About the Method
The students at Charlotte Mason’s schools studied a few different foreign languages: French, German, Italian, and Latin (introduced in that order). Her method was so successful that childrens could even narrate in French what they read or listened to.
Charlotte started with French because it was the most useful language for that particular geographical area (France was right across the Channel). In america though, kids should be learning Spanish as a second language due to it being the 2nd most spoken languange in the country.
She taught French gradually over many years with 3 different stages:
Stage 1 Grades 1-3. She introduced it with songs, games and the Gouin series. (More about Gouin later)
Stage 2 Grades 4-6. She expanded the stage 1 and added reading and writing. And here she introduced a stage 1 of a third language (German).
Stage 3 Grades 7-9. She expanded second and third language and added a fourth one (Italian).
In CMSS we will give you the tools you need for that first stage of learning.
Now, here are some quotes to help us understand her Foreign Language teaching method and that are the foundation of the CMSS curriculum:
1.-Start at an early age, learning two or three, five or six words daily:
"The children should learn French orally, by listening to and repeating French words and phrases; that they should begin so young that the difference of accent does not strike them, but they repeat the new French word all the same as if it were English and use it as freely; that they should learn a few–two or three, five or six– new French words daily, and that, at the same time, the old words should be kept in use–are points to be considered more fully hereafter…” Home Education, page 80
2.-Have daily lessons, which may be outdoors. Nature vocabulary.
"...it is so important to keep tongue and ear familiar with French vocables, that not a lesson should be omitted. The French lesson may, however, be made to fit in with spirit of the other out-of-door occupations; the half-dozen words may be the parts– leaves, branches, bark, trunk of the tree, or the colors of the flowers, or the movements of bird, cloud, lamb, child; in fact, the new French words should be but another form of expression for the ideas that for the time fill the child’s mind.” Home Education, pages 80-81
3.-Delayed written words.
"The child should never see French words in print until he has learned to say them with as much ease and readiness as if they were English." Home Education page 301.
"Of course, his teacher will take care that, in giving words, she gives idioms also..." Home Education page 301
5.- learn words in the context of a sentence and keep them in use daily
"...and that as he learns new words, they are put into sentences and kept in use from day to day." Home education page 301.
6.- The teacher keeps track of the new sentences
""A notebook in which she enters the child's new words and sentences will easily enable the teacher to do this".
7.- learning through series
"No doubt Mr. Gouin's method should be more succesful than any other in steeping the student (child or man) in German or French thought." Home Education page 303
In short, the Gouin Series are a group of very short statements describing step of an action. A Ball series may look like this:
I pick up the ball
I throw the ball to the air
I drop the ball
The ball bounces
You act all the statements as you say the in English first and then in the target language to make connections and learn each word in a context so that you can think in a second language.
You can read Gouin's book here
8.- Learning through book and pictures
"The method of teaching may be varied, partly because that recommended by M. Gouin requires a perfect command of the French tongue, and teachers who are diffident find a conversational method founded on book and picture easier to work and perhaps as effectual-more so, some people think..."home education page 306.
If you are a CM homeschooling family you know how important Foreign Language Studies were for Ms. Mason:
"The daily French lesson is that which should not be omitted. The children should learn French orally, by listening to and repeating French words and phrases; that they should begin so young that the difference of accent does not strike them, but they repeat the new French word all the same as if it were English and use it as freely; that they should learn a few–two or three, five or six– new French words daily, and that, at the same time, the old words should be kept in use–are points to be considered more fully hereafter…” Home Education, page 80.
Now, most of the CM educators I know are not teaching a second language with the CM method, why is that the case? I believe one of the reasons is simply because there's not many options of curriculums that can gently weave into their daily CM activities.
And this is why CMSS is a great option for you. CMSS has been specially designed with you in mind, so that you learn Spanish during your nature walks, morning basket, tea time, and these through books, nature study, picture study, copy work, read alouds, music, games and even the Swedish Drill.
Something else that makes the CMSS a great option for your family is that the content was created by CM homeschooling parents with a native level of English and Spanish (from Mexico) raising bilingual kids in the United States (teaching them Spanish as a second language). And you may ask why is that so important? Well, for two reasons:
1.- The content was created in Spanish as opposed to be created in English first and then translated/adapted into Spanish. Which could make a big difference because there's always mistakes in a translation. Here's an example of how translated Spanish can go wrong:
English: Please go to the Living room.
Translated: Porfavor ve a la sala (please go to the Livingroom).
How it actually is said in Mexico: Ve a la sala por favor (Go to the living room please).
So if you want to speak like a Native, always make sure the content you're learning was first created in the target language and never translated/adapted.
And this takes us to the second reason...
2.-Languages can vary a lot depending on the country. Just like the English spoken at the UK, at the US or South Africa. There will be a lot of similarity and you can understand each other for the most part but there are some difference as well. The same happens with Spanish in Mexico or Spain or any other Spanish Speaking country.
And these differences are not just accent, it could be that the same word has a complete different meaning in two countries. Here's an example:
Mexico: Torta (a sandwich)
Spain: Torta (a cake)
And although this curriculum uses some literature from other Spanish speaking countries (for the sake of exposure to great authors) the audios will be read with a Mexican accent and we won't focus on learning the idioms.
Now that you know what you need to look for in a Foreign Language curriculum let me tell you that CMSS was both:
*Designed to be used by CM families
*Content created by people that were born and raised in Mexico.
As mentioned on the method section, CMSS is a CM based curriculum that will give you the tools to teach your children Spanish during a first stage of a CM Foreign Language Study.
Our Curriculum is divided in Units to help you organize your study better. Each Unit is designed for you to teach it in one (5-6 words daily) or two (2-3words daily). But you are the teacher and you know your child so feel free to adjust those times as you wish.
In Each unit you will learn Spanish with:
-A science poster with Qr codes with audios and instructions.
-Picture book lessons. Audios and instructions.
-An audio poem on a book mark. You will recieve a bookmark with the Qr for the audio poem, some sentences to talk about the poem and images to help understand the poem. (With instructions).
-A song. You will receive a traditional spanish children song. A read aloud audio of the song along with a no word card with images of the nouns and instructions.
-Instructions and audios for a fun Gouin series.
-A Spanish challenge that will make you all Speak Spanish around the house one sentence at a time and build a real life conversation (Card and audio).
As you can see. All the material includes Spanish (native speaker)audios that you can easily access by scaning a qr code conveniently located on each card/poster. And this is why any family can learn with this curriculum, even if you don't speak any Spanish at all!
NOTE: The production of the printables and audios are currently in process and each unit will be made available as we complete recordings and art/design. So please come back soon to find more units or follow our social media to hear about new Units being released!