Isn't Charlotte Mason a Home Schooling Method?

A reader pointed out to me today (HT: Mrs. Curtis) that some people might think Charlotte Mason's method is a homeschooling method and that using her method in a school might be a counter productive application. This misconception arises, I think, because the renaissance in Miss Mason's thinking has grown fastest among the networks of home schooling parents who have found the method to be just what they were looking for. Check out AmblsideOnline for a taste of how the method can be used in the home.

Map of Location Preferences

Below is a rough map of where we are thinking about locating RiverTree School. This map is most definitely a work in progress and will likely change as time goes by and people start to express interest in the school. The darker red shape in the center indicates the most desirable locations. The outer areas represent decreasing levels of desirability. You will probably need to zoom in to see the map clearly. Right now, the most salient factor is commuting distance from my home, but that could change as we start to get an idea of where interested families are located.

Reading Lists

I just added two reading lists to the right sidebar: "Required" and Recommended Reading. These are books and articles which have been influential to my thinking about education and my planning for RiverTree School.

Science in the Early Grades

Charlotte Mason firmly believed that children, especially young children, should spend a great amount of time outdoors. She thought that direct observation of the handiwork of creation did wonders for the developing mind and soul and that fresh air and exercise were vital to physical and mental health. The study of nature (i.e. science) should form an important part of a child's early education. It teaches attention to detail and encourages a sense of wonder that is so important to the growing mind.

The Importance of Community

One of the things that parents often look for in a school is a community in which they and their children can engage. A community in which parents know each other, know each other's children and are known by those children can be of enormous benefit. Too often we deny our children the freedom that older generations took for granted because we are unsure about their safety or supervision. How many of us remember summer days in which we had what seemed to be a whole world available to us. I remember my sister and I had a whole block of our street and we could romp through any of the yards.

Method vs. System

In order to understand what RiverTree School is about, it is important to first understand the difference between an educational method and an educational system. A method implies the gradual accomplishment of a certain goal and steady progress toward that end. Thus, a method of education is the means by which over the course of years an education is brought about. A method always has the goal in mind but the particular steps toward that goal can vary widely as the situation warrants. In education this is vitally important because, of course, God has made each child unique.

Welcome to RiverTree School

If you are reading this post it is, I hope, because you are interested in RiverTree School. Perhaps you have come here after viewing our website and want to know more about what is happening. As it stands right now we are still in the very early stages of stating this school. And by "we", I mean my wife and me. So far we have an idea, a name, a domain name, a lot of energy and a goal. Our plan is to start a Charlotte Mason school in the northwest quadrant of the Twin Cities metro area. We plan to open our doors to students in grades K-3 on Sept 8, 2009.


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