Simply Charlotte Mason vs HOD

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Simply Charlotte Mason vs HOD

Postby Sub01 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 8:14 pm

I have used Little Hands to Heaven, Little Hearts for His Glory and am now using Beyond Little Hearts. I’ve been learning more about Charlotte Mason method by reading the first volume and I’ve started the second volume. I have enjoyed heart of Dakota, but I feel a desire to move in a more CM direction. For example, the history books in Little Hearts were very textbook-ish to me. They didn’t really stick with us. I supplemented lots of picture books with the American history portion and those were really helpful..I like American pioneers and Partriots more but I wonder if there might be a better way...

I’ve recently begun contemplating if SCM might be a good fit. I really love the science options for nature study with living books and nature notebooks scheduled in. I’m already adding that in on a small scale but definitely want more in that area. I also have 4 children right now and could definitely have more, Lord willing. I know HOD isn’t big on combining, but it seems HOD is a better fit for smaller families. From my limited observations, it seems like having all the children trying to
Do their own guide ends up with the youngest ones getting left in the dust bc mom just doesn’t have time to physically fit in that many different demands (especially with pregnancies/newborn/toddlers interrupting). I see how individual studies could benefit but it seems for a larger family, a more streamlined approach could really benefit the children- especially the youngers. And SCM has books for the family but then also additional books according to the age ranges in the family making it a little more individualized but also more streamlined.

I started out thinking I would tweak HOD to make it more like I’m envisioning but I’m finding that i don’t get to the “extra” and then I see SCM scheduling in things that I’m trying so hard to add!

Has anyone used SCM? Any thoughts or comparisons? I NEVER thought I would want to move away from HOD. But...I’m wondering. Thanks for reading and any help!!


Edited to add: I have a 7 yo girl, then 5, 3, and 1 year old boys
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Re: Simply Charlotte Mason vs HOD

Postby kidsforHim » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:27 pm

Hi, I sent you a Private message :D
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Re: Simply Charlotte Mason vs HOD

Postby twolittlebears » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:42 pm

I actually ran into the same dilemma that you are in, last year in our homeschooling journey. Last year we used a pure Charlotte Mason approach, but I kept thinking about HOD and how I much preferred Carrie's book choices. Some of the books were interesting, like Tanglewood Tales, yet the biographies and map books were dry and boring for my sons. We were supposed to read Robinson Crusoe, and my boys couldn't understand anything, I had to explain it all! (They were 9 ad 12 if that helps, and they are used to older books.) That's when I decided that enough is enough, I have a certain amount of years to teach them, and I didn't want to waste this precious time if our books weren't working for us. And we picked back up in Preparing where we had left off, and now will begin CTC in 2 weeks.
So I found this quote from Carrie, by searching "ambleside online" on the forum, and I thought it may help you as it did me. You could also search Charlotte Mason or CM to find more discussions. Carrie walked this exact same path, only using ambleside online. I hope her testimony blesses and helps you as it did me!

Carrie wrote:This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart, as I used Ambleside Online for 4 years with my oldest son, before I wrote the HOD guides for his level. He used the AO years right on grade level (using each level exactly as written), using Ambleside 3 in grade 3, AO 4 in grade 4, AO in 5 in grade 5, and AO 6 in grade 6. He did use DITHR along the way with AO. After that he began piloting guides for HOD, beginning with CTC. :D

Since we did AO as written and did it for multiple years, I feel pretty clear when I share my thoughts about our AO experience. First of all, I am grateful to that program for introducing me to Charlotte Mason and for helping me learn about the CM way of schooling. I was thrilled with CM's focus on character training and the importance of God's Word, and I remain enthralled with that today. Her methods of studied dictation were a complete breakthrough, and I believe there is nothing better. CM's slower, more thoughtful reading process and the deeper thinking about what was read is pure genius. Fewer books done better is still my motto. We enjoyed our years in AO to some extent, and I definitely felt good about some of the old, classic books I was introduced to along the way. :D

My oldest son was one of those early readers who could read the AO books without trouble. He definitely rose to the challenge and completed his assignments without difficulty. He was a natural narrator and was not a fan of writing. He completed his school in a timely fashion and did what he was asked without complaint. However, the further we went down the Ambleside path, the more I found that there were some definite problems running under the surface of his education. :o

The first bump that appeared was his outright dislike of orally narrating every text. He began to really frown over narrating, even though he could do it easily. The next bump appeared after we ramped up the number of written narrations he was doing daily. While he did them well, it began taking him longer and longer to complete them; and he began to really dread written narrations. The next bump that appeared was his lack of enthusiasm for the book selections. This really surprised me. The antiquated language and the old-fashioned story lines began to color his opinion of the books he was reading (and this was a child who loved to read anything). He didn't complain about the books, but he was no longer excited about his school day or about what he would read. I also felt like there was no guidance on Scripture instruction or character training as part of AO, and so I felt alone in coming up with my own plan for this.

