Composition CM Style: The Method Works

composition charlotte Mason style IMy four oldest girls were reared largely on CM’s methods, particularly in composition and writing.  Three of them write exceptionally well, one of them writes better than most and quite clearly.  She doesn’t love it, but that’s okay.  Not every child must love every single thing.  Children are, as Miss Mason reminds us constantly, born persons.

The older girls took an online philosophy course in high school- their online tutors taught at a Washington university.  Their professors loved their writing so much that they invited the girls to participate in the next set of courses for free, because they felt my daughters’ online participation brought up the tone of the course, and their writing was a pleasure.  You’ve all seen the Equuschick’s posts here, so you know why.  I know that sounds like bragging, and I guess it kind of is, but… well…. you’ve seen her writing.  Part of this is, again, her special knack.  Children are, again, born persons.  But part of it is also due to CM’s methods.

Pip and the History Girl went to college, and they were both told they wrote very, very well.  Pip was specifically told that her teachers looked forward to reading her papers, that they were a treat. The HG was told her professor hadn’t seen analysis like hers in decades.   Again, both have the knack, but also CM’s methods.

But there’s a catch here.

To say that CM’s methods work, we have to know what they are.  Many people think her methods are ‘do nothing but narration and maybe copywork (and the approach to copywork is often nothing like what Mason proposed), and then start formal grammar at 13,’ but this is not accurate.  CM’s approach to grammar and composition is subtle, nuanced, complex, but her methods are building grammar and composition skills from early on, even before the children have started writing skills.

Knowing what they are is not enough.  We must also do.

We must apply those methods.

Next (part II)

Here’s the linked, at a glance, table of contents to this entire series.


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