I have read A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola from cover to cover. I feel compelled to admit that I enjoyed reading this book, probably a little too much! Mrs. Andreola’s humor was something I appreciated as well as her willingness to add her personal feelings and experiences into her writing.
A Charlotte Mason Companion helps those interested in utilizing the skill of the English teaching pioneer Charlotte Mason. Andreola covers in clear detail the meanings of different aspects of Mason’s teachings and life-long work. Andreola starts by explaining where her path met with the works of Mason and how they impacted her own teaching style. The bulk of this book gives description and tips to applying the different parts that equate the Charlotte Mason approach to teaching. The parents responsibilities are suggested to make sure the system can work, a parents role in a Charlotte Mason education is what makes it just that.
On a personal note, when my friend loaned me her copy of this book, I took to it like a missing part. I enjoyed and gobbled it up quickly. Decidedly I needed my own copy, returned her copy, and then started to go through Andreola’s work again, this time focusing more on detail. Although a Charlotte Mason education may not fit every home, family, or teacher, I personally felt that this was the bulk of what I was looking for to start on our own Home Schooling adventure. Filling in my husband and bring him up to speed on the things I was rapidly consuming left him feeling a bit overwhelmed, but as soon as Mason’s works and style came up he too agreed this is the direction we needed to go.
As suggested by Andreola I have since been working on Miss Mason’s original works to better my own understanding; however I owe my current comfort and direction to Karen Andreola and her work in this companion book. The pictures added to various sections were very pleasing to look at and drove a very romantic idea to mind, the idea that a child could still be taught in a way that would allow him/her to be a child. Andreola addressed teaching a child from toddler all the way to older education, and the different areas that should be addressed at those times.
Mason highly regarded habit training prior to formal schooling. Andreola gives a good overview of habit training and different ways that discipline, in terms of structure, is important to education.
Hearing the term “living books” will likely mean that you are discussing Mason’s philosophy on education. Andreola does a great job of explain living books and how they apply to various parts of Mason’s educational method.
In concluding, I enjoyed this book, and it will remain in use as a reference point for years to come. I appreciated Andreola’s personal touches in sharing her experiences, humor, and passion for what she does and why. If you are at all interested in a Charlotte Mason education, or wish to simply know more about it, I highly recommend this book! Hey, where else can you find habits, manners, living books, art, music, nature, science, narration, grammar, history, and foreign languages all in the same place?
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*originally published on A Mom's Handbook. com