Celebrating Charlotte Mason’s 100-year Legacy

January 16, 2023, marks a special milestone for the Charlotte Mason community: the 100th anniversary of Charlotte’s legacy. In celebration, we invited several regular contributors to the Simply Charlotte Mason Podcast to reflect on how Charlotte Mason’s wonderful principles and ideas have impacted their lives and homes.

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Share Your Story

Join us in celebrating Charlotte Maria Mason’s life, work, and legacy by leaving a comment to share your story. Here are some ideas to help you join in the celebration:

  • Tell how you first learned about Charlotte Mason.
  • Describe how Charlotte’s philosophy has affected the atmosphere of your home.
  • Explain what habit you are working on.
  • Share a Charlotte Mason quote or idea that has challenged or inspired you.

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Read other Charlotte Mason homeschoolers’ stories

  1. Stacy Montgomery Avatar
    Stacy Montgomery

    Those early days of rocking our firstborn in her nursery, I remember being so overwhelmed with the beautiful picture of how much God loved me. From that moment my heart’s desire was for my children to know that for themselves too. As they grew in the early years and I looked around at the world and our community, I knew I wanted our girls to really know God, to walk with Him, and to love Him with their whole beings, but I didn’t know how to give them that. I had been brought to the Lord at a young age, but I never learned how to grow with Him. My own education seemed so inadequate too, that I felt I had little in way of leading them. As I started to ask the Lord for these things, I felt the call to homeschool when our oldest was 4. We started with a group curriculum that fall, and I met a lady who introduced me to a Scripture Memory System and instructions from the SCM website on how to use it. As I begin to dig into the website, I was introduced to Charlotte. Everything I saw and read resonated with what I had been longing and praying for. I researched book lists, and schedules, how to teach all the subjects and more, and we have been Charlotte Mason people ever since. The first CM book I read was Pocketful of Pinecones, by Karen Andreola. From that book I knew this was how we were going to raise our family. I grew up on a farm with lots of land, but it wasn’t until I learned about nature-study through this book and from Charlotte’s teaching that I realized I had never noticed any nature friends on our land, despite spending most of my childhood time there.

    Through the last 15 years, I have been implementing Charlotte’s methods in our homeschooling and our home. My girls are now a graduate and college student, and the other is a few years away from her own graduation. As I look at these two young women, they are beautiful souls who love God; they know Him; they desire to follow Him. They love others, they are kind to creatures in nature, they grow still and enjoy being around their own nature friends. This past spring during a scholarship interview at the college my daughter now attends, she was asked what she would do if she were president for a day. She impressed them with her response. She said that she would make a daily nature-walk mandatory for all people, because of how all our years of nature study shaped her own heart and mind. The atmosphere Charlotte’s ideas nurtured in our home has given us all a close-knit relationship with one another. My girls can hold conversations about really interesting things! It’s so neat to see the fruit of their well-rounded education through Charlotte’s practices, because it has allowed each girl to really bloom in their unique person. Even though we all read the same books and studied the same lessons, they each have formed their own relationships based on who they are individually. A Charlotte Mason Education allowed and still allows me to consider ideas with them, and to tailor their education to their needs. Our home has peace, love, joy, relationships, and knowledge of God, man and the universe; I attribute that to God’s blessing of Charlotte’s legacy.

    A habit that I am currently working on is to be intentional with my time. I balance many things that have been given to my responsibility, and I want to be a better steward of those responsibilities.

    I have always taken my job as parent serious. I know they are gifts from the Lord and God says whether we eat, or drink or whatever we do, do all to the glory of God– that most certainly includes parenting. I didn’t begin reading Charlotte’s volumes until a few years ago, and when I found this idea in Parents and Children, it made me cry, because it resonated with my soul of who I want to be as a mother.
    “The foundation of parental authority lies in the fact that parents hold office as deputies; and that in a two-fold sense. In the first place, they are the immediate and personally appointed deputies of the Almighty King, the sole Ruler of men; they have not only to fulfil his counsels regarding the children, but to represent his Person; his parents are as God to the little child; and, yet more constraining thought, God is to him what his parents are; he has no power to conceive a greater and lovelier personality than that of the royal heads of his own home; he makes his first approach to the Infinite through them; they are his measure for the highest;…”- Charlotte Mason, Parents and Children, page 14-15
    Charlotte’s philosophies have challenged me to be the best ambassador for God to my girls whether we are studying math and history, Bible, science and nature study or I am representing his Person to them by the atmosphere and discipline I live and train them by. Realizing that studying all these subjects creates a life, I intentionally model a teachable spirit to my girls for all areas of knowledge. We have an atmosphere in our home where an education is a gift to be sought after, where it is life-giving, and it is a relationship to be nurtured and loved.
    I am truly thankful for Charlotte.

