High School at Home with Charlotte Mason

High School at Home with Charlotte Mason

Many homeschoolers are inspired by Charlotte Mason’s emphasis on nature study, living books, and narration. However, it can be difficult to envision what this emphasis would look like in high school. Does the Charlotte Mason method lose its distinctive features when teaching older teens? Or do Mason’s ideas have a unique application in the final years of homeschool?

These questions were on the minds of the Life-giving Motherhood community when I spoke to them in August. Drawing from my research about Charlotte Mason and the PNEU, as well as from my personal experience with two graduates, I shared my perspective on high school at home with the Charlotte Mason method. In my talk I emphasized that the distinctive features of the method don’t fade in these final years; rather, they glow ever brighter. You can hear the live recording here:

Life-giving Motherhood is a community of Gospel-reliant moms, intent on being disciples and disciplers of Christ, who have united to answer the call of raising up the next generation in accordance with God’s Word, by cultivating the spiritual disciplines lived out by Christ, and by replacing unproductive habits with life-giving, productivity-boosting habits. They will be opening their doors for new moms to join from November 1 to 10 this year.

3 Replies to “High School at Home with Charlotte Mason”

  1. Thank you for this Art! You’ve got my wheels turning about high school even though we are only in Form 1. Question for you regarding focusing more on math than foreign language in high school. Did you do math twice a day then and/or extend the time slot to cover more material than was originally done in Mason’s schools? Thank you again for sharing this! I’m excited to talk to my husband about it as we think through our own children’s education.

    1. Thank you for listening to this episode and asking this question. In the episode, I noted that in Charlotte Mason’s day, the Parents’ Union Schools thoroughly covered three foreign languages (French, German, and Italian) as well as Latin. At the same time, the math program went up to basic trigonometry. I suggested that in our current era, perhaps we should consider dropping two of those foreign languages and instead go farther in math. My proposal would be to thoroughly cover one foreign language and Latin, and then consider going up to calculus in high school.

      A challenge I hear with this approach is that many homeschool parents do not feel equipped to teach their children upper-level math. But I think following Mason’s historical program is even more challenging. I have never met a homeschool parent who felt confident she could personally teach her children three foreign languages and Latin. If the burden of learning two of those languages is lifted, then perhaps the mother could devote her summers to her own study of math so she can be ready to teach upper-level math when the time comes.

      The way I approach this in the time table is to follow the PNEU’s lead in treating geometry and algebra as separate streams of math. I never have more than one algebra lesson in a day. However, there are days when my thirteen-year-old has an algebra lesson in the morning and a geometry lesson in the afternoon. Similarly, when my daughter was in high school, I taught her Algebra II in parallel with trigonometry. I treated trigonometry as a sequel to geometry, and my daughter had no problem learning both subjects together.