reprinted with permission from the blog Harmony Fine Arts
“One last word about habit–the point of training children to have good habits is so that they’ll do things without being nagged or scolded. Then the mother isn’t constantly chasing them down with a barrage of commands and reminders. She can leave them alone to thrive in their own way once habit has secured a boundary for them to grow in.” Volume 1, page 134
The forming of good habits continues through the high school years, leading our children to the place where they self-regulate their actions. In our home, our teens were never rebellious or contrary and I think a lot that was because we didn’t have many “rules” to live by. They were guided and corrected in a way to help them build habits that will last them a lifetime. Children with good habits are a joy to be around. Read more about habits: Building Good Habits in High School and Good Habits for Moms.
“Let him, on the contrary, linger pleasantly over the history of a single man, a short period, until he thinks the thoughts of that man, is at home in the ways of that period. Though he is reading and thinking of the lifetime of a single man, he is really getting intimately acquainted with the history of a whole nation for a whole age.” Volume 1, page 280
Incorporate as many avenues of reading and learning as possible, using literature, biographies, speeches, and videos to help your child immerse his learning of a particular time period. High school students are capable of reading a lot of material and if you follow up your reading with some form of narration it will stick better and longer. History will come alive. Read more about my thoughts on this: Charlotte Mason Knew the Secret to Learning Relationships.
“To become intimate with Shakespeare in this way is a great enrichment of mind and instruction of conscience. Then, by degrees, as we go on reading this world-teacher, lines of insight and beauty take possession of us, and unconsciously mold our judgments of men and things and of the great issues of life.”
There were times when it seemed like a lot of effort to add in a Shakespeare play every term but afterwards I would realize how much we all enjoyed the experience. The same was true pretty much for poetry as well. Poetry is not an easy topic to cover on your own with high school students and our tastes in poets varied greatly which added an extra element when planning. But, in the end, I look back on our Shakespeare and poetry studies with much warmth because they did add that extra “something” that made each year a little better. My boys still quote Shakespeare from time to time and I know it will be carried with them into their futures…better for having read it while they were young. Read more: Shakespeare and High School Poetry.
I could talk all day about the value of continuing nature study in high school. I hold those times we were outdoors together as cherished memories. My boys have grown in their knowledge of our local plants, trees, birds, reptiles, weather, and so much more. They are comfortable outdoors and seek opportunities to spend time in nature. They appreciate the changes in the season and are skilled at following a map, planning a hike, and growing things. Dirt is not their enemy. You can read more: Nature Study for High School Students.
Last but not least is the skill of narration that is emphasized in a Charlotte Mason education. Narration is never tiring for my boys and if given a choice they will write a quick summary, give an oral account, or create a follow-up project in place of a test any day. Their notebooks are filled with their individual accounts of their learning. These thoughts are their own connections with their reading and research. I can’t think of a better way to learn for my boys. You can read more: Narration in Our High School.
Harmony Art Mom shares a glimpse into a real homeschooling family that values the arts as well as academics. She shares her passion for the fine arts and hopes to motivate and inspire other homeschoolers to balance their homeschool day with some art and music too. To help other busy moms get started, she has developed affordable Harmony Fine Arts plans written in the Classical/Charlotte Mason style.