I love Charlotte Mason’s approach, her principles and philosophies. While I’m not a CM purist, I applied many of her principles, wisdom and approaches in our homeschooling; developing and deepening our application as both I and my children matured over the years.
Who was Charlotte Mason?
Charlotte Mason was a teacher and education lecturer in England in the late 1800s. She wrote detailed volumes, The Original Home Education Series, which inspired parents who sought to give their children the best education possible. Her educational philosophies and teachings were so well received that she established the Parents National Union (PNEU). They set up branches up in many major towns and cities. A monthly magazine called “The Parents Review“, which Miss. Masons edited, was circulated. Charlotte Mason founded her college in Ambleside, England in 1892. Her educational writings have continued her movement among modern homeschoolers.
A Charlotte Mason education is not a curriculum, but many of us apply her education principles to most homeschool classical or literature-based curriculums and those with a strong history and fine arts emphasis curriculums. Charlotte Mason purists follow her educational principles, her daily schedules, subjects, book lists and methods precisely as she recommended. You can find these free at Ambleside Online.
Essentially she focused on using Living Books to teach rather than using textbooks. Her methods cultivated the child focus for careful & attentive listening followed by their narrations. She included several disciplines such as Copywork, and detailed observations in Nature Study, Famous Artworks and Classical music appreciation. She promoted excellence through good habits and held high standards in all the academic subjects such as Language, Spelling, Mathematics, foreign language and Geography.
Here are several general Charlotte Mason Education posts ~
- How Gentle are Charlotte Mason’s Ways?
- Grace to say “Yes”
- Celebrate Charlotte Mason
- Theme for the Day ~ how to fit all the CM extras into your week
- Refreshed Daily Themes
- Charlotte Mason for a struggling child?
- CM Too Simple?
Where to begin?
Below are some of my Charlotte Mason’s posts under notable Charlotte Mason themes ~
Chose great books, classics, with full-bodied characters and engaging, informative style, stories that change lives and live in hearts and minds. Read these aloud daily to your children and let them narrate back (re-tell you) the story. Here are some posts:
- Learning Through Living Books
- Happy Read Alouds
- Loving Living Books
- Charlotte Mason on Living Books
- Great Books … Great Friends
- Ambleside Online is a free Charlotte Mason online curriculum. There are book lists for each year and a detailed reading schedule.
- Read Alouds ~ The Homeschooling Glue
- Read Alouds save a lot!
- Teach Creative Writing without Lessons
- Combine art and read alouds
- CM Remedial Course for an older child
- Success in Short Lessons
- Living Books Teach!
- What to do when your child doesn’t want to read the suggested book?
- 10 Tips on Reading Aloud
Narrations are the cornerstone of a Charlotte Mason education. Rather than workbooks, tests, enrichment exercises, children need to listen and remember as many details, facts or information from the material just read. Children must pay close attention while they listen to the story so that they can make it their own and express what they remember and understood as they narrate. (Oral narrations first, then dictated and finally at about 10 years, children start to write their own narrations themselves.)
- Narrations show what your child knows
- Mom – The Narration Scribe ~a very practical and important post that I refer to very often in other posts
- Narration Ideas Booklet ~Over 100 narration ideas & templates for every learning style
- Taking Time for Tangents
- Illustrated Narrations
- Oral narrations when a child hates writing
- Word Banks for narrations
- Lego hole-punched pictures for narrations
- Narrations 101 Jot & Draw
- Narrations 102 Type & Print
- Narrations 103 Puppets
Copywork & Language Arts
- Copywork is a simple, yet effective method to ensure children learn to write well. This is useful for both handwriting lessons, as well as learning and memorizing great thoughts, developing a rich vocabulary, improving spelling and deepening an appreciation of good literature. We often used the same copywork passages for Language Arts exercises. This effective method replaces any need for tedious grammar lessons.
- Copywork Pages
- Copywork ~ Famous Quotes from World Leaders
- Inspired by Nature ~ Famous Quotes Copywork Pages
- Our Latest Copywork And Dictation Pages – using Miss. Mason’s principles with our Sonlight curriculum
- Learning Language Arts – using dictations and copywork
- Natural Language Arts
- Nature Copywork pages
- Beatitudes Copywork Pages
Charlotte Mason emphasized short lessons. These highly concentrated “3R’s” lessons, lasting only 10 to 15 minutes encourages excellence and diligence. All my children learnt their handwriting using my laminated handwriting charts. With quick, simple lessons, children master the letter formation. We then quickly progress to copywork which reinforces handwriting lessons in a meaningful way without any handwriting programs.
- Handwriting Tips booklet
- Handwriting Free and Easy
- Charlotte Mason on Handwriting
- Handwriting Pages
- Laminated Handwriting Chart ~ but use your own font style!
- Why such a fuss about cursive handwriting?
A typical Charlotte Mason education encourages regular, weekly nature walks. Children are encouraged to explore, make detailed observations, journal and delight themselves in the beauty of nature.
- Nature Journals
- Making Time For Nature Study
- Cultivating Curiosity in Nature Study 3 Ways
- Nature Journal ~ Baby Robins in a Nest
- Make a Bag for Nature Study
- Nature Journal notebook pages
- Season and Outdoor Hour Challenge Cover Pages
- Calendar of Firsts and free download
- Mom’s Nature Journal Inspiration
- Perpetual Nature Journal Joys
- Make Your Own Perpetual Nature Journal – a frugal method
- Phenology Wheel with free download for Southern Hemisphere
- Introducing Naturalist John Muir Laws
- John Muir Nature Quotes free copywork pages
- Introducing Botanical Artist Lara Gastiger
- Special Offer Nature Journal Fun – Smash Nature journals
Picture Study and Music Appreciation
Typical Charlotte Mason schedule features the study of one famous composer and a famous artist and his/her works for a month. Each week we review the person’s biography and appreciate a new masterpiece or a musical piece.
