Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Charlotte Mason Style Planning Template

[Photo by austinevan.]

Last Friday, I mentioned how impressed I am with the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason. I do like Ambleside Online, and we used the program for a couple of years, but I had so many other favorite books that I wanted to include in our schooling --- how could I bring everything all together?

Like a one-lady cavalry, the Headmistress/Zookeeper at The Common Room comes to the rescue with a wonderful blog post:

She guides you through the process of organizing a curriculum, with plenty of places to weave your family's favorite books into the schedule. Then she offers the beginnings of a weekly plan that helps you fit it all in without feeling overwhelmed.

I especially like how she organizes the "free reading" assignments:
"My husband laughs at calling assigned books 'free reading,' but they are 'free' because the children are free to choose what order and how quickly to read them. As my scholars grow older, they are also free not to read everything on our list. This is not an option for the younger students in my home, but I do give them shorter lists."

"Here's how we handle free reading: I pick out a few books (5-10, most of my Progeny are rapid and avid readers) and either put them in a stack, basket, or box, or I just write the titles down. I tell the children that for the next month or two, whenever they want to read, they need to choose from this stack. When they have finished reading through that list, they can read what they want. I usually give them a month or two in between free reading lists before I assign a new one."

"However, I have found that I seldom have to impose the new list from on high. What has happened for years is that the children read through their stack, read a few of their own choices, and then come to me and ask me for some more suggestions for what to read, and that's when I give them the next batch of free reading books."
Another valuable tip: The Headmistress doesn't write out too specific of a schedule, with dates and page numbers. Instead, she uses sticky notes as bookmarks, and on each note she writes which days of the week she plans to read from that book. What uncommon sense! Without a specific page assignment, we don't have to feel guilty about falling behind --- or (as is more likely with Princess Kitten) about reading ahead.

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