***Please note I am not a Charlotte Mason expert nor am I currently intimate with the different math curriculums available to home schoolers, this information comes from my limited research and understanding. I quote references were appropriate. I would love to hear your opinion and experiences in the comments or feel free to email me. I hope to readdress this topic in the future once my knowledge has increased. I found https://simplycharlottemason.com really useful to gain an understanding of CM math ideas.
“In a word our point is that Mathematics are to be studied for their own sake and not as they make for general intelligence and grasp of mind. But then how profoundly worthy are these subjects of study for their own sake, to say nothing of other great branches of knowledge to which they are ancillary!”
(6, 232) - Charlotte Mason (Education is a Life by Nelleke Plouffe: The Charlotte Mason Math Teacher http://plouffes.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/the-charlotte-mason-math-teacher.html)
Charlotte Mason saw mathematics as worthy of study for its own sake, for its innate beauty. In other subjects the child’s mind is presented ideas through “living books” while in a pure Mason method mathematics is presented through manipulatives, spoken word problems, and importantly conceptual understanding along side the discipline of arithmetic.
home made math can fit beautifully into a Charlotte Mason Education. Firstly, the activities are hands on and encourage the use of manipulatives. Secondly, because many of the activities are inspired by literary works, there are often word problems or activities that seek more answers than the text may hint at. Lastly, the aim of home made math is to give young mathematicians a beautiful and concrete understanding of the mathematical concepts that will inspire them into further practice of these ideas.
What will this look like in your home?
The idea behind home made math is to link mathematical activity with the texts that homeschoolers, and particularly CM homeschoolers, will already be using in their programs. It is designed so that a beautiful mathematical activity will be launched from your reading. I hope that you will sit down to your daily reading with your children and that on some of those days home made math will be the perfect activity to explore your text in more depth; that from these home made math activities you and your mathematicians will then seek out either more practice of the arithmetic to aid you in your calculations or be so inspired that you wish to do more arithmetic just for fun!
home made math also supports Mason’s idea that children are individuals and should be treated as such. Different path ways are provided to help support different mathematical levels (also beneficial in multiage “classrooms”). HMM activities also encourage choosing your own adventure. That is pick and choose the activities that suit your child. HMM also invites guides to explore along side their mathematicians to talk through ideas and work out solutions together. In HMM there is no “right” way to work out an answer to a problem, but starts the journey towards mathematicians discovering concepts and solutions independently.
Another Charlotte Mason quote that I love is "Never be within doors when you can rightly be without". You'll find the majority of these activities, if not explicitly designed for the outdoors, easy to take outside. For example, in "How Big is a Bear?", why not draw up a chalk bear on the side of your house, or stick up the one provided on the outside of a shed?
Practically speaking those who implement Charlotte Mason practices in their homes will probably prefer to support home made math with a traditional Curriculum/Syllabus that is the daily “practice” in their schedule. Many of these already exist and so I didn’t feel the need to recreate them in my programs. What I felt was missing was really inspiring, beautiful hands on activities and I hope that I have provided that within home made math.
You may choose to use the home made math activities as a fun activity to practice the math that you have learnt in your curriculum, or you may like to use the home made math activity to first introduce concepts that will then be practiced in your curriculum. Either way each activity is clearly labelled so that you will be able to match to your curriculum. For example in the “Mathematical Explorations of Little House in the Big Woods” Unit all the activities are measurement based. Therefore you may like to organise your schedule so that while you are reading the book and doing the HMM activities you are also working through the measurement section in your curriculum. Or after you have finished the measurement section in your curriculum/text book you could then complete the home made math activities to cement the ideas.
Do you use Charlotte Mason Methods in your home? What math do you do now? What do you like about it? What do you feel is missing?
I hope, actually I have prayed so much that, home made math will help you to inspire your little mathematicians to love math and that it will fill any holes you might be experiencing in your current method. Have a look at some of my free activities here on the blog to decide if HMM may suit your schooling environment.