spent on European History, what we might call World History in the USA. Other areas of the world had already been studied in the lower grades. Geography (2 more periods a week) was studied with the area of History, and meant mapwork. The children were expected to know where the country being discussed was located and how it's features affected the people who lived there. Charlotte wrote her own Geography book. Economics might be considered math, but I would think it was more part of the History and Geography work.
vol. 4 ch 13
vol. 1 pg. 273-276
PGG vol. 1, part 5, ch 17 & 18;
Vol. 6 p 169-180 and 224-230

 English- the biggest area because it includes so much from the others. However, there would be two periods a week of literature- both silent reading and read-alouds. This might include Dramatizations. It would certainly include a higher level of narration expected- the children would be expected to analyze characters, themes, settings, symbols, and the reasons for using certain styles. These would be introduced or pointed out briefly, or drawn out by questioning after the narration.
Grammar. CM wrote her own Grammar lessons, which have been collected, updated and reprinted by Karen Andreola. This work is oral and is expected to begin around age 10. Because of all the work in other languages, this is a minor area where simple examples would be given to clarify what was going on in the other classes.
Composition. This is really a big area, even though it is only identified as a single period per week. That is because the students were already doing considerable writing in the other classes. In Composition two things would happen:
The students would have a form explained, always using an example of literature they had studied or copied already.
Second, the student would be given an assigned topic and form that they had studied and be told to write an essay. Yep, formal assigned writing! However, it would be a topic they had already studied in one of their other classes and a form they had just studied. CM was designed to show the student what they already knew and could achieve, not to discourage them by assignments that were too difficult! Composition was to apply the form, not learn it!
vol. 4 part 1, ch12

 More on this is now further down this page, HERE.

 The Arts Now is the time to begin studies of the lives of the artists and how it affected their art. This would be included in the History and English section - study the art, music, and other enrichments as you study the area, times, and writings.. A timeline remains essential!
PGG vol. 1, part 3, ch 9; part 5 ch 7 and 21;
vol. 4 book 2, ch 2, 12, 15;
vol. 6 p 213-217

 Curriculum suggestions may be found in the appendixes of vol. 3. Specific reference books may be out of date, but you'll get ideas.
Whoosh- I think I just wrote my own study guide outline! But, I'm too tired to go back and fill in all the references just now. How about some comments from the rest of you?

 from Lynn H

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Language Arts With Teens

 Date:08/26/98 Author:"Lynn B Hocraffer" Subject:Re: [C-MASON] Language Arts with teens- LONG! Body:Hi Wendi, I finally have a few minutes to go over this. > I'm going to begin with composition, grammar, - basically language arts, > although not without some fear and trepidation. You see, what I > understand Charlotte to say about the study of grammar is not quite what > I understand some of the kind people on this loop to be saying. As Cindy said, there are different strokes for different folks. That is one of the great things about CM - it is adaptable. We have families who are doing a very formal PNEU-school type program, and families that find various parts fit naturally into some area of family interest and they do not need to be formal about them at all. For example, because I am a scientist my children have not needed to follow a formal science program- each time we have bought one we have discovered that we have already done everything in it! Science is something that comes easy in our house. > > Poetry: > Forms III and IV (ages 12-15): These ages have "Exercises in scansion > in English and Latin verse" (scansion is the analysis of verse to show > its meter). > "Rhythm and accent take care of themselves as the child is accustomed to > read poetry." The term test (and there is a test *every* term, lasting > a week. Charlotte thought this *very* important) may contain questions > such as" "write twelve lines (which must scan)" on some assigned topic. > They are able to write poems in an assigned metre (often rather than the > official metre name they are asked to write in the metre of a particular > poem) on an assigned topic, frequently a topic of contemporary interest > (write a poem in the metre of Rime of the Ancient Mariner on our > President and honesty???>g<), and they also can make an attempt to write > in an assigned style- "write a letter in the style of Gray on any modern > topic." Yes? Again, this is a structure thing. If you are using terms and report cards (and some of us must), then regular tests are important. OTOH, if you are doing lifestyle, and your child has shown that they can do this thing, why test it? Tests in CM are intended to show the child what they can do, not what they cannot. For example, this scansion of the Rime? Certainly- if we have been studying epic poetry for Literature and the Rime (which I personally dislike) is what we have been reading, it is very sensible to study it's meter scheme and attempt to use it ourselves. If we have been reading Gray's Letters, study the composition pattern and attempt a similar. Share the results (the family Christmas letter?) and keep the original in a notebook. > > Composition: Charlotte believes "It is better that a child should > begin with a sentence and not with the parts of speech, that is, he > should learn a little of what is called analysis before he learns to > parse" The book Simply Grammar is the best source I know of for a > practical example of how Charlotte believed English should be taught in > the younger grades. For further information, see pages 209-211 of > volume six. > Charlotte also says that the more formal teaching of grammar and > composition isn't necessary in the younger grades. This is because they ARE taught- by patterning, in copywork. > However, teaching grammar becomes more involved in the older grades. Right - when the child can see the pattern, teach them the name. > Forms V and VI (15-18) have some more definite teaching on composition > in order to avoid a stilted style (p193). She feels "a point or two > might be taken up in a given composition and suggestions or corrections > made with little talk" would be the best way to go about it. (194)What I > have been doing is selecting the grammar area I think most problematic > (say, sentence fragments), and making a small note in the margin of my > teen's paper everytime I see an example of the sort of sentence I want > her to improve (or eliminate=D). My note is usually not much more than > the reference number from an English Handbook where she may go for more > reading on this topic. What you are doing here is teaching the Grammar in context, which is almost certainly the best way of doing it. However, don't confuse Grammar with Composition. The Composition work is the subject here - discuss the points desired in a particular work and how to accomplish them : i.e., if I say write an essay comparing and contrasting the religion and warfare of the Greeks and Romans, it means I want at least 8 paragraphs: one introduction, one paragraph comparing the religion of the Greek and Romans, one contrasting it, one comparing similar styles or warfare and one pointing out differences, and one conclusion paragraph. Here I have specified the format of the expected composition, and this is what I will be looking for in the finished product. I may ALSO indicate Grammar and Punctuation as you have, but I don't score the work for this. > > Forms V and VI might be asked to write a good prTcis (see the bookmarked > instructions for this on books online. It's a wonderful site: > http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/precis/precis.html), write letters to the > editor on current topics, several essays/compositions based on the term > work in history and lit, notes on a picture study; dialogues between > characters occurring in their literature and history studies, ballads on > current events; (VI) essays on event and question of the day, a > patriotic play in verse or prose," and this was in addition to their > regular written narrations- required on *every* book they read in > school. Right - this is a good description of a formal program of composition, studying one style of writing at a time. If I understand how "Forms" are equivalent, this is an American 10th grade. For those of us who are not natural writers, knowing the structures of the various styles of writing, a program such as Writing Strands can provide the details we need. > > "Some syntax is necessary, and a good deal of what may be called > historical Grammar " (269). SNIP large section of definitions > especially in connection with translating. So, she either means that in > high school the student should translate two or three books from one > language into English, or that they must analyze the grammar and syntax > of two or three books, or both. I lean towards the first explanation > (translating a couple books) as this ties in nicely with what I've read > in her other books. In order to translate, some understanding of formal > grammar is required, especially for those who are not native speakers > of both languages being translated. I agree - and this isn't extra, it will be a reasonable part of the child's language lessons. For example, a normal part of Latin studies is to translate Virgil. > Based on my reading it's not at all clear to me that copywork alone > suffices for grammar at any age, but most definitely not for those of us > with high school students. WHOA! Wait - back up here! "At any age?" Children under 9 should not be doing formal Grammar, they are in the Copywork stage. Now, I don't include Daily Grams here- DGs are copywork with very simple corrections. Some children are ready for them in second or third grades, some children are not. This come under the heading of individualizing the work. Somewhere in Volume 3, ages 9-12, the child should begin Grammar. Simply Grammar is excellent here, so are Daily Grams. Both (and more programs that I am not mentioning for space reasons) introduce simple Grammar concepts in a natural manner. Now, I agree about High School students - copywork is not going to suffice. Neither is an extensive but repetitive free program of writing the family newsletter every month. Grammar and Composition do become more formal. > > Reading: I will have much more to say on this later, but most > importantly for now, I think, is that Charlotte is NOT at all in favour > of the notion of allowing the child to choose his own books- in fact she > says that what the child likes in books is no guide at all. Rather, for > *school* (as opposed to free time or family reading) a carefully chosen > selection of books should be read in planned order, and that the books > ought to be a little hard. What the child does not have to dig for is > not assimilated. > Excellent! > I apologize for the length, and I hope this is of some use to somebody > besides me=) I would also add that just because Charlotte says so > doesn't necessarily make it so, and that each family and the children in > that family are different. Exactly- don't you love the title of volume 6? "An Essay Towards a Philosophy of Education"? CM did not say she knew it all - she was intending to stimulate us all to think about what and how we teach. > In the next few days we may be out of town, but when we return I intend > to share a booklist of those books Charlotte had her students read which > I've compiled from reading her books- and, most exciting (I think) a > list of URLs where many of them can be read for free online!!! Oh excellent! I've been making a list myself! Many of hers are out of date or unavailable, but knowing what she thought was suitable gives a guideline for our own choices. > I think I'll follow, if there is an interest, with each school subject > addressed separately- with Charlotte's philosophy of the how and > especially the why of education liberally thrown in from time to time. > Certainly! Go right ahead! The available synopsis books (Penny's and Catherine's and Karen's) really don't cover high school thoroughly because their children are younger. You may be writing the book we all need! from Lynn H (AKA sleeping)http://homepage.bushnell.net/~peanuts "Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life."





