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Thread: FIAR and Charlotte Mason

  1. #1

    Question FIAR and Charlotte Mason


    I similarities to FIAR and C. Mason, but am conflicted about a few things. I have read that C. Mason didn't like unit studies, she felt that students should learn to make connections themselves. She also felt that students should be reading alone as soon as possible. Also, the book choices would be different-people that follow C.M. don't use as many picture books. I have used FIAR in the past and would like to start over with my younger children, but am torn. Could anyone help in comparing the two? I really like both! Thanks.

  2. #2


    I like many aspects of CM and Classical education. But, I don't like ALL aspects of these approaches. I pick and choose what works for my kiddos and sort of make my own philosophy so to speak. It is a CM/Classical/Unit Study approach.

    I use FIAR (unit study), teach History chronologically (Classical), and love nature studies/journals, short lessons, living books, dictation, and narration (CM).

    Don't feel like you have to follow every rule of a philosophy. Just use what works for you and your students.
    Spoiled wife for 14 years and counting

    Blessed Mommy of 3 wonderful kiddos: DS10, DD9, DS5

  3. #3


    I agree with Stacey. I take the parts of any educational philosophy and only use what makes sense to me. In the case of Charlotte Mason - narration, copy work, spelling, picture study, and nature study make sense and seem to work with my children. We use FIAR as well because we enjoy it and my children are learning so much from that approach. My kids don't necessarily look forward to copy work and narration, but they LOVE FIAR and they make many of the connections between the units without me saying a word. Contrary to C. Mason, I sometimes read chapter books to my kids and explain it to them. Sometimes, this works well, especially when we are reading from the Bible or other things that are a bit over their heads. Mason doesn't believe that adults should get in the way of children interacting with the material, but I believe that children need adults in their lives to guide them in the right direction.

    You are the only expert in educating your own children - make up your own philosophy from the wealth of knowledge that is available!
    Wife to Jack; Mom to Caleb (17), Elizabeth (12), Faith (10),
    Annika (8), Eliana (6), Josiah (4), and Anderson (Almost 2)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Fremont, CA


    I am a huge fan of CM's ideas. However, I have found that in the younger years, the unit study approach is more nurturing. The cuddle time on the couch with a good book is a foundation which, IMHO, causes a child to have a DESIRE to read on their own. My dss do much of their work independently now, because they want to do so. FIAR gave the solid footing they needed and many memories to cherish. The strict CM method can be used later.
    Wife to Darrell, mom to John, Patrick, DJ and Ryan, Stepgrandmom of 5, grandmother to Adam, Harper, and Alexander. Done homeschooling but not done learning!

  5. #5


    I love FIAR and Charlotte Mason! True, we aren't officially homeschooling yet, so I haven't actually put CM into practice but I like what I've read!

    The CM philosophy of not getting between the material and the child makes sense to me, especially in over-teaching (preaching) at them. I think a discussion is a good thing, but when the eyes glaze over and boredom sets in and, even, resentment at the monologue of the teacher ... maybe that's the difference.

    Good books are key in both methods. Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (For the Sake of the Children) described finding CM to be like finding an old friend, which I think is like finding FIAR.

    I look forward to reading what others say about combining the two.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    If you like both, then use both as you see fit! Many homeschoolers take an eclectic approach to homeschooling and mix elements of different homeschooling methods.
    Afterschooling DD13 and DD9

  7. #7
    Candace C Guest


    I've only officially homeschooled for 1 year, we're finishing up K in 2 weeks...but, I consider myself an eclectic homeschooler as well. I am finding that what I love is gentle, simple and loving education. FIAR, Charlotte Mason and Ruth Beechick are things that I'm finding I love more and more as we go a long. I think that the simplicity and gentleness of FIAR and CM go hand in hand.

    I just finished the CM handbook by Karen Andreola and loved it! The CM things I am doing are:

    *nature journaling
    *being outside everyday
    *picture/artist study
    *composer study

    I also look over the book lists on the ambleside website. A lot of those we have read or are in FIAR. But any that I see that we haven't already gotten, I usually check out from the library so that we don't miss any of the good ones. Good books, good books, good books...that's another thing I love about FIAR and CM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    Also, keep in mind that CM didn't have the quality picture books we have now. Many picture books are worthy of "picture study" in their own right. I like CM, but I try to think of how CM would apply her approach to home schooling today. The FIAR selections aren't twaddly and do help the child to form relationships as CM advocated. As far as units I think that has more to do with being obssessive about everything fitting into a narrow topic. FIAR studies often branch into varied explorations.In our FIAR studies we've been encouraged to study nature and write about it, listen to classical music, read chapter books to further explore a topic, seek out famous artwork, practice art techniques, learn about numerous cultures etc. -very CM. These units have plenty of breathing room.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    New Yawker now in homeschool friendly NJ


    I take what I like from each appraoch and use what is best for my family. You don't have to follow one style perfectly. That would be so boring!!!
    Wife to Joe '92. Nathaniel 20, Noah 18, Alise 16, Rebekah 12, Mary Alice, 6 & seven angel babies
    Using FIAR since 2001

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    like the above ladies I like many things that are CM i also like parts of Waldorf Steiner as well, and of course FIAR ..its like eating a chicken you eat the parts you like and leave the bits you don't..

    No one person has all the answers in life , no one way is ever the only right way(in regards to homeschooling) all children have differnt individual needs it would be unfair to box them in and say you have to learn this way and only this way(ie School)'ll learn very quickly that your child will just rebell..So you look for a style that suits you & YOUR child/children best--

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