Frequently Asked Questions
All anyone needs to get started is Volume 1 of one or more languages. Each volume contains a detailed introduction of the method and how to use the volume. Each volume is designed to last you two years if you follow Miss Mason’s pace; three years if you go a little more slowly.
If you as the teacher are unfamiliar with the language you choose, consider buying the MP3 audio files for the volume. Note that the audio files are not an audiobook; you still need the corresponding volume.
If you know the language well and want to create your own curriculum for your children or students, then our eBook Teaching Languages with Miss Mason and François would be a great aid. It is a teaching guide that outlines the process of teaching a language lesson.
It also talks about what Miss Mason brought to François Gouin’s method and how her contribution makes a difference in the way we teach. It includes Miss Mason’s words about why this method is so effective and also what we know today from the latest research in neuroscience. The guide includes Miss Mason’s ideas for language assessment, teaching grammar, and some occasional alternatives to series work.
There are MP3 audio files for all lessons and exercises recorded by a native speaker. But teaching with Charlotte Mason’s method requires the full lesson text, both the English and the target language. By themselves the audio files will not make sense unless you also have a corresponding language volume.
No. You do not need to purchase the audio files unless you are unfamiliar with the pronunciation of the language. Many people like to hear the native accent to imitate it.
If you do order the audio files, simply let the teacher listen to them as teacher preparation or play them bit by bit to mimic what the teacher would have said, i.e., listen to the verbs first, then the full sentences. The audio files are created to mirror everything you see on the page. The series will always be labeled as part A. The response box possibilities are separated into responses to a single student versus many students--those are generally parts B and C. If there are grammar exercises or recitations, those will be labeled part D. You need only listen to the part that you are working on that day. Please note the audio files are quite large and are delivered by A+ Downloads. You have two weeks to download them.
No. An explanation of how to teach with Charlotte Mason’s method is included at the beginning of each volume. However, just as with Miss Mason’s books, there are some deep subjects here so in the teaching guide I cover some aspects of teaching in greater depth.
Miss Mason had several things to say about the effectiveness of the method–which are included in the guide–but modern neuroscience also supports many of Miss Mason’s ideas and I discuss that.
The guide also addresses how to assess languages using Miss Mason’s methods, how to teach grammar, and ideas for both taking breaks from series and creating series of your own.
Charlotte Mason believed that children should hold fine materials in their hands, including books. We have kept her vision by producing printed books that are nice to look at and to hold.
We do realize, however, that some people prefer the lightness of having their library on an electronic reader, and we have responded by offering eBook editions of the language volumes that have the same content with a slightly different layout.
Gouin series are very flexible and this method works for people of all ages. We have taught them to pre-K students and to adults. The pace you set and the kinds of exercises you do with them will change. Pre-schoolers may only learn three series a term. Middle schoolers will learn 7 or 8 per term and do copy work and enjoy making their own series. High schoolers will put the series into the appropriate form for yesterday and tomorrow, as well as make their own series.
Yes, these volumes can be used for high school credit. If you compare our volumes with high school texts, two differences will strike you:
- High school texts are heavy on learning nouns
- High school texts are heavy on explicit grammar lessons
Students using our volumes will use (not simply conjugate) more verbs than those covered in high school texts. They may also use more verbs in various verb tenses, however they will not necessarily know the name of the verb tense they are using.
That is, they will know how to say, “I did this yesterday” or “I will do it tomorrow” but they will not necessarily be able to tell you whether they are using the past tense, the preterite, the future, or the subjunctive. Gouin would say that knowing the grammatical term is less important than being able to speak correctly. Nevertheless, to use other grammatical resources, it is helpful for students to know the names of the tenses.
We recommend that high school students obtain a copy of Barron’s 501 Verbs for the target language of interest. This is a wonderful resource for checking to see if one has put the series into different tenses correctly.
We are also creating a series of grammar lessons designed with the high school student in mind.
Mostly Miss Mason believed in deducing grammar rules from the series. But her books contained some explicit grammar lessons; we have followed that example. The grammar exercises are there to provide a lesson in-between series.
Some of the lessons are explicit, e.g. definite articles in the language that change according to gender. Many of the lessons are implicit though, e.g. instead of teaching “the past tense,” we learn to say the series for “Yesterday, I …”.
The idea of changing how you say something for yesterday (or tomorrow) is taught, rather than the more abstract idea of “past tense” or “past perfect tense.”