The Heart of Wisdom teaching approach creates lesson plans using Charlotte Mason’s methods, and teaching to the four learning styles (the Four-Step Lessons). It’s a new, creative way to organize and utilize Charlotte Mason’s unique methods.Charlotte Mason was an educator in England during the nineteenth century, and her methods are currently experiencing a rebirth among American home schools. “Twaddle” and “living books” are terms coined by Mason.
“Twaddle” refers to dumbed-down literature; material with an absence of meaning. “Living books” refers to books that are well written and engaging—they absorb the reader—the narrative and characters seem to come alive. Living books are the antithesis of cold, dry textbooks.
Charlotte Mason believed children should be educated through a wide curriculum using a variety of real, living books. Her concern was for students to develop a lifetime love of learning. She based her philosophy on the Latin word for education, educare, which means “to feed and nourish.” This method focuses on the formation of good study habits, reading a variety of books, narration, copywork, dictation, keeping a nature diary, keeping a spelling notebook, and preparing a timeline book.Click to See Timeline Resources
The Heart of Wisdom teaching approach organizes each of Mason’s unique methods into a four-step process which is incorporated into all of its unit studies. The Four Steps
Motivate the student by making the lesson interesting on his/her level—not “dumbed down.”
Teaching ideas and facts
Get the facts from living books, reference books, nature, humanities, the Internet, etc.
Experimenting with concepts and skills
Do something with what has been learned. Copywork, dictation, adding to a nature notebook or timeline book or portfolder.
Integrating new learning into real life.
Narration; tell back what has been learned; share with others.
Narration is literally telling back what has been learned. Students are instructed to read a passage from the Bible, text from a suggested resource, or content from a web site and then tell what they have learned, either orally or in writing. This is a perfect activity, and one which you will find frequently in the third step of the 4Mat System. This process involves sorting, sequencing, selecting, connecting, rejecting, and classifying information. Miss Mason found that if you use narration consistently, review is unnecessary. Narration increases the mind’s ability to remember.
Copywork and Dictation
Copywork and dictation are underrated. Both provide ongoing practice for handwriting, spelling, grammar, etc. Both are good exercises for teaching accuracy and attention to detail, and students discover things about the text they are copying that they would be unlikely to notice otherwise. In dictation, the child writes as the parent reads. Students learn correct spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and other language mechanics when they compare their work to the original and correct their mistakes. Timeline Book Charlotte Mason recommended preparing a handmade Book of the Centuries or timeline book. Below is a sample timeline page. Click to see more samples.
“Upon the knowledge of these great matters—History, Literature, Nature, Science, Art—the mind feeds and grows. It assimilates such knowledge as the body assimilates food, and the person becomes what is called magnanimous, that is, a person of great mind, wide interests, incapable of occupying himself much about petty, personal matters. What a pity to lose sight of such a possibility for the sake of miserable scraps of information about persons and things that have little connection with one another and little connection with ourselves!” —Charlotte Mason (Vol. 4, p. 78 — The Original Homeschooling Series)
The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach: Bible-Based Homeschooling
The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach is for all homeschoolers who want to make the Bible the center of their school day. This giant 500+ page book provides you with the methods, program, and resources for a course of study where students spend half the school day studying God’s Word and the other half studying God’s world (academics). Students study history chronologically and science in the order of the days of Creation. This book will encourage, motivate you and instruct you, step by step, how to give your child a Bible-focused, comprehensive education from preschool through high school; one that will train him or her to read, to study, to understand, to love to learn and, most importantly, to desire and seek true wisdom. This approach can be used for all grade levels.