Narration 1

Original date Nov 2, 1998

Karen Andreola's Article "Narration Beats Tests" "Karen Andreola explains how it works."

 Narration Catherine Levinson's chapter on narration, from her book A Charlotte Mason Education. Subject by subject, how to implement the CM method.

 Just what is Narration, and how does it work? What is the difference between a 6 telling a Bible story, and a highschooler giving an analysis of the principle character's motivation? What are some narration methods that have worked at your house? How do you develop that delighted child into that thoughtful teen?

 There are many levels of narration, and children should make progress through them. Young children, and even older ones beginning CM at a higher grade, should begin with simply telling back what they heard. This should be a short selection (Karen Andreola suggests 7 to 15 minutes of the parents reading aloud). Children reading silently should have a daily time to narrate to each other and to Mom about what they have read. If Mom is reading a single book, or two, at a high level, only one child should narrate from each selection. If Mom is reading several books, or from the same one several times throughout the day, a different child should narrate on what was read each time. Take turns with this so that the same child is not always narrating the same book. If each child is reading a book which compliments the selection Mom is reading, this becomes a re-enforcing unit study. For example, Mom might be reading the "Little House" series aloud. Child number one may be reading a biography of some famous person who passes through the story. Child number two may read about the appropriate Indian tribe, child number three about the trains going West, child number four from a science story about a wolf. Each child does NOT need to read all the books- they are teaching each other as well as themselves.

 Other activities can also qualify as narration. In this category I would include crafts, models of Tipis and forts, finding the recipe and making mush for dinner, learning Braille, sewing and wearing sunbonnets, and many more. Does your child collect coins? Tell about the money mentioned in the story. Thus, your reading time and narration includes History, literature, Science, Music if you learn the songs, art, Bible if you find and include the passages (perhaps as your daily copywork) and many other subjects. You may not include every subject every day, but you will find you need not have separate lessons in many areas.

 With older children, Narration becomes a conversation. Questions such as "If you were Christian, what would you do when you heard the lions?" become appropriate. The child is asked to think more about what was said and done, and to begin to consider the characterizations and motivations of the reading. This is often best done by asking them how they would feel, or what they would have done in this situation? Advanced students will tell what actions of Ophelia show her insanity, and other difficult questions of analysis. This narration can be either oral, such as in conversation, or written as an essay using a designated format.

 Before age ten (approximately) the child's written work was mostly copywork. Bible selections, poetry, selections from the readings, and memory work are the most common types. This is patterning- teaching the child how a sentence or a paragraph are put together by seeing and copying good examples. Penmanship, simple grammar, and spelling are worked on here, by correcting the daily copywork until each day is correct. This can be made more fun by making personal copies of favorite selections and illustrating them, including them in the Nature Notebooks, and learning fancy penmanship such as calligraphy. At about age 10 each child also begins a daily journal or copybook. This one is not to be scored or corrected for spelling or grammar. It's purpose is to encourage the child to begin to put their own thoughts on paper without feeling nervous about details. It is separate from the copywork, where these things are checked and corrected.

 At Junior high level, somewhere between age 10 to 13, the child should begin a formal study of Grammar. Charlotte Mason's own Grammar has been re-written by Karen Andreola and is available as the book "Simply Grammar". There are other books available, such as the "Daily Grams" series. No "Twaddle" in these, just straight forward examples of various grammar and punctuation. The lessons are 5 to 10 minutes long, just right for the CM method. Children who have mastered the basics may enjoy one of the various series where they are to find and edit errors in someone else's work, but my son never cared for these.

