Charlotte Mason was a British educator in the late 1800s and early 1900s. She believed that children are persons in their own right deserving of respect and that they learn best when they are given time to play, create, and be involved in real-life situations. The Charlotte Mason method emphasizes short lessons covering a wide variety of subjects, as well as developing good habits. Students show what they know by giving narrations, participating in discussions, and keeping journals and a history timeline, rather than by taking tests. This style of homeschooling uses rich literature and “living books” rather than traditional textbooks or children’s books. Typical Charlotte Mason homeschool days might be filled: with nature walks and a nature study; journaling; copywork; dictation; handicrafts; art and music appreciation; foreign language; trips to museums; map work; memorization; as well as the usual academic subjects. The days will be scheduled into short blocks of time, alternating easy tasks with more challenging tasks. Afternoons are usually reserved for outdoor time and hobbies.

STRENGTHS

  • time-tested with a successful history spanning more than 100 years
  • easy on the budget with many downloadable materials available online
  • compatible with unit-study and classical homeschool methods
  • emphasizes the use of rich literature and “living books”
  • uses methods that will nurture a love for learning and reinforce good lifelong habits
  • many subjects can be covered with multiple siblings together

POINTS TO CONSIDER

  • most materials and websites generally reflect historically Christian-based philosophies
  • methods are well-suited to younger students; resources for students approaching high school level might be harder to track down
  • for more advanced studies in math and science, homeschooling parents may need to access additional sources
  • Charlotte Mason materials reflect an older time frame and don’t mention screen-based modern technology such as computers or television

RESOURCES

  • “A Charlotte Mason Education” by Katherine Levison
  • “More Charlotte Mason Education” by Katherine Levison
  • “A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning” by Karen Andreola
  • The Original Home Schooling Series by Charlotte Mason
  • “For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School” by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
  • simplycharlottemason.com
  • amblesideonline.org
  • charlottemasonhomeschooling.com (Living Books Press)
  • Maple Tree Publications
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