Did you catch my post about planning a Charlotte Mason lesson? If not, you should probably read that first because this is Part II. I explained how to plan a lesson, but I thought I needed a little more description to actually explain what the lesson looks like.
The parts of the lesson aren’t too much different from the traditional form of a lesson plan: there’s a vocabulary discussion, set-up, the presentation of information, some kind of assessment, and then something to wrap it all up. The parts are similar, but the method is different. In my last post, I described why this kind of lesson fits in with the philosophy.
Charlotte Mason suggested short lessons (15-20 minutes) for young children 8 and under. Older children can have longer lessons, so you can adjust the times accordingly.
Vocabulary and Set-up
Time: 5 minutes
I mentioned presenting vocabulary words and information (maps, cultural information, pictures, etc.) that will help make the text interesting and more understandable. In a traditional lesson, this would sometimes be called the grabber or the set-up. Spend about 5 minutes setting up the lesson. I’ve combined these two sections for time’s sake!
It’s easy to spend 5 minutes on vocabulary alone, but giving a really quick introduction of the word will do. If you’re crunched for time, you can even just write the word and definition on a chalkboard. I loved seeing my students look up at definitions while I taught!
As for the other information you’ll introduce here, remember that the point is to help your child make a mental image with the text. We don’t need to teach them everything about the map or cultural information. That was a challenge for me!
Presenting the Information
Time: 10-20 minutes
This is usually done through living-texts (depending on the subject.) Read the text with your child. Charlotte Mason suggests letting children who know how to read do so on their own, but I think you can strike a balance here. Young readers get very tired easily so it’s good to jump in every once in awhile to let them have a break. Oral reading is necessary to build reading fluency, but adding some silent reading in there sometimes is also a good idea.
Time: (Included with reading time)
Here’s a big difference between a Charlotte Mason lesson and a traditional lesson: the assessment occurs constantly while the child is reading. That’s because you can use narration as assessment. Charlotte Mason says that we shouldn’t correct and interrupt a child while he or she is narrating, but a narration can still give us a good idea of how much a child is retaining when they read. We can adjust our pace, set-up, etc. according to how a child tells back a text.
Time: 5-10 minutes
Discussing inspirational ideas is a great way to close a lesson. It offers a little bit of summary, while engaging the child in a good conversation about the ideas in the text. The key is to not let it drag out. The lesson should end with the child feeling excited and ready to learn more.
Pictures, written narrations, etc.
If you want to add on any written work or drawing pictures, it gets a little tricky if you’re on a tight schedule. Sometimes I would break it into two lessons, allowing for a small amount of reading one day so you can draw or write a narration afterwards. That would allow for more reading and discussion the next day. If my schedule was a little more flexible, I would just add the written work in at the end. See what works best for your child!
I hope this is giving you an idea of what a Charlotte Mason lesson looks like! Next week, I’ll post an actual lesson so you can see the finished product!