 Also at this level more formal writing should be begun. By this I mean examining the structure of various writing styles. The common outline format is an introductory paragraph, 3 or more topic paragraphs, and a summing up or conclusion. I have seen this described as "tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them the details, then tell them what you just told them". Right. I spent a whole year of high school English writing this sort of essay every week on whatever we had been reading in Literature class. My teacher was very wise- this format got me through many college classes, tests, and term papers.

 There are many other types of writing that students need to study. They need to practice editing, re-writing, paraphrasing, changing tenses, descriptive writing, various forms of poetry and stories, essays, laboratory reports, term papers, and research papers. They need to learn how to write to suit various situations. I happen to be familiar with the Writing Strands series, which I bought for my daughter. The edition I have has probably had some changes. However, I found it ideal for teaching one skill at a time. I made a mistake with my son, though. (Confession time) I started him in level 3 in the 6th grade, which is the recommended time, but he was not ready for it. It took me a little while to realize that he needed to continue with copywork. He is finishing 8th grade now and I intend to begin him again. This time I believe he will be ready and he should be able to move through the series rapidly.

 Tell us how you work through the transitions. How did you learn each step, and how are you teaching them? Do you have a favorite book that helps with the steps of composition, or Grammar, or Creative Writing? Submit a few samples from your children's work for our page, so we can see what others are doing!

 Lynn H

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Choosing Literature for Teens

> If there's a down side to this CM philosophy (Did I just WRITE that!!!!????!!), it's that we use living books instead of textbooks - and that means we have to select the right living books!

 Hi Donna Jean,

 Right. The books need to be carefully chosen for subject, bias, age suitability, literary language, living Ideas and all that.

 Now let me try to encourage you a little here. You see, I think at this point in time you may be over-protecting your dd. She should be ready for meat instead of milk - and meat sometimes has gristle. I would not do it all at once, but I would begin to introduce emotionally difficult material. A good start might be Hannah Hurnard's beautiful "Hind's Feet" books, which my dd loved at this age. It gave her strength for future needs.

 My own dd is also a tender heart. It's one of the things I cherish about her. At age 10 or so I thought hard - and then I read her the Diary of Anne Frank, The Hiding Place, and some others. Yes, we cried. We eventually watched the Holocaust documentary, too - which is very graphic, and even Schindler's List which is even more so. OK, she was about 16 for the last one. We discussed racism, and intolerance, and Evolution and why Hitler thought he was purifying the race and why the good Christians didn't all object.

 We learned it is all right to cry. We learned to question our own motives. We learned to admire people like Corrie Ten Boom and the Danes who participated in the rescues. We learned that even good people can fail to do right. She learned that there are dark spots in the history of the world that none of us understand. She learned to understand her own family better - because we are of very mixed heritage, a true American melting pot family. I look like my Amerind ancestors, my sister looks Irish, my brother like our father and all his ancestors back to the Vikings. All of our lines have praiseworthy events in the history, and all have dark areas.

 Charlotte Mason said :
Volume 3 p 162-163 "WE MAY NOT CHOOSE OR REJECT SUBJECTS - You will see at a glance, with this Captain Idea of establishing relationships as a guide, the unwisdom of choosing or rejecting this or that subject, as being more or less useful or necessary in view of the child's future."

 Volume 6, p187: "Children, like ourselves, must see life whole if they are to profit. At the same time they must be protected from grossness and rudeness by means of the literary medium through which they are taught."

 and continuing on p187-188: "We labor under a difficulty in choosing books which has exercised all great thinkers from Plato to Erasmus, from Erasmus to the anxious Heads of schools today. I mean the coarseness and grossness which crop up in scores of books desirable otherwise for their sound learning and judgment. Milton assures us with strong asseveration that to the pure all things are pure; but we are uneasy."
snipping good stuff for brevity...
"So far as we can get them we use expurgated versions; in other cases the book is read aloud by the teacher with necessary omissions."

 Catherine Levison, on page 71, suggests: "In Charlotte Mason's book *Ourselves* (Vol. 4, Book 2, pgs 33-40) there is an interesting section using several examples from literature on moral behavior. Using Steerforth from David Copperfield among others she demonstrates how incorrect choices made, when faced with temptation, result in misery. This is another example of using books instead of censoring fictional material so they can learn from other's mistakes. Charlotte's students read *Ourselves* when they were older, and they were taught to keep watch over their thoughts and to keep their minds pure and decent."

 (Reminder - Vol 4, book 1 is for children under 16, Book 2 is for children over 16.)

 And finally, though I have lost the reference at the moment, there was our discussion on the lives of artists and composers. Many of them lived less than exemplary lives. Charlotte said that young children did not need to know the details of the life of the artist but that older children (teens) DO need to examine the lives and philosophies.

 Your daughter is growing up. She is 13. You cannot shelter her from the dark side of humanity forever - but you can and should walk through it holding her hand. It is time to stop being the channel through which everything is filtered, and become the mentor and friend who is exploring the world with her - warts and all. She needs to be aware that for some people that is reality. Those tough, emotional chapters are exactly the ones which need to be discussed and read together.

 I own a copy of "I Am Regina", and my daughter read it at about age 16. It has dark areas - very dark indeed. We talked a lot about the differences between the faiths of the Indians and the Faith of the settlers. Do you remember when the Indians came into the Ingall's house wearing skunk skins and scalp belts? Have you begun Anthropology - studying the Indian's religion?

 Because I read at what appears to many to be an incredible rate, I have been able to pre-read everything I have chosen for my children. There are books I have rejected completely, books I have found edited versions of, books I have read aloud and edited rather than miss (Treasure Island comes to mind). However, I am not able to read fast enough to read every book in the world! I have depended heavily on the lists and advice of others as to what to choose. I also have worked ahead - I don't decide on Friday that we will begin something on Monday. I save book descriptions, adding them to my lists, and when the topic comes along I already know what we will read. I have usually already read it.

 Beautiful Feet is not the only catalog that chooses emotionally difficult reading for tender ages. Sonlight has some in their list that I would not choose at all! Yet, they explain why - they want children to see all views. (I would still remove that novel about children lost in Australia!) They also have many selections that are from a non-Christian point of view, again wanting the children to see the ideas that different peoples operate from. They want the children to CHOOSE to be Christians. I think, difficult as this is, that it really is a very CM idea.