From my perspective as a teacher there were also increasing bumps. First, I felt that my son's days were pretty repetitive, with him reading and narrating... reading and narrating.... and reading and narrating. We did do poetry, composer study, hymn study, nature walks, and handicrafts (doing one of these each day); but it still seemed like his day involved a lot of reading and narrating. My oldest is such a hands-on child that he missed more activity. As a teacher, I missed the connections that can be made through a more unit study approach through projects, timeline, research, geography, primary source documents, guided drawing practice, notebooking etc. I also increasingly felt like the delayed approach to formal grammar and writing instruction was leaving me wondering how to talk to my son about grammar and writing skills that I felt he was needing earlier than CM advocated. Many other skills that I wanted my son to be gaining along the way also seemed to be left to me to figure out how to add into our day, as they weren't a formal part of AO. Skills like dictation and copywork were also left for me to implement, gleaning from CM's guidance. :wink:

While in the beginning, I loved the idea of a more streamlined day with the focus on reading and narrating, as I watched my son's enthusiasm for school and learning wane through the years, I began to see that the things I felt he was missing... he was missing too. I began asking myself, just because my son could read Robinson Crusoe as a 9 year old, should he? Or, would he benefit more from it later, when he had more maturity? When Pilgrim's Progress scared him, as he read it at such a young age, because he was worried he couldn't face the trials that Christian faced; might it have been better to save this book for a time when he was more mature and could really appreciate the complexities of the allegory and be encouraged by Christian's journey? The further we went, the more I began to see that maturity has as much, or more, to do with enjoying the richness of classic books as reading level does. Some books are richer when read later. :D

There is never the same newness or awe of reading a classic book as the first time you read it, so why not wait until the newness and the richness can come together and be appreciated by a mature reader? Why not read the easier wonderful classics and new classics too when your child is younger, saving the harder classics for when your child is older? As I pondered these questions, I realized I wanted a booklist with a different balance of books... one that took into account the fact that our young children are not living in the same era as Charlotte Mason lived and that they are not exposed to many of the hardships faced on a daily basis during that time... one that knows that a balance of old books and new books is important and that a balance of skills is too! So, I began the quest of taking as much of CM's philosophy as I agreed with and adding in the skills I knew from my own 20 years of teaching experience would be necessary for kiddos in this day and age of education. What appeared then was our guides from CTC on up. :D

When my son made the switch from AO to doing CTC, I can honestly say that it was challenging. He was being asked to do things in CTC that he had not done before, and his day was definitely longer. Yet, by the end of the year I had seen so much growth in my son spiritually and Godly character-wise that I was a firm believer that the switch had been a good one. What's more, my son was enjoying his learning again, even with a longer day. His day was much more varied and overall I felt his learning was richer. I knew exactly what to expect from him each day, and he knew exactly what was expected of him. He no longer dreaded narrations, as they were only once daily and rotated among the subjects. The balance of books piqued his interest, and I often found him digging deeper into topics that interested him. He began voluntarily sharing about things that he'd learned and our dialogues were filled with enthusiasm. Likewise, my interactions with him were much more varied, and I was more enthusiastic as well. My son opened up about his faith, and we had opportunities all throughout the year right within the guide to talk about his walk (and mine) with the Lord. :D It was the education I'd wanted him to have, but could never figure out how to give him. :D My other kiddos have only ever done HOD; and I must say that within their education I continue to find this same richness, love for reading, solid balance of skills, teacher guidance and help, focus on God's Word, opportunities for character training, and academic excellence too. :D

