A Charlotte Mason Companion

Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning
Book cover: 'A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning'
Karen Andreola
Charlotte Mason Research and Supply Co
Number of pages: 
383 pages

I have talked to a number of people who read For the Children's Sake, loved it, and wanted more. Karen Andreola has really provided for that need with this book. It was delightful to read Mrs. Andreola's personal experiences and ideas for applying the philosophies of Charlotte Mason to her own family's homeschooling years. Reading through some of the chapter headings gives you a sense of the flavor - The Atmosphere of Home, The Happiness of Habit, How We Use Whole Books, Narration: The Art of Knowing, Teaching Composition, Kernels of Wisdom, Simply Grammar, Hero-Admiration as a Factor in Education, Picture Study, Music Appreciation, Once Upon a Time - Fact or Fairy Tales, Shakespeare: A Mother's Secret Resource, Neighborhood Nature Study, Magnanimity and Enthusiasm, Picnics Any Time At All, etc. Each chapter also includes "Questions for Personal Reflection or Support Group Discussion". Although Karen Andreola is not Catholic, I didn't detect any anti-Catholic bias in her own writings. However, I would use caution with regard to books she recommends (such as Pilgrim's Progress) which may be inappropriate. I think you'll also find that most of her ideas are very compatible with our faith. I would even go so far as to say that using this book might be very helpful in giving your children a Catholic education. Her chapter entitled "Hero-Admiration as a Factor in Education" is a good example. You may at first be frustrated that she doesn't even mention the Saints here. You may realize, however, that the points she makes in this chapter are highly applicable to learning about the Saints and the importance of encouraging your children to know and love them. As with any homeschooling book, there are ideas that I wouldn't agree with on a practical level.

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