Actually, I think I do have it figured out. The Charlotte Mason lifestyle has always, always, always worked for my family. We are so much more peaceful, the children enjoy learning and reading, and we are generally much happier when we are using Charlotte's methods.
So why do I always mess with what works?
I have been asking myself this question. While we trying a very rigid, very textbook, very public-school like curriculum with my older two (including DVD instruction for every subject!), I was such a different person:
- I was stressed out all the time.
- I was angry at my children and I didn't know why.
- I was yelling (!).
- I felt overwhelmed - I was always trying to grade a test or quiz, check review questions, trying to figure out what they were each learning...
- I was unhappy.
- I envied my sister, who has all four of her kids in public school.
- I didn't want to quit the curriculum because I don't like being a quitter. I knew if I kept using the curriculum, though, I would quit homeschooling.
- I didn't know exactly what was wrong with me.
That's when I knew I was going back.
Charlotte Mason's style of education works for our family. The living books, the short lessons, the Notebooking, the nature study, the enrichment, the family lessons, the handicrafts...
Busy work was killing their love of learning. Tests, quizzes, questions and answers, boring textbooks - these were sucking the joy out of my children.
I decided to jump into the Charlotte Mason education. They will be using living books for history, science, and language arts. They will be learning life skills and handicrafts that will be useful for their adult lives. They will be reading good literature and discussing it. They will be notebooking what they learn instead of answering questions and taking tests. They will be allowed to linger pleasantly in books. They will take nature walks, enjoy famous painting and classical music, and read poetry.
We will enjoy learning again.