An Interview With a Charlotte Mason Dad
I speak often with homeschool mothers about their husband's support and understanding of what their days entail, what philosophy they hold to, and what struggles and triumphs their days hold. A living education is, by definition, a way of life. It is a family affair. The roles of homeschool motherhood/teacher and homeschool fatherhood are distinctly different, yet both are parts of the dynamic playing out in homeschool homes and the hearts of homeschooled children.
Homeschool fathers are involved in homeschooling in a variety of ways on a wide spectrum of intensity. Some fathers teach some lessons, oversee planning, and discuss methods and philosophy. Other fathers simply pick up pizza on the way home so that exhausted mothers don't have to cook at the end of exhausting days. Homeschool fathers, whether actively teaching or simply drying their wives discouraged tears, are actively involved in the education of their children, as both learning and formation of character extend far beyond the specified hours of a homeschool day.
In the interest of seeing into the mind of a Charlotte Mason Homeschool Dad, I interviewed my husband and sought his perspective on what is happening within our homeschool. His answers provided insight, encouragement and hope to my homeschool heart. I pray that they do the same for both you and your husbands.
1. What do you know about Charlotte Mason?
I know that it is a teaching and learning method in which the child learns in a natural and practical way of life, through books, nature study, and delightful living.
2. Describe the way in which your wife homeschools your children.
First of all, I would say that she homeschools through patience and interaction with our children in a natural environment instead of pressuring them with conventional schooling and drilling methods.
Second of all, she allows the children to be who they are, intellectually and spiritually, and gives them the tools they need to learn and follow up with what they are being taught.
3. In what ways have you observed your children thriving because of being homeschooled, in a living way?
They thrive by not being afraid to be who they were designed to be. Specifically, I have observed my son be eager to read where he was struggling before. (*Note from Crystin: Our 9 year old is dyslexic, and he began to hate reading until we adopted Mason's approach to reading. Now, he finds the effort to be worthy.)
My children enjoy school time instead of going through the every-day motions of public school.
They enjoy nature studies and are always concerned with preserving what God has given us to enjoy and have dominion over and not to abuse.
4. In what ways do you think homeschool fathers can be most supportive of their wives and their homeschooling efforts?
First, by listening and understanding that it isn't always perfect and it might not always look perfect or like you envision, but it is what a child needs to become who they were ultimately designed by our Creator to be.
Next, it's okay (and even good) to ask questions and be involved, but be sure to notice the progress and encourage the children and mother on a path that educates, but is enjoyable. Encourage her to educate them, but not hinder or complicate learning for them.
Lastly, enjoy all of the moments while you can.
5. In what ways is the education of your children different than the education that you personally received?
I was taught by sitting in a classroom with 20-25 other same aged, culturally similar children being given instruction by a teacher. If you were lucky enough to understand what you were being taught then you went on to the next grade, and if you weren't so lucky then you could go to summer school and attempt to pass through or you were just set back a year and put in a class and labeled as a "slow learner". They didn't have time to develop true knowledge.
This is all in direct contrast to how my children learn and develop knowledge.
6.What goals do you have, or things do you envision, for your children and their education?
I envision that my children will develop the knowledge and skills that it takes to be a well-rounded adult.Whether that be a "high functioning" adult (according to society) or simply a middle-class, hard working, blue-collar worker. They will be who God made them to be.
They will have good values, compassion for other people, and good stewardship over nature. They will be good stewards of what we were given by God, and be respectable men for their wives and children.
I ultimately want them to be comfortable and happy being who they are, and were created to be, and not have society dictate who they should be and what they should look like.
7.What would you say to a father who is reluctant to homeschool, or to a father that is questioning the Charlotte Mason method of education?
I would say that given the chance to be homeschooled will serve your children tremendously, and will create a positive environment for them.
We all want what is ultimately best for our children, and I can honestly say that this way of learning is better and that children are better suited for a parent teaching them naturally than being sat in a room and drilled. Natural learning is better than being told "this is what you should know and look like in order to be considered as having been taught."
Give your children a chance to demonstrate that they are intelligent, have knowledge, know their worth as a person, and that they have benefited from not just being a number, but truly learning.
There you have it: a look into the heart and mind of a (handsome) Charlotte Mason father. ;)
This task of living education is a family affair, and I pray that this perspective of a father blesses you as you go about the business of spreading a feast and delighting in it.
May All Your Days be Spent....Delightfully Feasting
Crystin ....and Wesley <3