 Lynn H



How to Study Poetry

Original date February 16, 1998

Karen Andreola's Article "The Charlotte Mason Approach to Poetry" "Does Poetry only belong to bygone days?"

 Lesson Study by Lynn H

 When my son was about 4 and my daughter 8, we were reading through Helen Ferris's "Favorite Poems Old and New". We read a few poems every day, along with our other reading. My son was enchanted by a portion of "Hiawatha", so I bought him an illustrated version and a cassette tape. Within a very short time he had memorized long sections! When he was about 10, we read "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere". Again he was fascinated, and with only a few readings he had the whole thing by heart. My daughter also memorized many poems. At Lincoln's Tomb she amazed the guard by reciting not only the complete Gettysburg address, but the poem "Nancy Hanks" which she had chosen to memorize for the visit. She was 10.

 I enjoyed the recent thread on teatimes, and considered the real-life learning experiences you all related, of poetry readings and Grandmother's stories, to be absolutely perfect CM! I was charmed by the little girl who recited verses at playtime that she had heard once! Isn't that a wonderful example of the sort of focused attention that CM tries to develop? Attention, and delight, are the most important parts of poetry the CM way. Poetry should not be a study, undertaken by dissecting each form of poem and attempting to reproduce it. Poetry should be as much a part of life as breathing. When an older student really enjoys a poem, then take a few minutes to show them the patterns for that sort of poem and allow them to attempt their own for the delight of playing with the words and patterns.

 Catherine Levison, in her book "A Charlotte Mason Education", says that she posts a poem that her children are learning on the wall in their dining room, where her children can see it often. She likes the selection in "Favorite Poems", and also suggests "The Book of 1000 Poems", which the Andreaolas also use. When they develop a favorite poet, they will search for a book of that author's works. I will quote a few lines from her Poetry chapter here: "Do not think of poetry as a school subject or a curriculum."; "..you can't make any child like a poem against their will. If you like poetry or a particular poem, it will show. Make sure not to push or "praise too much beforehand.""; "If you don't like poetry, just leave the child and the poem alone together."; "Choose noble not twaddle.".

 And what does dear Charlotte Mason have to say? Volume 5, p224: "Poetry takes first rank as a means of intellectual culture. Gothe tells us we ought to see a good picture, hear good music, and read some good poetry everyday."

Penny Gardner, in her Study Guide, has these comments; "Charlotte felt we ought to enjoy the works of one poet at a time and for a long period to become intimately aquainted with his works. Poetry should be part of those family evenings."

 And "One of the great points that comes across from Charlotte Mason is that we don't need to dissect, classify, analyze, or read critical essays on the arts. We don't need to know which meter a poem employs, or what key changes occur in a symphony, or the use of Golden Means in the composition of art. We parents don't need to be experts, deliver knowledgeable lectures, and generally intrude in our children's natural appreciation. All we need to do, is read or listen or look at great art and show our reverence for the inspiration and beauty of the piece."

 Saturday evening at a church dinner I sat next to a man who had taught high school English for 20 years. So, I asked him what was important to teaching poetry. He did not give me a list of meters or symbols or terminology. He said "Teach what you enjoy- you had better like it yourself", and " The strength of poetry is images, what makes it memorable is the sound." He had never heard of Charlotte Mason, but he agreed with her.

 I have quite a few links to libraries and poetry on the web on my English page HERE.

 What other resources, favorite authors and ways of studying poetry have you included in your lives?

 Lynn H

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theater masks

Shakespeare and Stop Signs

Original date May 18, 1998

Refer to this essay on the Greenleaf site: How to Exegete a STOP Sign. . .

 Hi all,

 Synchronicity happened today. (look it up). I was looking through the list of articles we have available for discussion, and stopped to read the hilarious "How to Exegete a Stop Sign" again.

 Now, what does that have to do with Shakespeare? Quite a bit, actually. As I read I was reminded of the furor over whether Shakespeare actually wrote the works attributed to his name; the discussion on this list of suitable versions for the children to read; and what age is suitable; whether a production needs to contain every word in the text; which copy of a script is the real, original, final copy... In other words, the exegesis of Shakespeare.

 Now, I would say that exegesis is not a project for small children. It requires technical familiarity with the material. I would definitely consider it suitable for a high school student reading Shakespeare, especially if they have a sense of humor and can write well.

 And, if you haven't a clue what exegesis is, go read this article. Once you stop laughing you will never forget it! In fact, I'll give you some discussion questions:

 How much examination should various ages of students give to the literature they read? Does it help to be familiar with the background of a story? Can several children of different ages read books on the same topic and have a fruitful discussion of ideas? How closely should a high school student examine Shakespeare, using as an example my dd's essay on imagery in Macbeth?

 That ought to start something! Now remember, this is the CM list! Sweetness and light, folks! Let's not get into a Shakespeare/Bacon broil. What I want to know is just how much examination should be given to the literature we use. Should students (especially high school) use commentaries and study guides, and if so how much? Do Classic Comics and Cliff Notes have a use in a CM Education?

 from Lynn H

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Junior High English Transition

> Lynn said: -- Dictation should continue, and he will be doing copywork in every class clear through High School; but they reduce in quantity as he increases the written narration and compositions.-- About this copywork, do I assign it? Does he write down on whatever it is he is reading about, whatever HE chooses to write? Do I then need to preread all the material? YIKES!!! so many questions so little time =)

 Hi Alba,

 You do keep busy thinking of these, don't you? Good girl - keep it up!

 You should assign copywork selections - how else would you be sure he covered a wide range of styles, and that the selections were good examples of the concepts? You can do this in many ways, including the delightful cookie jar ideas recently discussed here. As much as possible they should be chosen from his reading. He should be allowed to choose the selections he puts in his own journal - CM suggests a weekly time for this, such as the last activity on Fridays. Many children are also making their own copy of a book of Scripture, such as Proverbs or Romans, as copywork. (My son chose Mark). This can be part of their morning Bible study time.

 For example, in Composition you might have him copy a sonnet from his Shakespeare reading in Literature. Then you show him the pattern that the sonnet follows, what makes it a sonnet. Then he attempts one of his own. You don't worry about whether it is good - only whether he has followed the pattern. When he has the pattern learned, and writes 20 more, that is called Creative Writing. He is using the concept he learned from the example.

 No, you do not need to pre-read all the reading you assign your high school student, though it is a good idea to know what is in there. As some others have mentioned, you need to be prepared for some discussion! Some good books need to be kept as read-alouds simply because they have unsuitable sections that you will want to edit out. This is thoroughly CM. At least scan everything you assign - don't just follow a booklist blindly - even mine! A few minutes of looking ahead at tomorrow's section of read-aloud can help you decide where and how to skip a passage smoothly, or change some vocabulary.

