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Charlotte Mason’s Masterly Inactivity for Younger Children

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More Than a Charlotte Mason Moment

Charlotte Mason’s Masterly Inactivity for Younger Children

Our Heart of Dakota programs are kept purposefully short in the younger years to give your kiddos time to focus on the 3 R’s. In addition, kiddos are able to have their afternoons free for what Charlotte Mason called “masterly inactivity” on the parent’s part. Masterly Inactivity basically means kiddos have free time to pursue their own interests in the afternoons. To give you an example of what this looked like at our house I’ll share this past post from when my children were younger.

What Children Might Do with Masterly Inactivity Time Individually

Sometimes children enjoy using their masterly inactivity time individually. This past week my 6 year-old used his free time to color and create kites of his various stuffed animals. His clown fish kite was my favorite. My 9 year- old recorded Tales from the Ark for my 6 year-old, complete with sound effects and various voices. Likewise, my boys have done this with Wind in the Willows and Tales from Dust River Gulch. My 12 year-old has been latch-hooking. He has also been outside daily practicing target shooting with his bow and arrow in our yard. My 2 year-old has just walked around gathering things!

What Children Might Do with “Masterly Inactivity” Time Together

Sometimes children enjoy using their masterly inactivity time together. All of the boys have worked together to build an entire Geotrax set-up, which covers the entire living room. The design of it is amazing, and they pick up and drop off to army men who are set up nearby. The 2 year-old has been stepping gingerly around this! My husband and I also have been treated to a magic show, which my middle sons have been practicing this week.

Free-time activities change from week to week.

Now, on any one given week, my boys activities will look totally different, but my boys have learned how to occupy their own time with things that interest each of them. If they don’t have their free-time (a.k.a. “Masterly Inactivity” time), they are sad. If we do errands, they’ll often say, “Mom, when will be home? I was planning on working on or doing … this afternoon.”

So, I’d encourage you to enjoy homeschooling in our younger guides, enjoy your free-time, and allow your kiddos to cultivate that masterly inactivity. You’ll be amazed at what children who have long periods of time to think can come up with!



This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Bethany

    We just finished reading “By The Great Horned Spoon” for Storytime. Now my children are using their free time to “stake claims” in the back yard and dig for “gold” (lumps of clay), which turned into making clay pots, which turned into painting clay pots! (They also pretend to drink coffee like Jack!) It’s always fun when the books we read inspire children’s imaginations! (Even if it does make for some muddy children at the end of the day)

    1. What excellent examples of Charlotte Mason’s Masterly Inactivity! Living books truly often provide the only inspiration needed to spark children’s imagination. We loved reading this, Bethany!!!

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