Theme park

Are any of your friends heading to a theme park this summer? It seems like, at any given time, at least one of my friends will be planning a trip to one, or heading off on her trip, or posting pictures and memories of her trip. Combine that with the fact that we have a friend staying with us who used to work at a theme park, and for some reason it comes up in conversations a lot.

So is it any wonder that eventually my mind formed a relation? In this post I would like to have a little fun and use a theme park as an illustration. Think about taking a trip to a theme park and I’ll compare that to what you will find at Simply Charlotte Mason.

(Now, let me insert a hopefully unnecessary disclaimer here. Obviously this comparison is going to break down if you push it in other directions than I intend. I am not saying that a Charlotte Mason education is simply an amusement, nor that it is expensive, nor that it needs a mascot with feathers or whiskers, nor any other far-fetched analogy. I am simply sketching an idea that made me grin a bit and that I hope will be enjoyable, and maybe even a little helpful, to you. So thank you for smiling with me and hearing my heart.)

Just for a little fun, here is how you can compare SCM to a trip to a theme park.

The focus of a trip to a theme park is to experience the rides and attractions. Of course, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different rides and attractions in this world, and different parks feature different ones.

So when you enter the park you receive a map that gives you the layout of the park with the rides labeled and the shows listed. You can see which attractions are included in that park and where each one fits into the larger scheme of things.

With that map in hand, you can set your own itinerary of which rides you want to experience in which order and on which days. Often the overview map will also tell you the age recommendations for the rides. Some are geared for the whole family to enjoy together; others are designed for particular ages or have height and weight restrictions. You can determine which family members are good candidates for certain rides, who will be riding each one, or if you want to skip some attractions all together.

Let’s compare that to SCM.

The focus of a Charlotte Mason education is to experience the living books, the music, the art, the nature— all of those lovely and exciting things that make a Charlotte Mason education so rich and enjoyable. Of course, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of living books, music and art pieces, poets and nature emphases in this world; and different Charlotte Mason sites feature different ones.

So when you come to our website, you can view our SCM Curriculum Guide. Think of it as the overview map of the park. It will give you the layout of our design for a Charlotte Mason education with the resources labeled. You can see which resources we include—which are our favorites—and where each one fits into the larger scheme of things.

With the curriculum guide in hand, you can set your own itinerary for your homeschool year. You can determine which books you want to read, which artists you want to study, which composers you want to listen to, which poets you want to focus on in which order and during which terms. Our curriculum guide also details the resources we think are geared for the whole family to enjoy together and which ones we suggest for specific grades. You can decide which of your students are good candidates for certain resources, which ones you want to assign, or if you want to skip some all together.

There is another piece to this light-hearted comparison that I’ll share next time. In the meanwhile, feel free to take a look at our SCM Curriculum Guide—your map to the park— to see the big picture and help you make a plan for the upcoming school year.


  1. Sonya-
    I love this analogy! It has given me a light bulb moment. I have been mulling over the math choices on SCM’s website and sort agonizing over what to chose for my next child. I know that the SCM team always says to “choose what is best for your child”. I don’t know why, but I have a difficult time doing this. I guess I think that if I choose the wrong thing, it won’t be “CM enough”.
    Your analogy has helped me to see the big picture of how many choices can fit into the CM world – such a freeing idea! Thank you.

  2. This is a great analogy! I just wanted to say thank you for all that you all do to make building an atmosphere, discipline, and life for our families so approachable, practical, and encouraging. In a straightforward way, you guide me to excellent resources and methods, and give me the liberty to make any adjustments needed to fit my family and our particular situation. I always come away from your workshops (via the dvds and audio messages) and resources with burdens lifted rather than more heaped on, and for that I am so grateful! Thank you for doing so much to mobilize me for loving and teaching my children in a whole way!

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