Every year, as we begin pondering the next HOD guide, I pull back out CM's original volumes and reread all that pertains to the stage of learning we are entering. I take as much as I agree with from her philosophy and then add things from my own research and 25 years of experience as a teacher and educator as well. So, within HOD you will see a CM education with some differences. You will see her wonderful focus on reading living books and narrating from them, doing copywork and dictation, composer study, artist appreciation, hymn study, nature journal, steady diet of poetry, sketching practice, timeline work, etc.; but you will also see the richness of research, hands-on projects, notebooking, formal writing instruction, formal English instruction, geography lessons, lessons on primary source documents, mapping, etc. I know that CM also included many of these things I just listed, however I was in desperate need of presenting these things from a teaching standpoint in an organized fashion. I needed it to be laid out for me as a teacher to guide, direct, and facilitate my kiddos' learning. I wanted lessons that lent themselves to helping my kiddos make connections as they were learning. More than that I wanted God at the center of my boys' learning and His Word integrated throughout our day. I wanted character training to be a part of each guide and training in becoming a Godly young man or woman to be a part of every year. This is how we designed HOD. :D

While each family must make their own choices as to what they are looking for in their children's eduction, I wanted to share a bit more about what I was looking for in my boys' education and why we wrote the guides the way we did. AO was a part of my oldest son's journey that I learned much from. I can honestly say it helped me fine-tune my philosophy of education and know in my heart what I believe about how kiddos' learn. It helped me take my 11 years teaching in the public school classroom, combined with 2 years of doing my master's in education to be a principal, and then another 12 years as a homeschool teacher and put them together to reach the philosophy I hold today. Implementing this philosophy, as we write our guides with a balanced approach to skills and learning, continues to be a journey for me that I enjoy. :D I pray you will find what you are seeking too. :D

Blessings,
Carrie
Married to my best friend 18 years
DS 10yo CTC (finished: MFWK, SL Core A, LHFHG, Delectable Ed, PHFHG)
DS 13yo CTC w/extensions (finished: WP Animal Worlds, MFW1, SL Core B, BLHFHG, BHFHG, Delectable Ed, PHFHG)
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Re: Simply Charlotte Mason vs HOD

Postby Sub01 » Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:35 pm

WOW! Thank you SO much for posting what Carrie wrote about AO.

I am struggling so much with this! In Little Hearts I really didn’t enjoy the textbook feel of the history at all. And I’m Beyond so far I’m liking them a little more but still wishing for more as far as living books.

I have decided to switch to AO for this semester bc I thought I could tweak HOD and add in nature study (outdoor time, nature journal, and read burgess bird book for children). I also wanted to add in some D’Aulaire biographies. And I have been eyeing the Handbook of Nature Study. So I started thinking about switching...then I revisited looking at AO Year 1 which I did a long time ago. And The Burgess Bird book for children was there! The Handbook Of Nature Study! The D’Aulaire books and even others (like James Herriots Treasury for Children)....all these books that I’ve WANTED and TRIED to fit it but can’t! But I LOVE heart of Dakota. I’m really troubled over this decision and I agree with so much of what Carrie said about being more mature when reading the difficult books...I keep telling myself that it’s no big deal to just taken1 semester and see what happens...I have 1.5 years to do the beyond guide and 1.5 years to do the bigger guide. So I can afford a semester...
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Re: Simply Charlotte Mason vs HOD

Postby Nealewill » Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:12 am

What has kept us with HOD and not switching around is I love the activities and the skills they build through out each guide. It seems like she introduces a skill in one guide and then builds on it for a few more guides. And they are writing, research, cooking (following recipes), art, all kinds of things. Also, we love how balanced the day is.

Now....if there are books we like that HOD doesn't include, I just read those myself to the kids in addition to other things they are doing, especially when the kids are younger. We read most of the D'Aulaire biographies and several of the Burgess Books (there were three longer ones that my kids loved) just for fun together. Since my kids loved when I read to them, we would read things over the summer a lot. And even during the school year, I would read things to the kids at night a lot. Plus, with the younger guides, they don't take nearly as much time up during the day as the older guides. So reading other books worked out perfectly if i wanted to include them.
Daneale

DD 13 WG
DS 12 R2R
DD 10 R2R

Enjoyed DITHOR, Little Hearts, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CTC, R2R, RevtoRev, MtMM
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Re: Simply Charlotte Mason vs HOD