  2. I have the privilege of being a second-generation Charlotte Mason homeschool parent. It’s been a wonderful blessing to grow up with her methods and see how effective they are in my own life, then to use them with my children right from the start. I have watched my children grow and thrive with living ideas. It’s just been a joy to see learning come alive for them and to see them make their own connections every day even outside of formal school times.

  3. Kristyn Avatar

    (I contributed this to the Modern Miss Mason website last year when Leah Boden put out a similar call):
    “As a child I was bookish, artsy, and outdoorsy (I still am). My parents indulged these interests during the summers when we used vacation time for museum visits and camping trips. But then the school year arrived and I was back in a school system that was all about sports and test scores. Using Miss Mason’s methods with my six kids for these past 20 years has given my family the ability to live life ‘on holiday.’ All my children are both interesting and interested people, and I know this is in part to the beautiful educational life we live.”

  4. valerierohde Avatar

    I first learned about Charlotte Mason when some homeschool friends of our family, who were just a step ahead of us on their journey, were talking about this method with beautiful living books (book lover here!), and handicrafts, habits, and hours spent in nature and journaling. Not only those lovely parts of the CM philosophy, but the emphasis of homeschooling as a family with faith as a foundation. It was exactly what I had always envisioned but didn’t know it existed!

    Charlotte’s philosophy has affected the atmosphere of our home by creating a rich environment around us of Scripture memory, avid readers, and a love for nature, displayed in our many nature items on bookshelves, tables, and pants pockets around our home. Our home has beautiful art prints displayed, bookshelves full of living books, and spaces to create. Our children are a bit more naturally bent to be loud and energetic so we have been working on habits of a sweet-even temper, attention, obedience, and currently, cleanliness, so they can take ownership over their spaces, hygiene, and contributing to the atmosphere of our home in that way too.

    There are so many Charlotte Mason quotes and ideas over the years that have stuck with me and have challenged me in my own desires for our family. The quote that I am currently keeping top of mind is, “If mothers could learn to do for themselves, what they do for their children when these are overdone, we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play! If she would only have courage to let everything go when life becomes too tense, and just take a day, or half a day, out in the fields, or with a favorite book, or in a picture gallery looking long and well at just two or three pictures, or in bed, without the children, life would go on far more happily for both children and parents. The mother would be able to hold herself in ‘wise passiveness’, and would not fret her children by continual interference, even of hand or eye – she would let them be.” School Education, p. 33. This quote gives me both encouragement and challenges me as a mom who sometimes feels like I have to “do all the things” all the time. It is the “wise passiveness” that is freeing for both mom and children. A gentle reminder to humbly observe the children in their capabilities and their element and a reminder that our children are God’s and He has them sovereignly in His hands. A reminder that we, as mothers, are uniquely given our children for His purposes and ultimately to bring Him glory. We mothers can give grace to ourselves and our children along the way. We don’t have to do this CM homeschooling “perfectly” or always try to control our days. There is beauty to be had in every day and sometimes when it feels like the wheels are about to fall off the wagon, we can take a breath, extend grace, lay our days at the feet of our Father, and trust in the big picture that we, as mothers, can engage in something joyful and life-giving just for ourselves. And our children, seeing mom doing something that brings a smile to her face and more joy to the home, is worth so very much and improves the atmosphere of the home, even if she doesn’t realize that is what she is doing in that moment. As a mom who can be a bit perfectionistic, this remembering the calling in Deuteronomy 6:5-7, and the way the CM method helps us to walk that out as parents, is a true gift to our home and I am so grateful God placed us in just the right time and place where we could be poured into by others just a step ahead of us and that we were excited to dig into the wise words of friends those many years ago as we were just beginning our journey.