 Now, the written narration vary in style. In the beginning you will allow him to write in any way he pleases, and you should expect they will be very similar to his oral narration style (though shorter). He does write on whatever he is reading, in every area. For example, in History he might be reading Virgil, and would write to you about one of the battles. However, at this point you begin to select HOW he writes. For example, you might assign him to write everything this week in the style of a newspaper reporter, if you had studied reporting in composition. Next week they might be Encyclopedia articles, or as though he were one of the participants describing the event to his grandchild. For composition he might take a passage (even one of his own narrations) and re-write it into a different style. When he learns essay format you would show him how to take three selections from the reading passage as examples to answer the question, instead of telling you everything he knows about the topic. He is learning discernment, choosing what is needed.

 He is also learning to watch his time! Remember that CM lessons are short? Well, one of the most useful things I ever learned in high school was to judge my time and write within it. I had an English teacher who had us write an essay every Friday. It was always on something we had read that week, but we didn't know what until class time. She assigned the format and the question, and we had 40 minutes to write! She was very particular - we had to exactly fill two pages, with borders, leave 2 lines at the bottom, and so on. I had her classes two hours a day, five days a week, for two years! Do not allow your son to dawdle - set him a reasonable time length, and stick to it. If he doesn't finish, he loses free time when he might have been doing something else. For example, he might be reading History on Monday and Wednesday, have copywork or dictation on Thursday, and spend the same period on Friday writing his narration about what he has read. I would vary which days he writes in each subject so that he is not spending all day every Friday writing. Also, CM had high school children drawing detailed maps and illustrating scenes from their reading, and this also is considered narration.

 Lynn H

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A Question on Teens & Transitions

Q - That being said, I'd like to know if there is a common transition point in helping children from the "self-taught and self-governed" phase, and rolling that into a plan whereby they take their love of learning and commute this into a study pattern in the years immediatly before college. I ask this because I am still unclear on where I should help them make that transition. Should it be when they explicity ask for more controlled instruction (text books, a paid course, apprenticeship), slowly as we plod along..or never. Tradition says beef it up when they are in their mid-teens (at the latest), more relaxed says do it steadly as you go along, and radicals say never (allow the child to control this). Well.. now I'm completely confused :) What say you?

 Hi Renee,

 You seem to have some confusion between "Unschooling" and CM. First, you might want to read my little essay on "Is CM Unschooling?". Summarizing - no, it is not. You don't work from child-led TO a plan, you work from a plan. Period. You may also want to refer to the concept of "Masterly Inactivity", which also looks like unschooling but is not. A third concept is "Delight Directed Studies", which is a very CM idea, but involves the child doing independent reading or approved projects during their free time, by choice.

 The difference is the presence of a plan. You mention traditional or relaxed, which may both be part of your plan, but you must have one. Allowing the children to request particular instruction, including courses, books, or apprenticeship, can also be part of the maturing process - but I would not recommend it without guidelines. For example, you should discuss with your teen goals for schooling and allow them to help choose the method - and expect some mistakes! Do you always choose the right books? Why should they? Let them choose between this book or that one, as long as both fit the plan. Allow flexibility - if you are planning to do Egypt, Greece, and Rome this year, but PBS offers a wonderful series on Viking Ships and there is a display at the museum- allow a detour. Do a unit or a year on Vikings, but come back to the original later. Does it really matter whether you study Vikings or Egypt first? Both are in your Plan.

 A Charlotte Mason education operates with a plan, individualized for each child. Copywork and Narration gradually move into Grammar, Composition, and Journalizing. It isn't a sudden change- it is gradual, step by step. If your 14 has been doing copywork for several years, it is time to add a lesson or two a week on composition - showing them the patterns for the copywork and allowing them time to experiment with them. Grammar can be introduced with composition, and when the child is familiar with basics then include a lesson or two a week of more formal work. We did the Daily Grams sheets for several years of elementary work, and now I find my son has covered all the material in the introductory text "Simply Grammar" that I expected to use this year. Fine - we will go on, stressing the grammar with his composition and language studies. I may (probably will) add some Grammar drill sheets later.

 I love your description of The Grand Experiment. What a wonderful way of describing it! CM said we should give the children as wide an experience as possible, a platter full, from which they serve themselves with ideas. Now it is time for you to examine what they took - for example: is one child fascinated with clothes, colors and textures and fashions? This child will probably do well with History studied through fashion. Even museums often have displays this way - showing the costumes of the various periods in order. The child may turn this into an avocation of History, Theater, or Fashion. I can't tell, and neither can you - we may only offer. Your Plan still includes History, this is merely the individual approach.

 from Lynn H



HomeSchool HighSchool Science

Karen Andreola's Article "Start a Nature Notebook" "Karen Andreola shows us how to start a Nature notebook - Charlotte Mason Style"

 The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden. This is a beautiful example of what a young adult can do as a Charlotte Mason Nature Notebook!

 An Elementary Science essay, and many interesting links, may be found HERE on the Popcorn and Peanuts Science page.

 I'm finally getting around to this. Here is Lynda's question, saved from last month (and no one else tried it, either).

 "I would like to see a subject list of science topics you think are necessary for High School. For kids who are not going in to science. " Lynda

 OK, Lynda, here you go:

 First, here is the list of Science topics from the World Book Scope and Sequence page.

 Grade 9:•Earth's history•Earth science•Ecology and environment•Weather and climate•Air and air pressure•Air masses and fronts•Water and its uses•Erosion•Air and water pollution•Heats and fuels•Electricity and electronics •Solar and nuclear energy•Nature and uses of light•Simple and complex machines•Atomic structure•Chemistry of matter•Molecular theory•Nature and use of chemicals•Metals and plastics•Space and astronomy•Space travel•Nature and causes of disease

 Grade 10: •Characteristics of life•Classification•History of plants and animals•Microscopic life•Simple organisms: algae, bacteria, fungi•Vertebrate life•Mammals and birds•Plant life•Photosynthesis•Cells•Protein synthesis•Genetics and heredity •DNA-RNA•Genetic engineering•Reproduction and growth•Human biology•Nutrition and digestion•Behavior•Conservation of human resources•Environmental issues•Energy in ecosystems•Scientific method•Biology and space travel•Disease and disease control

 Many Public School students never take more than these two years of Science credit.

