I love your approach, Lissa. Why stick to one way of teaching and learning?
You know, I can see an argument in favor of adopting one consistent methodology and sticking to it. Actually, Charlotte Mason herself makes that argument in my beloved Volume 6:
“The reader will say with truth,—’I knew all this before and have always acted more or less on these principles’; and I can only point to the unusual results we obtain through adhering, not ‘more or less,’ but strictly to the principles and practices I have indicated. I suppose the difficulties are of the sort that Lister had to contend with; every surgeon knew that his instruments and appurtenances should be kept clean, but the saving of millions of lives has resulted from the adoption of the great surgeon’s antiseptic treatment; that is, from the substitution of exact principles scrupulously applied, for the rather casual ‘more or less’ methods of earlier days.”
I admit to having sometimes read these words with a wince, feeling a pang of guilt over not having scrupulously applied any one set of principles. I am an adapter, a tweaker, a “take what works and leave the rest” sort. And here we see Miss Mason herself tsk-tsking the “casual” manner in which I have applied her ideas to my children’s education.
(It isn’t really “casual.” I’m just not going 100% by her book.)
After the wince I always remember that I am working with real people here, and real circumstances quite unlike any Miss Mason might have envisioned when designing her curriculum. She can’t have imagined a mother trying to hear narrations while a hard-of-hearing toddler chatters loudly in the background, like an old man with an ear trumpet unaware that he’s shouting, and a winsome baby steals the pupils’ attention by threatening to take her first walk across the carpet when (gasp, not permitted!) Daddy isn’t home. I doubt she envisioned her method being put to work in homes in which the bulk of the day consists of one adult having full responsibility for the care and education of multiple children, AND meal preparation, AND basic housekeeping. And our “ands” could go on, couldn’t they? AND having paid work to do, AND having to spend a lot of time traveling to doctors’ appointments, AND etc etc etc.
Which is not to say one CAN’T home-educate in complete accordance with Charlotte Mason’s principles. Many people do (check out the Ambleside webring), beautifully, happily, and with great success.
I’m just saying that for me, my family, our tastes and circumstances, CM-inspired works better than full-on CM.
I Bet the Snails Smelled Worse
“Look for a lovely thing and you will find it”
From the Archives: Life on the Trail
Homeschooling Books: A Wish List for Libraries