Saturday, September 20, 2008

Charlotte Mason's "Use of Books Makes for Short Hours"

I picked up volume 3 of The Home School Series: School Education. I wanted to see what she said about the time needed for school for this age group (since School Education tends to deal with middle school-aged students).

I found the emphasis she placed on "Books and Things" for a good education interesting. Books, of course, should be living books and should be part of a wide curriculum.

"Things" included:
  • natural obstacles for physical contention, climbing, swimming, walking
  • material to work in -- wood, leather, clay, etc.
  • natural objects in situ (in site) -- birds, plants, streams, stones, etc.
  • objects of art
  • scientific apparatus, etc.

Then, on page 240, she says that the use of books makes for short hours.

In her schools, all bookwork, writing, preparation and reports were done between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. for the youngest group and 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. for the oldest group. That is six days a week, not just five, from what I understand (it doesn't say this in the book). That makes from 15 to 24 hours per week of the work described above: bookwork, writing, preparation (of what is not specified) and reports.

Then, there was one to two hours in the afternoon for handicrafts, field work, drawing and more. (Music practice comes to mind.)

Evenings were free for hobbies and family reading.

In the past, I have scheduled our days with a bit of variety, moving from one type of activity to another, not paying any attention to the "bookwork in the morning" aspect.

I am considering scheduling our day so that all this bookwork is done in the morning hours. I think it might be a good way to do school. I'll have to see if I can fit everything in in those morning hours and what it is like, but I can imagine the relief in getting those things done and then having the afternoons for more outside or other types of studies.

No comments: