- "First.--Proceed from what is known to what is unknown, in other words touch upon old associations with former lessons or experiences before plunging into something fresh.
- Secondly.--Give simple ideas before complex.
- Thirdly.--Work from the concrete to the abstract, or don't fly before you can walk.
- Fourthly.--Illustrations are the hooks which fasten ideas to the mind.
- Fifthly.--Reproduction is the only proof of retention, therefore narration or recapitulation must form a part of the each lesson.
- Sixthly.--An idea is valuable in proportion as it enlarges the mental vision, forms the ground-work of a valuable habit, and is simple, clear, definite and suitable to the degree of experience in the pupil.
Lap-books, scripted activity books assigned by the teacher, unit studies where the teacher makes the connection and gives the children activities to do- these are not 'self-activities' unless the child seeks them out and plans them himself.
Bible- for ethics and a closer relationship with their Creator.
"We do not, even for tiny children, advocate "Bible stories," but actual passages from the sacred text, for the wonderful grand old English in which it is written has been more than one great writer's school of language, and will, with necessary explanations, be far more impressive and likely to carry the contained idea, than the paraphrase of some well-meaning but common-place teacher."
(note: there were at least two other more contemporary translations than the KJV available in Miss Mason's time and there were multiple Bible story books available).
If the child learns his history at first hand from the writings of the times, whether they be the Saxon Chronicles or _With Kitchener to Khartoum_, the phraseology will help him as a model on which to form his own, as well as a key to the spirit of bygone ages.
This is followed by grammar, which is also learned contextually at first, rather than through workbooks, through the introduction of names for the ideas with which the child is already familiar- we use words to make sentences and convey thoughts. Sentences which are about nobody or nothing are not sensible and do not convey complete thoughts- and so on (more in volume one)
We believe in the necessity of learning as many languages as possible, because we believe in that "open-door" policy, and though a language may not be learned fully during school-days, even a slight familiarity with Italian, for example, may lead to --Dante?
Comparison with what they know at home, on a smaller scale, or comprehension by contrast, as for example, "Imagine those green fields to your left reared straight on end, and they would be like the South Downs, etc,"--are valuable as bringing facts, very remote in themselves, within the children's experience. The first beginnings of geography--its foundations will be laid long before the schoolroom days, at home, for geography is essentially a subject which must progress outwards from the circle of the child's experience, he begins by learning to know a hill, a river, a field, a village, and to reproduce them in sand or clay.
The recognition of the beautiful and the cultivation of taste are, we hope, to form part of our children's education and character.
A Charlotte Mason education is a wide and generous education because we wish to have broad or wide and generous minds. It isn't always easy, especially to those of us who were defrauded of a meaningful education. It is worth the effort. The rewards are also wide and generous.
Take heart. You can do what you need to do. This will not look like exactly what I did, or precisely the same as that person with the lovely pinterest board or the perfect nature study book. It will look like it ought to look for your family. Start with the principles and build from their. Practices are useful, but they will vary.