Postby MamaP3 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:26 am

I just want to say thank you for asking the original question and especially thank you for the answer with the quote/post from Carrie. Coming from using Ambleside for only a year and having the same concerns Carrie did in her several years, it does this mama's heart some good knowing I'm not crazy for questioning such beautifully put together plans. I really love what the ladies at Ambleside have put together, but I am just not confident enough in my CM knowledge to apply her philosophy on my own. I need a little more hand holding! :wink: I'm so thankful a friend urged me to take a look at HOD because Carrie's plans are exactly what I've tried to put together for this school year on my own, but goodness, she did a fantastic job! I wish I had taken a look at HOD before I bought all of our stuff for this year. I'm so excited to know I've found everything I've been wanting all in one, beautiful, preplanned package.
As far as choosing Ambleside- I think it is a great option for those who understand and can apply all of CM's methods on their own. I just wasn't prepared to do that. I still haven't read all of her books. My boys also love hands on projects and need more guidance on language arts subjects as those are not strengths. Those are two main reasons we will be switching to HOD next year...a whole year away. :(
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Re: Simply Charlotte Mason vs HOD

Postby twolittlebears » Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:52 am

I completely agree about the books used in AO! My heart was always tugged too by the D'Aulaire and Daughtery books and I own all the Burgess books as well as Handbook of Nature Study. So my opinion is that you add them in!! Keep them out for your children to look at. The beauty with homeschooling, is that the we have that option! What I love to do, to get extra books in, is I will pick say, Burgess Bird book and Parables from Nature, and I will read a few pages every morning to my children. I will also add in Holling C Holling books and maps from Beautiful Feet. So if we are reading special AO books each day, in just 20-30 minutes daily, we are able to supplement those extra living books without sacrificing our HOD curriculum! I think that's where a lot of moms get frustrated, I know that I have. I would think that I needed to actually switch curriculum because one used certain books I liked over the other. What I have finally realized a few years ago, is that it's best to choose the curriculum that will fit your needs all the way through high school. Then once you've decided the one that is for you, then you add in all of the beautiful books from other places that you don't want your children to miss. It's like making a meal. Choose your main dish and then add in the sides! I hope that helps. We as mamas have the freedom to read whatever we want! And if you want to go off and focus on birds, then by all means do it! CTC does have a bird study, and that is a great time to add in the Burgess Bird book, but you can read it whenever you want. It doesn't all have go together perfectly. It's like God's word, we build precept upon precept, here a little there a little. The point is that our children are constantly learning. It doesn't all have to be perfectly laid out. Their minds are brilliant and they are able to add information to what they've learned about, say birds, in 2nd grade and then add to it in 5th grade, for example.

As far as CM, honestly I followed a pure CM curriculum last year through a Delectable Education. My children loved the short lessons and the idea that once the timer went off, copywork was done, or math was done! That can also be done with HOD. Just set a timer for copywork and grammar lessons etc. I was reading a larger amount of books to my children, and we did enjoy that, but many of the books were so dry and nothing really connected for us the way that it does in HOD. So we came back, and I feel more confident in my teaching now that I had that experience. I think we need permission from other moms to know that it's ok to not like a book and you CAN substitute another one that you find you like better. Even with HOD. But I do want to say that if you swap out books, you do risk tweaking so much that you aren't even doing HOD anymore. That's where some moms, no matter what curriculum they use, get burnt out and frustrated. I personally use HOD exactly as written because I see the fruits of the method after a few years. But I add in to feed my mama heart if I have time! You can also add in books to what your children read quietly to themselves daily. Or add in to the read a loud or substitute there, as long as it's not affecting your historical read alouds. I have found that Carrie actually does schedule in many of the AO books, just at later and more appropriate ages for the children, IMHO. Hope some of this rambling helps!
Personally, I could redo every grade with my kids 3 times over, because there are just so many amazing books out there that I want in their little hearts and minds. But the truth is, I can only read so much to them. So I try and choose my absolute favorites so that I have no regrets once they leave my homeschool. If they love God and love to read, then my goal is accomplished!
Married to my best friend 18 years
DS 10yo CTC (finished: MFWK, SL Core A, LHFHG, Delectable Ed, PHFHG)
DS 13yo CTC w/extensions (finished: WP Animal Worlds, MFW1, SL Core B, BLHFHG, BHFHG, Delectable Ed, PHFHG)
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Re: Simply Charlotte Mason vs HOD

Postby kidsforHim » Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:11 pm

Hi, Would you mind sharing how things are going for you? You can send me a private message if you'd rather.
Thanks :)
Becky
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