- Fabulous Fine Arts Fridays
- Famous Musicians – a wall chart featuring some of the most famous musicians
- Famous Musician Biography Pages
- Music Appreciation Log Sheet
- Famous Artists – biography pages, lapbooks, notebook pages, art appreciation lessons
- Famous Artists Wall Chart
- Famous Impressionists – biography pages, lapbooks, notebook pages, art appreciation lessons
- Famous Impressionist Artists Wall Chart
- A New Art Page ~ here are all our art activities on 1 page
- How do I use the Art Era Timeline?
- Children Talking about their Art
Just as you study a composer and an artist per month, add a hymn study, focusing on one hymn once a week over a month. This included a background on the author as well as to understand, memorise and enjoy the words of these faith-building hymns.
- Hymn Study Schedule for 2011
- How is our Hymn Study going?
- Hymn Schedule 2012 12 new hymns, words, references, pictures hymn writer and musician
- Hymn Booklet Vol 1 Vol 2 neat, narrow booklet with all 2011 and 2012’s hymns
- Hymns 2012 Copywork dotted lines for young writers
- Hymns 2012 Copywork lined pages
Scripture Memory System
Found at Simply Charlotte Mason‘s website, a free download, this simple, yet highly effective, systematic Scripture Memory System, easily allows you to add new verses and revise previously studied Bible memory verses regularly.
- Memorizing Scripture the Simply Charlotte Mason Way
- Memory Verse Cards – Salvation
- Memory Verse Cards – Christian Living
- Memory Verse Cards – Prayer, Purity and Victory
Book of Centuries and Timelines
Charlotte Mason encouraged the habit of using Timelines or Book of Centuries as a weekly practice. As your child studies history, artists and composers, add details, pictures and illustrations to a timeline or Book of Centuries.
- Mom’s Book of Centuries – Record of Work – with free template downloads and lots of links.
- Make your own Frugal Timeline Book
- History Timeline – Our wall chart at the end of the year
- Updated Book Of Centuries to 2029 free download
Miss. Mason contributed a series of books on the Geography of England and emphasized skills and interest in map work and detailed geographical observations.
Foreign Language the CM Way
Teaching and learning a foreign language using Charlotte Mason’s approach.
The Atmosphere of Home
Most Charlotte Mason’s students enjoyed free time in the afternoons, playing outdoors, doing crafts, handiwork and hobbies. Not only were children to have this freedom, but mothers too were encouraged to be natural, flexible, free and enjoy picnics, be outside, discover “masterly inactivity”.
Training, discipline and motivation
Miss. Mason’s wisdom in child training and discipline is awesome. Her writings about developing good habits are especially inspiring.
- Working Independently yet Responsibly
- Praise & Mindsets
- On Track with Habit Training?
- Charlotte Mason on The Habit of Attention
- Just this 1 Thing!
- Motivation Within (Part 1)
- Motivation Within (Part 2)
- Turning those frowns upside down – Motivation!
- Cultivate Curiosity
- Mix Structure With Freedom
“Mother Culture” for mom
One of the best Charlotte Mason influences in homeschooling is her encouragement of moms. She urges mothers to join her children in their nature walks, fine arts, keeping a Book of Firsts and reading good literature. It is a gracious and generous lifestyle of learning and growing. Read these posts:
- Mix “Have” to with”Love” to wisdom for encouragement and inspiration
- Homeschool Interesting for Mom Too?
- Time For Creative Mom
Our Typical CM-inspired Homeschool day
Although these posts are not strictly CM posts, they show how we try to carry out her principles and methods. I felt I should include these posts to encourage new moms and those who are shifting over to Charlotte Mason.
- Relationships – the Real Reason
- How do preschoolers learn without formal school?
- What our typical school day looks like
- Starting School ~ those first days …
- How to fit in creative hands-on activities
- Add variety for sparkle
- “Behind” – But Not
- Routine vs Schedule
Charlotte Mason blog carnivals:
These carnivals share many Charlotte Mason inspired homeschool posts:
- Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival
- Charlotte Mason blog carnival – Education is an Atmosphere
- Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival – Education is a Life
Here are a few excellent resourceful posts to inspire:
- Charlotte Mason Basics – Jimmie’s Squidoo lens with stacks of links and resources
- The ABC’s of Charlotte Mason
- A Subject by Subject Approach to Charlotte Mason
- Would you like to submit your posts to Charlotte Mason Carnival? http://blogcarnival.com/bc/submit_2378.html
Links to some of my favourite Charlotte Mason blogs and sites:
- Ambleside Online
- Charlotte Mason and Home Education
- Charlotte Mason Help
- Childress Manor Academy
- Cottage School
- Fisher Academy Blogspot
- Handbook of Nature Study
- Harmony Art Mom
- Jimmie’s Collage
- Last In Line
- Milestones Academy
- Moments With Mother Culture
- Penny Gardner
- Simply Charlotte Mason
- The Tangle Wood School
- Charlotte Mason Made Easy (offers a 12-week online course)
- All Things Bright and Beautiful A weekly choice of Art, Music and Poetry to inspire a love in the hearts using a CM approach.
- Free Homeschool Deals– free Charlotte Mason Resources
If you wish to ask for advice, comment privately or make a suggestion, please feel free to write on the contact form on About Me page, I will respond to your private e-mail ASAP 🙂