A Charlotte Mason Writing Lesson
First, I explain why I’m focusing subject by subject. Also, I include Charlotte Mason quotes because I find her original lectures on education to be SO inspiring and helpful.
Next, please keep reading to see the break down of implementing lessons, the schedule, and resources I’m using that fit our family. Finally, I share the wealth of quality Charlotte Mason resources I have found helpful, from those mothers who have gone before me.
PREPARING THE FEAST
“Our aim in education is to give a full life. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests.” (Mason, vol. 3)
There are MANY subjects included in a Charlotte Mason education because she believed in spreading a wide feast. Sometimes, it feels a bit daunting for a new homeschooling mama. Therefore, I’m attempting to learn, digest, and absorb how I’m going to be teaching each subject. I have decided to compose a blog post on each subject for Form 1B (roughly First Grade). This will help me prepare to teach my oldest son in the Fall.
“The mind feeds on ideas, and therefore children should have a generous curriculum.” (Mason, vol. 1)
A CHARLOTTE MASON WRITING LESSON
Since I’m homeschooling my son for the first time in the Fall, I choose to focus first on completing a Charlotte Mason Writing Lesson for a very young elementary student.
First, Charlotte Mason recommends The New Handwriting as a wonderful example and model of handwriting. The creator of The New Handwriting says, “…variety and beauty of form are attractive, even to little children, and that the attempt to create something that interests them, cheers and crowns their stupendous efforts with a pleasure that cannot be looked for in the task of creating monotonous shapes.” (Mason, vol. 1)
When a child (or adult!) is engaging in something interesting, they are more likely to focus, concentrate, take pride, and do good work. In my experience, I do well at something I’m most interested in, because it matters to me. Therefore, if the handwriting is beautiful to the child, they will delight in their achievements, and want to continue to produce neat writing.
The goal of writing will be to accomplish “…a single line which is as exactly as possible a copy of the characters set.” (Mason, vol. 1)
The child will eventually begin to do copywork carefully and perfectly.
“It is sometimes objected that this elaborate and beautiful handwriting will interfere with a characteristic ‘hand,’ but it seems to me that to have a beautiful, instead of a commonplace, basis for handwriting is a great gain.” (Mason, vol. 1)
I’m choosing to follow a Charlotte Mason philosophy, partly because she attempts to find beauty in education. Albert Einstein said, “The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.” Also, throughout the Bible, there are several references to seek truth, beauty, and goodness. Since Charlotte Mason valued the Bible so greatly, I believe she aimed to educate children in a beautiful manner.
“Let the writing lesson be short; it should not last more than five or ten minutes.” (Mason, vol. 1)
Charlotte Mason says writing lessons should take place daily and last about five or ten minutes.
“First, let the child accomplish something perfectly in every lesson–a stroke, a pothook, a letter.” (Mason, vol. 1)
The child is expected to perfectly form the letter or words daily, as this would be an ideal lesson.
“Secure that the child begins by making perfect letters and is never allowed to make faulty ones, and the rest he will do for himself; as for ‘a good hand,’ do not hurry him; his ‘handwriting’ will come by-and-by…” (Mason, vol. 1)
A great beginning point would be to perfectly form one letter each day.
“But the child should have practice in printing before he begins to write. First, let him print the simplest of the capital letters with single curves and straight lines. When he can make the capitals and large letters, with some firmness and decision, he might go on to the small letters…” (Mason, vol. 1)
In the beginning, a very young child should practice writing letters in sand. Then, he can write letters in the air using his fingers. This air wiring is done because it is beneficial for the child to picture the letter in their mind.
“At this stage the chalk and blackboard are better than pen and paper, as it is well that the child should rub out and rub out until his own eye is satisfied with the word or letter he has written.” (Mason, vol. 1)
After these steps are mastered, they can write with chalk, and finally a pencil and paper.
A natural order of handwriting progression, according to Charlotte Mason, could be:
- Write strokes
- Write Uppercase Letters (one at a time)
- Write Lowercase Letters (one at a time)
- Write one word
- Write small phrase or sentence
The goal is to hear spoken words from Mama, and write them down, or dictate them. Also, the children are expected to see words on a page, and copy them. There is no need to have a special book for this; simply dictating or copying from their school books is enough. Since living books are used in a Charlotte Mason, the words already in their school books are an excellent choice to copy from.
Language develops through the ear, eye, and hand. Therefore, hearing the spoken words and writing them down, as well as visually seeing the words and writing them down, are useful skills for a child.
Laura Ingalls Wilder said, “The true way to live is to enjoy every moment as it passes, and surely it is in the everyday things around us that the beauty of life lies.”
As a child grows, he will find some need to write because it is practical. Writing is a way of thinking and processing your thoughts. It is also effective because its serves as a form of communication with others. Also, you can use it to remember important details or to make lists of items that you need.
Finally, writing is another way to see beauty, in a perfectly, carefully formed letter or word. A child delights in his carefully mastered handwriting because he has done well.
Finally, I have come across some outstanding resources in learning about a Charlotte Mason education. I’m so happy to share them with you! Some of these are sources I return to daily because I’m preparing to teach my children. Additionally, I list specific resources for a Charlotte Mason Writing Lesson.
GENERAL CHARLOTTE MASON RESOURCES
- A Charlotte Mason Soiree Educator Courses (free and amazing!)
- A Charlotte Mason Soiree Facebook Support/Discussion Group
- Volume 1 Charlotte Mason’s Home Education
- Volume 2 Charlotte Mason’s Parents and Children
- Volume 3 Charlotte Mason’s School Education
- A Delectable Education Scheduling Cards
- A Delectable Education Curriculum Templates
- Morning Tide to Even Tide Homeschool Planner
CHARLOTTE MASON WRITING LESSON RESOURCES
- A Delectable Education podcast on Writing for Form 1B (First Grade)
- Another A Delectable Education podcast on Language Acquisition
- New Handwriting Resource for Teachers
- Set of inexpensive wooden letters to play with and form words
- These wooden letters are also BEAUTIFUL!
- Beautiful Waldorf Inspired Chalk
- Magnetic Wall Chalkboard (We love this one because we can display our artwork on it also)
- Uppercase and Lowercase Cursive ABC Trace-n-Erase Chalkboard
- Small Travel and Trace Chalkboard Set (We have this for the car and we all LOVE it)
- LOVE this small, chalkboard because it reminds me of a vintage style
- Or, this pack of 12 lap chalkboards (since it is perfect for ALL of your children and you can keep some in the car!)
- Beginning pencils
- Kindergarten/First Grade Composition Notebook
- Not necessary, but BEAUTIFUL Wooden Alphabet Tracing Board
- Volume 1 Charlotte Mason’s Home Education (pg. 233-240)
- Exploring Nature with Children Curriculum – Occasionally, I may pull in some copywork from here because this resource provides samples of excellent writing that can be copied by the child. (TIP: If you click on this link, make sure you click “Preview” to check out the journal! Also, be sure to scroll all the way down to view a sample of November.)
Additionally, if you are interested in additional Charlotte Mason information, feel free to check out these previous blog posts:
Thank you so much for checking in! Please stay tuned for the next ‘A Charlotte Mason Subject Lesson’ post.
All of the quotes mentioned in this blog post, come from Home Education by Charlotte Mason. The Living Press published my favorite version of her books. Finally, I TRULY recommend any parent read Charlotte Mason’s books! They are truly treasured words I believe I will be reading and re-reading for many years to come.