Charlotte Mason believed that you could easily spend a full year in studying one man and learn so much about the time period in which he lived, the geography in which he travled and anywhere else the biography would take the reader. In this post, I would like to introduce you to how Charlotte Mason would teach from a biography and in doing so, celebrate the life of David Livingstone, who was born, March 19, 1813… TWO Centuries ago!
Why Charlotte Mason Would Teach About the Man
Before answering the question of ‘how', I would like to further explain the ‘why' Charlotte Mason would teach with biographies as her textbooks. Charlotte Mason believed strongly that the authors of biographies had a passion for sharing accuracies of a person's life, as the research would require them to know so much about the person they were writing about. She believed that getting the readers into the first or second hand accounts of a life of a person and all that encompassed that person's life, was far more captivating than reading a watered down textbook, that shared the briefest parts of the man, the history in which he lived and the impact his life had on those around him.
How Charlotte Mason Would Teach About David Livingstone
My goal in teaching you how Charlotte Mason would teach David Livingstone is two part. First, to introduce you to this wonderful, gentle method of home educating your children (and yourself) but also to share with you the accurate biographies that YWAM Publishing produces for men and women missionaries called Christian Heroes Then and Now series and Heroes Then and Now, which focuses on the historical figures we love so much. Charlotte Mason always believed that good biographies were the best curriculum for any aged child and YWAM Publishing books have proved that in our home.
Charlotte Mason Would Teach History
With the example of David Livingstone's life, Charlotte Mason would teach history that surrounded his biography. As a Charlotte Mason educator, I have done this two ways, depending on the season I was in. One way was to read the book in advance and prepare for the history items that I found. The second way was to ‘wing it', as my husband likes to say. With the ‘wing it' method, I felt more engaged with my children and allowed more researching together.
Note: items in italics are the examples of potential subjects to cover within a biography.
Using David Livingstone as the example, here is how you would gather your history to cover, within his biography:
- Queen Victoria started her reign during his life, she married Prince Albert, whose first speech in England was to send off the Niger Expedition in West Africa.
- Opium Wars between England and China
- The London Missionary Society
- African customes
- Slave trade
- His professions: Naturalist, Doctor, Preacher and Explorer
Charlotte Mason Would Teach Geography
When a geographical place was mentioned within a book, Charlotte Mason would teach her students to locate it on the map. Again, using the example of David Livingstone's biography, she would have taught:
- Blantrye, Scotland – the place of his birth and upbringing
- Lake Bangweulu, Africa – the place of his death
- Westminster Abbey – the place of his burial
- University of Glasgow and University of Strathclyde – the places of his education
- China – his first desired location for ministry work
- Kalahari Dessert
- Lake Ngami, Lake Nyasa, Chilwa River, Nile River
- Zambezi River and Victoria Falls
Charlotte Mason Would Teach Language Art
In addition to copy work, Charlotte Mason would teach the parts of sentences, grammar, vocabulary and even spelling by using the words of the man being studies, or that of what was spoken of him. Here are a few examples of what she may have used:
“I will place no value on anything I have or may possess except in relation to the kingdom of Christ.”
“I determined never to stop until I had come to the end and achieved my purpose.”
“I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be forward.”
“All that I am I owe to Jesus Christ, revealed to me in His divine Book.”
“Fear God and work hard.”
With this outline of how Charlotte Mason would teach using biographies, I hope you feel empowered to use these great resources to introduce your children to great men and women whose faith in God was strong and their lives reflected it.
This post is part of iHomeschool Network's March Birthday Celebrations, so be sure to check out the other post highlighting some of the famous people you may or may not know.
Have you ever read about David Livingstone?
I linked up with The Homeschool Village Ultimate Homeschool Linkup.