  5. Ginny Mendez Avatar
    Ginny Mendez

    Our homeschool has followed CM ideas for over 20 years, but I still need to focus more!!! It’s wonderful!!

  6. Greetings from Peru. We have a Charlotte Mason Peruvian Community here in Peru – South America. By God´s grace we are learning day by day to embrace our role as mothers who teach our kids, and the 20 principles is helping us a lot. Atmosphere, Discipline and Life. Hugs from your peruvian sisters. Time to celebrate 100 years 🙂

  7. Lanaya Avatar

    I wanted to read to my kids — good books, meaningful books. I wanted to read the books for myself that they were going to read for school. 🙂 Charlotte Mason gave me permission to read with my kids, learn alongside them, and the structure of how to use living books for educating. She’s been a great mentor.

  8. Amanda Avatar

    I first discovered Charlotte Mason as a young teen– I saw Charlotte’s 6 pink volumes on my cousin’s bookshelves as my cousin was first beginning her own homeschool journey. Watching my cousin homeschool, I knew I wanted that lifestyle for my children some day: a day filled with rich literature and beautiful ideas.

    Twenty years later, I was a mother with a little boy of my own and I began to explore literature based homeschool curricula. Shortly thereafter I encountered a small book called “For The Children’s Sake” by Susan Shaeffer Macaulay. It was a breath of fresh air. At that point I dove into soaking in all I could about Charlotte and her methods.

    Understanding Charlotte’s basic principles of education has brought so much peace and purpose to our homeschool– we knew what we were doing, and why we were doing it. It has helped me to know what opportunities to say yes to and what opportunities were not for us.

    My favorite quote that I come back to is from School Education, page 170: “The question is not, – how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education- but how much does he care? and about how many of orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?”

    I want to honor my children as persons and give them the space to build the relationships with God, their fellow man and the world around them. Then they can blossom and make the world a better place. I am so thankful Charlotte shared these principles in her volumes. They have impacted our family culture and have made the world a more beautiful place!

  9. Jessica Avatar

    Where to begin. . . I have a 16 yo bonus son, whom I’ve wanted to homeschool since he first moved in with us. It wasn’t until he started failing during COVID that the rest of the family finally decided that I could try it. I also have a 4yo who I had already decided I was going to homeschool before he was born.

    When I pulled my older son out of school, I went directly to books. I was a teacher previously and have a love for books myself. I decided to try a few literature based curriculums, but I would purchase them and use only the books and what I know now is called narration. I also have a fascination with nature so we spend as much time outside as we can.

    As I was researching homeschool curriculums and methods, I came across this site. I began reading and looking through. I watched all the videos and searched for more Charlotte Mason information. I felt right at home with her philosophy and method. I continued to read and discovered that what I was doing all along had a “name.”

    Every time I read something, I learn just a little more about how I can improve what I am doing and make it into a full education. Our home and family is flourishing now that we know what we feel is working is actually considered an “education style.”

    We allow ourselves to enjoy reading together, living in nature, studying beautiful things, and doing some reading on our own. It fits so well within our family’s lifestyle.

  10. I feel so incredibly blessed having come upon the Charlotte Mason method. I only wish I’d known from my children’s birth, but it’s still been great with what we’ve been able to cover the past 6 years. We began Charlotte Mason homeschooling when my children were ages 6,8,11&13. I’m learning more all the time and would love to still have the opportunity to share this beautiful lifestyle with another baby or maybe one day, grand babies. I’m about to graduate my 2nd child from a Charlotte Mason education and still continue on with my 12&14 year olds. I couldn’t say enough about the gentle, natural, unique experiences we’ve been able to live out because of the wide educational opportunities that Charlotte Mason has opened up to us. I hope to continue to share the Charlotte Mason way with anyone who would like to keep their children home to be children, to play outside and learn in the most beautiful stress-free way, filled with music, art, literature and nature as top priorities.

  11. Spencer Lacey Bench Avatar
    Spencer Lacey Bench

    I am a second generation CM homeschooler. My mom implemented Charlotte’s philosophy’s in my growing up years & now I’m doing the same. Such a blessing!
    Her philosophy’s bring me such peace & joy, they have made me a more peaceful mother & person. I strive to give my children an enriching childhood & education.
    Currently, the habit of moral & propriety. I have 3, 3 & under so I’m working on training them.. & myself!
    I just love “I am, I can, I ought, I will” this is said daily in our household.