 Grade 11:Chemistry •Matter and its behavior•Carbon and its compounds•Formulas and chemical equations•Acids, bases, salts•Atomic theory•Periodic law•Water and solutions•Chemical bonding•Molecular theory•Equilibrium and kinetics•Spontaneous reactions •Titrations•Ionization and ionic solutions•Colloids, suspensoids, and emulsoids•Oxidation-reduction•Nonmetals•Metals and alloys•Electrochemistry•Energy: forms, chemical changes, and measurement•Nuclear reactions and radioactivity

 Grade 12: •Physics•Electricity and magnetism•Photoelectric effect•Heat•Light and optics•Sound and acoustics•Wave motion•Quantum theory•Relativity •Force•Mechanics•Space, time, and motion•Work, energy, and power•Electronics•Nuclear energy•Nuclear physics•Solid-state physics

 Let me break this down better, because anyone can see that the schools will not spend more than a month on any area. They don't have time! These are intended to be introductions, not detailed!

 Ninth Grade studies general Science, emphasizing Ecology and resource use; Astronomy; and personal Health including Sex Ed.

 Tenth Grade studies Life Sciences, including Heredity, Ethics, Health as a social issue (diseases) and Energy in living systems.

 11th Grade studies Chemistry. This can get pretty detailed because many students don't take more than 2 years of science and those who do are assumed to be college-bound. Students who are not college bound should play with chemistry - kits, or perhaps the interesting course called "Friendly Chemistry" intended for Junior High students.

 12th Grade Physics. Very few PS students get this far. A good college-bound course will be heavily math oriented. Lots of collecting data - and the experiments are FUN! There is an interesting course called Tabletop Physics suitable for non-college bound students. Write to the authorfor information about the homeschool edition.

 Let me make a recommendation - the very best college prep courses for high school Science that I have seen, are from Apologia. I also have reasons to like some others more suitable as general sciences (see my Science page).

 Now let me talk a minute about what a CM family will look for in a high school Science course. The essential item is the Notebook! A lovely example is "The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady" by Edith Holden. However, she would not have kept her Chemistry notes in her Nature Notebook - she would have a separate notebook. Also one for Astronomy, Biology, Geology... There will be plenty of personal observation, experimentation, reading biographies of Scientists. As much as is possible, the studies are coordinated with the History and Geography studies. Field guides and factual books will be essential as references, to provide the name for the things that are seen. Selections you might wish to read from the Series include Volume 1, Part II; Volume 3, p 218-223; Volume 6 pages 223 and 328.

 What do you keep in a real Science notebook? Everything! Notebooks are the personal property of the Scientist, and are kept forever. You never erase anything, never tear out a page, never obliterate. If you have made an error in a calculation you draw a single line through it and write the correction underneath. Everything is always dated. You write the idea, the hypothesis at the top of a page. You list all the books and magazines and other references you use. You draw diagrams of everything. You collect the data from the experiments in here. You do your calculations in here. When you finish, everything you need to write your Research Report will be in here. 100 years from now, your grandchildren should be able to pick up your notes and repeat your experiment. A working scientist's contract will specify who owns his notebooks when he changes jobs!

 Let me give an example, Gregor Mendel. Reading about him would be required for that 10th grade material. What very few books will tell you is that the dear old priest was a fraud. Oh yes, he really did the pioneer genetic work with snapdragons as a hobby in the monastery gardens (and very pretty they must have been, too). However, about 15 years ago someone decided to repeat his research. His notebooks were found, and the scientist began to follow the notes carefully, reproducing everything. It did not take long to discover that the data just did not match the conclusions. Mendel's Ideas were correct, but he didn't have the data to support them - so he made it up. He reported higher, or lower, numbers than he really found.

 Another example, from Anthropology. Java Man was considered to be a key to the 'missing link". The Anthropologist who found him in the 1930's delighted the evolutionists and became famous. In the 1970's old Papa Dubois finally released his field notebooks, and admitted he knew all along that Java Man never existed. He knew what he had found was the skull of a gibbon - and in the same bed of gravel he had found a fine human skull, the existence of which he concealed. He was so sure Java Man really existed, he was willing to lie to gain more funding to search for what he was sure was there. Java Man is still found in some Science texts. He lost his excellent reputation - but maintained his place in the science because he kept the notebooks.

 The notebook is everything in real Science! And, that is my problem with Apologia. I have met Dr. Jay, attended his seminars, chatted with him in person and on the net. He teaches his students to make beautiful Notebooks. He tells the parents to be sure to take the notebooks to college interviews. He says that they will knock the socks off the Admissions personnel - and he is right! So, why does he say the labs and notebooks are optional parts of his excellent courses? I have asked him this, but he has not given me a good answer. Dr. Wile's texts are heavily math oriented, intended for the college-bound student. Pay attention to his math recommendations - he recommends "VideoText Algebra", "Saxon" or "Math U See". But, math is not the only key to science.

 Now I get back to Lynda's Question. I couldn't really answer it without examining the rest.

 Saying you have a child who is not going to study Science makes about as much sense as saying you have a child who is not going to study Math. Science is not a subject. To quote Carl Sagan, from his book "Broca's Brain", on page 13, "Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge. Its goal is to find out how the world works, to seek what regularities there may be, to penetrate to the connections of things - from subnuclear particles, which may be the constituents of all matter, to living organisms, the human social community, and thence to the cosmos as a whole."

 I am a Scientist, not because I have studied several Sciences (though I have a degree) but because this is the way I think. I am constantly seeking relationships. To believe there are relationships requires a strong degree of Faith. The Chinese developed many interesting tricks, toys to them - but never developed a Science because they never believed in a relationship. The Greeks had steam engines and many other wonderful things - but never developed a cohesive Science. It took a belief in a single God. Albert Einstein said "God does not play dice with the Universe." Albert Einstein's thoughts are much of what is studied in the last year of high school. Belief in an orderly, sensible God was the key to modern Science. A scientist collects information and data, then makes sense of it.

 Now, what Science does a non-science bound person need? Let me examine a few areas as examples.

 Health is a given for everyone - personal care, ordinary diseases, sanitation, first aid.
Nurses, aides, persons with ill members of the family will need more medical training.
A homemaker needs to know how to cook. Cooking is applied chemistry! There are even books designed to teach this way, from fun books for children to a complete high school chemistry course (CastleHeights Press, I think).
A seamstress or tailor will need to know about fabrics and finishes, dyes, buttons - plastics and woods and metals for different types.
A potter will need to know about paints and glazes, clays, heat and moisture.
A painter will have to know paints, pigments, binders, surface treatments, fibers. Ask your Art school for requirements.
A jeweler needs to understand metals and crystals. That's Geology and metallurgy.
A carpenter needs to understand woods and metals and how they behave under different conditions. An Architect will also have to know stresses, tensions, and more physics.
A gardener/farmer/fisherman/hunter needs to understand fertilizers and pesticides, among other chemicals. They will need to know ecology, erosion, conservation.
An airplane pilot, or a farmer, or anyone else outdoors will need to understand meteorology.
English and /or History teachers need to know Astronomy.

