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Mondays with Miss Mason–On Choosing School Books

April 11, 2011

Note: this post is part of an ongoing series. For more information on Charlotte Mason and Mondays with Miss Mason, please read the first post.

It’s that time of year again–curriculum choosing time!  I’m just wrapping up our very first year of homeschooling. Some hits, many misses. I really don’t want to start thinking about next year until this summer BUT the used curriculum sales beckon next month.

I really need to wrap my head around some basics. Are we going to Amble? Are we going to Promise? Are we going to Living Book? or make it up as we go along as we did this year (not pretty, let me tell you!)

As we make these considerations, I thought a few words from Miss Mason could be helpful:

From School Education, Chapter XVI:

I venture to propose one or two principles in the matter of school-books, and shall leave the far more difficult part, the application of those principles, to the reader. For example, I think we owe it to children to let them dig their knowledge, of whatever subject, for themselves out of the fit book; and this for two reasons: What a child digs for is his own possession; what is poured into his ear, like the idle song of a pleasant singer, floats out as lightly as it came in, and is rarely assimilated. I do not mean to say that the lecture and the oral lesson are without their uses; but these uses are, to give impulse and to order knowledge; and not to convey knowledge, or to afford us that part of our education which comes of fit knowledge, fitly given.

Again, as I have already said, ideas must reach us directly from the mind of the thinker, and it is chiefly by means of the books they have written that we get into touch with the best minds.

This year, I bought the Foundation Year guide from Living Books Curriculum. I love their concept, but I found this year’s guide to be too simple in the math and reading sections compared to what my son was ready for. I also found it repetitious (which could be true of any curriculum I suppose) so I really didn’t use it that much. I did find the general outlines and the supporting materials about the importance of storytelling and music and movement helpful. They do offer a 12-month return policy if you are interested in giving it a chance.

How do you select your curriculum? What are you planning for next year? Do you use any “textbooks?”  Please share or link up with your own curriculum post!

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