  12. Jeannette Tulis Avatar
    Jeannette Tulis

    As I look back on my Charlotte Mason Journey, started about 26 years ago, I am so grateful for Charlotte’s wisdom and educational philosophy. I was able to learn alongside my children so many beautiful things. As I taught them, I wanted to learn all the stories, the stories behind history, behind nature study, behind the masterpiece paintings, behind the classical music pieces, behind the poems. So I read biographies, I went on many walks with naturalists, I followed museum docents around. I also kept my own nature journal and learned how to use watercolors. I developed some skill at handicrafts, I learned the names of what I saw in nature. I collected and became a bit of an expert in children’s books and started a lending library at my home. Those things continue to interest me even though my children now are out of the house and on their own. Today I am passing on what I learned to parents and children as I lead nature groups, a CM support group, lend books, tutor and teach a little kindergarten enrichment group. My life has been changed as I have tried to follow Charlotte’s teaching and I am so much richer for it.

  13. Stacey Carroll Avatar
    Stacey Carroll

    Whenever we signed our daughter up for Kindergarten early, my husband was saying he felt that the only way to go was to homeschool. I was not convinced and felt unqualified but I prayed, quizzed my friends who homeschooled watched blogs and vlogs. I looked up curriculum companies, I watched so many videos and prayed a lot and kept coming across Sonya Shafers videos. I was blown away because I knew I never enjoyed txt books and unabridged books though I didn’t know what that meant. I adored books all of my life and already felt drawn to living books. I prayed and asked the Lord for three things if he wanted me to homeschool. In 24 hrs he answered. It’s not always been easy but it’s been the best things for my family. I’m so very greatful for this opportunity to learn again, to cherish the family time. It has been such a blessing! Thank you for paving the way for us! I’m so very thankful for Sonya and Karen Andreola and Karen Smith,
    Rachel B. and all of you who have shared your journey and love of Charlotte Mason with us. Blessings!

  14. Taylor Avatar

    When I was a child, my mother had the pink volumes on her shelf. She homeschooled me and my siblings in an “eclectic” way, picking and choosing the best parts of many philosophies. When I was in college getting an education degree, my teacher touched on the Charlotte Mason Method during one of my classes. I filed away all these experiences and embarked on homeschooling my children in my own way. We wandered around for the first 4 years of our homeschooling without much direction, until some of my friends introduced me to their group of Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. I joined their book club, we started attending classes, and they gave me the confidence to pursue the Charlotte Mason Method. The desires of my heart: a close, loving relationship with my children, exploring the beauty of the world, enjoying the best of human and Divine creation, and fostering a peaceful home, were now attainable goals for our future. The Charlotte Mason Method transformed our homeschool and our home life in an unquantifiable way.

    1. Beautiful! We are so privileged to be able to live our lives with this gift! May our children wish the same for their families! Here’s to practicing Charlotte Mason in our lives together for years to come. 💗

  15. Dominique Lee Avatar
    Dominique Lee

    I found the Charlotte Mason method about a year ago. My son was soon to be 3 years old and I was both in awe of and slightly terrified by how much of a sponge he was in every capacity of his new life. I had been praying, “God please help me to be a good steward over this little one you have entrusted to me”, and Our God is good. Through my search in to the different methods of homeschooling, I came upon a blog post about something Charlotte Mason related. I think it felt right from the very start. I picked up Charlotte Masons books and started working through them . The more I read, the more I was encouraged and began to see what the framework of our homeschool might look like. We subscribed to the Our Preschool life box and those have been such wonderful resources for us.
    Charlottes’ thought that mothers ought to give their best hours to their children. That real purposeful effort should be made in that direction has inspired me to prayerfully consider many of my ways. I try to guard our schedule, so we are not hurried or overwrought, but instead have time. Time for things when they don’t go as planned, time to enjoy and time to observe. Time to talk and listen, and time for quiet.
    When there is time enough for things, it is amazing how much more room there is for patience, peace, and building relationships.
    Right now we are really in the thick of it, with the habit of obedience and natural consequences. My son is almost four and every day we are presented with many opportunities to practice. As a mom I am working very hard to stop my habit of repeating myself and replace that with a habit of calm clear direction. I have to say that those little fleeting moments when you see the fruit of the habit being formed. It is so lovely and encouraging.
    Charlottes’ thoughts on our children as persons and how that relates to us providing a feast of ideas that they will then glean from as they self educate. Or as it seems education that is Spirit led. This is such a contrast to the much more common idea that children must be moulded and shaped by their teachers, leaving much less room for God’s handiwork.
    When I as a parent so desperately desire for my child to have an ever growing relationship with Christ, the idea that I can pour into providing that feast and leave room for God to be about His work, because I know that He is faithful. What a beautiful thing that is. That has been such a comfort to me.