 Anyone who doesn't know "Leaves in threes, leave it be." is going to learn about Poison Ivy the hard way. Other practical life advice exists.
Wear seatbelts.
Wear sunscreen.

 Lynn H



Languages and Latin

> > > Hey, I had a brainstorm today...very likely reinventing the wheel but I'll try it...does anyone do copy work in a different language...how about a french "cookie jar", latin, German, Spanish? I would think that the things our younger children are learning about the English language could be learned about the foreign languages we study as well.

 Hi Carol,

 Yes, you ARE reinventing the wheel. You are correct- copywork is part of learning any language, any subject the CM way. A French cookie jar sounds great! You could also play Penny's silly sentence game. Let me reiterate the CM way of learning a language:

 First is oral language- French, for example. French is the traditional first language for CM children to tackle because France is close to England and most English children were at least a little familiar with it. Many middle and upper class English families are Bilingual already. American children might begin with Spanish/Mexican for the same reason - I did, because we have Mexican relatives. Whatever language is chosen, you begin with names and very simple phrases in which the names may be substituted - everything in your house, everyone in your family. 20 phrases in 60 school days is the traditional PNEU school plan, with extra vocabulary. In addition, the children will be learning songs in the language and hearing stories and rhymes that use the words and phrases they know. Once they know they are hearing "Little Red Riding Hood", for example, they should be able to follow pretty well. (I have a darling LRRH 3D fold-out book in Spanish that my children adored.) Reading familiar Scripture is a good idea. This will be about 4 brief periods during a week, plus the singing when they sing. Remember much of the singing is during the PE/Drill period - CM believed in what we call aerobic exercise, with singing during the exercise. (I believe she would have loved the Chicken Fat song!)

 Copywork is begun at about third grade - after the child is thoroughly conversational in the second language. They will do about three years of copywork of increasing difficulty and types - poetry, literature, Scripture- just like their English work. When they have done about a year of English written Narration (age 10 - 12 ish) then they will begin doing written narration in French. However, French will be decreasing to two or three lessons a week - perhaps one to read literature, one to write a narration, and one to do a dictation? This will continue through High School, and the writing will change to translating literature. (Have a try at the tombstone at the end of Les Miz if you want a really difficult Final Exam. It's written in a very formal, stylized, literary past tense that you only see on tombstones.)

 (In college I had to read "The Plague", and the only available copy was in French, which I had not studied since 6th grade. I had a dictionary. However, by the end of the book I reading as rapidly as in English. Spanish and German helped a lot.)

 As soon as copywork is begun in French, the child begins the process again with a third language! CM suggested German, which is extremely useful in both the business and Scientific communities. It proceeds the same way - two or three years of oral work, phrases, vocabulary, stories and songs before beginning copywork. then written Narration.

 Now at about 6th grade/ Junior High do you think you get a break? No - once you begin copywork in German you begin Language #3. CM suggested Italian! Happily, she only seems to have considered this to be a traveler's convenience - the children were to learn basic phrases and useful words (where's the bathroom? I don't want wine with dinner.), and to read enough to manage schedules, timetables, and menus.

 Do you think that sounds like enough? You now have children who are fluent in three languages and learning to get around in a fourth. N-o-o!

In High School, when they begin to seriously study grammar, the children will also begin Latin! Now, I realize that many children will have begun Latin earlier. We discussed Latin programs this Summer and several were suitable for younger children IF they were well begun in writing and grammar already. CM left Latin for 9th grade on purpose. She wanted it to be part of the children's History and Geography work. 11th and 12 grades will traditionally be the years they study Greece and Rome, and they really do it! Geography will include detailed mapping. Since English composition and Literature, French, German, and Italian are continuing, almost half of the CM high school program involves language work! Isn't it a blessing that much of it can overlap when you are using Living Books - that History and Literature and Composition can be in any language, for example?

 Latin is easier than you might think - English, French, and German are "Romance" languages with Latin roots. Many people include roots in English lessons- the book "English From the Roots Up", and the "Rummy Roots" game are very popular. Thus, Latin usually proceeds very rapidly. The Latin programs I looked at all included copywork from the beginning, but also included tapes. Most were tied to History work - one to the popular Greenleaf "Famous Men of Rome" program. After two years of oral work AND copywork, the children should be beginning translations. This is serious stuff - the English University system insisted on fluency. A standard entrance question was "How many books of Virgil have you translated?" Not read- they really meant translated for yourself! The standard answer is 4! CM knew this, and much of the last two years of high school was centered around this requirement. Thus the emphasis on Greece and Roman history, taken directly from the books the children were translating. Also, I was glad to read that here illustration and mapping counted for their written narration - the children were expected to do a great deal of drawing out the battles, clothing, architecture, and maps. Working models might also be constructed.

 Don't forget Greek, either. As with the Italian, she does not seem to consider this as needing to be learned quite as thoroughly. Greek is taken up in 10th grade as part of the History work when the children study Greece and Greek Literature. A foundation of vocabulary and basic copywork is needed. Greek is expected to be studied in depth in College or University.

 Before you panic here, remember that in Charlotte's day most children simply did not go to University. Most don't even today. In her day High School was intended for college preparatory work - most children graduated at 8th or 10th grades and went to work or into apprenticeship programs.

 Now that everyone who has read this far is thoroughly worried, let me tell you that this is a VERY difficult program! Most of us will never include this many languages in this depth. Don't worry about it - individualize for your situation. Your child may be playing first cello in the city orchestra at 14 (yes, I know a CM child who is). Your child may be preparing for the Olympics, or running their own business, preparing for a ministry or to become a CM Mama-at-home. If your child is to become a mechanic instead of a college professor, you need to remember what Cathy said so beautifully last week:

 "We talk a lot about the technicalities of CM's philosophy--rightly so, that's what the list is for. Miss Mason's goal, however, was not 'properly educated students'. Throughout her Home Education series she stressed the reason behind her educational method. She hoped that we would all be fit for service. Whatever our Sovereign has planned for us, we may prepare by training ourselves in habits of self-discipline in body, mind and emotions, and securing every ability that a generous education provides. our utmost for His highest- Cathy in pa"

 What about the child beginning CM at an older age, such as a 15yo or the 17yo sophomore someone mentioned recently? I've said it before - begin where you are! If you have a couple of years of some language under your belt, keep it up and begin a third. If you have never studied a second language at all (and most American public school children will not have), choose one and begin immediately! I would suggest a year of a second language before beginning Latin. Two to 4 years of intensive work in a language and in Latin will give a good foundation for college.

