Preview: Learn how you can start a Charlotte Mason Discussion Group to help encourage and equip you to implement her philosophy in your homeschool.
A Charlotte Mason Discussion Group has been an incredible encouragement for me.
- When I needed assistance finding books to read for a specific subject, other moms had suggestions.
- When I needed help understanding how to implement different subjects, our discussions of Charlotte Mason’s methods were invaluable.
- When I just needed someone to listen, they were there.
It is important to have regular fellowship with like-minded homeschool families. The homeschool journey is more enjoyable, fruitful, and sustainable when we support one another. Your state homeschool organization probably has a listing of support groups in your area.
If there is no Charlotte Mason Discussion Group in your area, I encourage you to consider starting one. Here are some tips for starting your own.
Do you need to belong to a Charlotte Mason Discussion Group?
If you already belong to another support group, do you also need to participate in a Charlotte Mason Discussion Group?
If you have enough margin in your schedule, yes. Regular fellowship with a group of moms who “get you” is important.
A general homeschool support group is valuable, but Charlotte Mason’s methods are different from traditional learning methods. Having a place to discuss her philosophy and methods will better equip you to implement them in your homeschool.
A Charlotte Mason Discussion Group can be a safe place to discuss challenges and celebrate successes. Inevitably, you will have rough days. Others in the group can listen and be a sounding board. Someone in the group may have experienced the same situation and can provide advice and encouragement.
The members of your Charlotte Mason Discussion Group will likely have varying years of homeschool experience and personalities of children. This broad range will provide a variety of resource suggestions.
Finding discussion group members
Finding members for your group may initially be a challenge, but start small. Consider looking for members in the following places.
- Ask a friend who follows the Charlotte Mason philosophy or would like to learn more about it to join you.
- Post on Facebook that you would like to form a discussion group.
- Post on your local support group classifieds to see if any other Charlotte Mason moms are interested in joining you.
Determining how often and where to meet
Because you will read through Ms. Mason’s Original Homeschooling Series, which is quite thought-provoking, you probably want to meet monthly or no more than twice a month.
The Charlotte Mason Discussion Group I belonged to met once a month in the evening so the moms could enjoy time with friends without needing to supervise and discipline children. However, you could have a playdate and allow the children to play while you discuss Ms. Mason’s works.
Where you meet depends on your needs. You could meet in someone’s home, especially if children will be present. Or, you could meet at a church, coffee shop, or restaurant. Food with fellowship and discussion is always delightful. If you cannot find someone who lives near you, you could also meet virtually.
What to read and discuss
Choose a book
If everyone in your group is new to homeschooling, you might begin by reading and discussing one of the following books to help you better understand the philosophy in a nutshell and get a jump start.
- 1 – Home Education
- 6 – Towards A Philosophy of Education
- 2 – Parents and Children
- 3 – School Education
- 5 – Formation of Character
- 4 – Ourselves
Set a reading schedule
Determine how many pages you will discuss at each meeting. There are several factors to consider when choosing the number of pages to read, including:
- How often will you meet? If you meet more frequently, you will want to read fewer pages between meetings.
- How much time do you have to read? If everyone in your group has younger children, you probably have less time to read than if everyone has middle and high school-aged students.
- How quickly do you want to read through one volume? Reading through one volume per year should not necessarily be your goal. Reading to understand and apply what you read to your homeschool should be your goal, but realistically reading five pages per month will take forever to read through a volume.
Ten to twenty per month is generally a good pace.
Guiding your discussions
As you read through Ms. Mason’s works, narrate the passage. Options include:
- Narrate orally to yourself.
- Narrate orally to your spouse.
- Write your narration in a notebook.
If you want to take your understanding to the next level, ask yourself the following three questions.
- What are the main ideas?
- Do I agree?
- How can I apply this?
At your meeting, discuss your narrations and the answers to the above questions.
Confession time—I do not always accomplish the goal of narrating the passage and answering these questions before the meeting. And that’s okay. Narration and application before the meeting is my goal, but at a minimum, I read through the assigned reading.
Be sure to allow time for fellowship and questions. After the discussion time, open the floor for any other questions. This allows those who need to leave to do so and others to stay and chat longer or ask and answer questions.
Need help establishing your own support group?
With personalized coaching, we can work together to identify obstacles and make a plan to overcome the roadblocks keeping you and your children stuck so that you can achieve your homeschool goals and enjoy your homeschool experience.