 What about languages for the special children we are discussing in another thread? A child who cannot handle English - who is learning disabled, or seriously handicapped? I suggest trying Sign Language! I have heard good reports from families with dyslexia, adhd, and even serious problems. I know one family whose child will never speak (a rare genetic condition) - but he has learned names and some basic needs in Sign. Try it!

 What did I choose for us? Spanish, Latin, and ASL.

 Lynn H



Beginning CM with the Older Child

Hi all,

 From our CMason Page: 3.) The older child just beginning CM? This may be as a transition from a homeschool textbook program (see the Charlotte Mason Communique, Spring 97), or coming home from the public school. Many of these children seem to be boys.

 Actually, this question has been kicking around the list for a while, so it's time for some focus. I believe this will be one of the Topics in Catherine Levison's new book, but that's not due out until the end of the year. I can't wait that long. My son is 15. We have 3 years of High School left.

 Resources / suggested reading

 I have collected my own notes on High School the CM way on this page. It's still fairly disorganized, but I'm trying to bring some order to chaos.
My own High School booklist These really are the books we have read, an incomplete list but my own. I also have several lists from friends there. Wendi's painfully collected highschool list from the Series, Volume 6 - she's going to have her own page sooner or later, but until she does she has given me permission to post her list of some of the actual titles CM and the PNEU schools used.
Charlotte Mason Series, Volume 6
Charlotte Mason Communique, Spring 97 (this is Catherine Levison's magazine, now out of print)
Good Life and Good Literature (Connie Foss's magazine)

 The question is NOT "How" to teach High School the CM way. That's easy - more of the same, once you get accustomed to the way. There are schedules, there are books, there are essays and articles on how to teach Science, and so on. Some of them I wrote myself.

The question here IS "How do we BEGIN with an older child?". This child may have been well or poorly taught using other curricula. They may be coming out of public school, private school, several years of homeschool-in-a-box. In all cases you have a deadline - this child is only going to be doing homeschool a few more years. College, jobs, and homes of their own are on the horizon.

 My answer is also fairly simple. Begin where you are. Evaluate where you need to go, and make a Plan to get there. I would do this with the child, at a time when you can sit down together with a notebook and be undisturbed. I have such a notebook, and it is the core of our Plan. Get a manual, such as Cathy Duffy's, and use it.

 By high school you need to be preparing a transcript for graduation, possibly for college. You will (of course) include a detailed booklist, your Science Notebooks, perhaps a portfolio of essays, photographs of projects, newspaper clippings if your child writes to the paper or gets their name in (perhaps 4H or other activities). Some States have requirements about what you must include in such records, but do not limit yourself to the requirements. Your goal here is to provide the paper trail that shows what your child can accomplish. If they sail around the world, include their Log; if they paint the church take a picture. Also, begin as early as possible to collect letters of recommendation for your child. When they work at the Video store, ask the owner for a Letter. When they take a summer college Drama course, get a letter from the teacher along with the grade.

 Those, of course, are general suggestions that apply to almost anyone. I wrote much the same yesterday to someone who asked me about homeschooling their 14yo.

 However, I believe the same Idea applies to beginning CM with an older child. Begin where you are. If your child has not learned narration, their essays are going to be flat. If they are used to formal lab reports (oh haleluia, a child who can do formal writing), they are not going to understand nature walks.

 Here I will offer a few, perhaps limp, suggestions on how to BEGIN using the CM methods with older children who are not used to them. Read-alouds will reduce, silent reading will increase dramatically. There will be less oral narration than with younger children, more written. However, instead of expecting detailed recitations, ask this child questions designed to make them think about what they heard or read. The basic 6 - "Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How" are the key. Ask the questions, and expect to be involved in discussing the answers! Getting a literature guide for the major works and discussing the questions in it can be very helpful. Writing Strands (and others, but this is the one I have) offer a Literature Guide that explains major themes, symbols in literature, plots and characterizations. This can be very helpful if you, like me, are weak in English.

 Copywork will continue/ begin. This is the way to teach the patterns of composition. Again, I suggest getting a guide like Writing Strands if you are weak (like me). Using such a guide, or doing it yourself if you know how to progress from one type to another, give copywork as good examples for something. Sonnets, perhaps? Have the child copy several. Analyze the structure, then attempt to write something in that format. Once the proper format is learned, it is used. Your child may develop a whole notebook of their own poetry. Or, they may not. Perhaps this child just isn't a poet but will become a fantastic technical writer when you work on that pattern. Use these learned patterns in the other studies - perhaps asking the child to write a sonnet about Caesar? How about a newspaper article on the Punic Wars?

 Math. Math the CM way is taught oral first, then with some concrete examples (manipulatives, models, diagrams) then with a few written examples, then the child does a few, perhaps a page. Application is essential. The sample CM schedules would have the child working on two to three different kinds of math at the same time - practical arithmetic (bookkeeping) one day, algebra another, and Geometry a third. This was to avoid tiring the brain. There are only a few math programs popular for high school - algebra and beyond. Only Math U See goes completely through with manipulatives, though Cornerstone is coming along. Geometry students should also look in the Timberdoodle catalog under the Drafting supplies. Other math programs for high school (Jacobson, Saxon, assorted CDROMs) will need to be supplemented. Otherwise Math will be pretty much the same as in any school.

 History / Geography / Literature /Language. I group these together because for the CM student, they are together. For example, the child will be studying Rome and Greece; reading Plutarch and Caesar; drawing maps; learning Latin and translating Virgil - it all works together! This same child will be studying Geometry, developed by the Greeks, and perhaps diagramming.

 Thus, to begin you need a reading list! Divided roughly by area or time period, the child reads! It is more important that they read well, not widely. A single well-chosen, well written biography of a real person in a key place or time will teach more than all the dry textbooks. A well chosen novel can do much the same. A CM child will be reading in many books at once, over extended periods so that they can think about what they read. It would not be unusual for a single book (perhaps Plutarch?) to take several years to finish. However, they are expected to finish about 40 per year in high school.

 Time for me to quit. Tell me how YOU begin an older child in some specific area, and how you continue?

 Lynn H

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