  16. Katie T Avatar
    Katie T

    I had felt led to homeschool from when my oldest was very small, but my girls ended up going to public school until they were in 1st and 3rd grade. I had always thought if I could homeschool, I would definitely choose the classical method (as it is used now). When things lined up and I was able to follow the lead into homeschooling, a friend of mine quickly rattled off various homeschool methods to check out, and one was Charlotte Mason. I ended up with a copy of For the Children’s Sake a few weeks later and I was giddy over how well the methods resonated with me.

    I immediately realized that although I had been a very good student growing up, the only things I still *knew* were the ones I had formed connections with.

    We are now in our 7th year homeschooling, all with the CM method, and I am so thankful every day that Charlotte was willing to share her wisdom with us!

  17. Karolina Avatar

    I started researching homeschooling methods and philosophies almost as soon as my oldest was born. I liked the apparent middle of the road between unschooling and neo-classical/traditional approaches that I found CM to be.
    CM is a natural extension of the gentle/attachment parenting I was already implementing. It gives me the “excuse” to include all the fun stuff: art appreciation, classical music, nature observation, poetry, and tons of reading!
    Currently we are working on the habit of completing tasks.
    My favorite CM quote is “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.” Trying to keep records of “what we do for school” quickly proved to be a futile endeavor because learning never stops! And we learn much more when we’re intentional about it – hence the discipline. Finally, love of learning is just a way of life for us. Field trips, activities, games, conversations, everything we do together is an extension of education.

  18. Amanda Avatar

    I pulled a school weary boy from the public school system for his first grade year at home. He had been in private and public schools since he was three. I quit my job and we sold our great big beautiful home and bought an ugly home across town. Armed with memories from my homeschool education and a few rod and staff books we started in. It was a very rough year.
    I didn’t give in though, had a very specific ideal in my head and it was a bit before I got a name for it -Charlotte Mason. Once I knew the name to the ideals information was much easier to find. A fellow second gen homeschooler lent me her Charlotte Mason Learning and Living DVDs and I wrote so many many notes that weekend!!
    My son has combined ADHD and his doctor’s are always so happy and affirmative in our homeschool days.
    It’s her heart that matters me trust her. A true education for all. For the whole being. What a beautiful idea. We’re so blessed to have you who have gone before us pave this way, have this information dug up for us.
    I’m so grateful and pray God bless you greatly.

  19. Louise Crystal Avatar
    Louise Crystal

    Our learner upholds the 100th year of CM’s legacy through her love of narration and the idea of sharing living books through storytelling, picture study, and beautiful words to her nursery, preschool, and kindergarten community-mates. What an amazing heart our young person has!

    Thank you, Charlotte Mason, for giving us tools to build our atmosphere, discipline, and life!

  20. Amber McEwen Avatar
    Amber McEwen

    “Children are born persons.” This idea was revolutionary in Charlotte’s time and is foundational to how we live happily now. How refreshing it was when I first read Home Education to find a woman whose ideas aligned with my own beliefs. Ten years into following Charlotte’s philosophy, my heart is filled with gratitude for the chance I’ve had to honor my children’s individuality, to be present in their formation of character and to emphasize the holy spirit as the revealer of truth.

  21. W Famo Avatar
    W Famo

    Professionally, I worked in the adult education field for 20 years before homeschooling kids. It was several years into homeschooling that I discovered the beautiful books on Charlotte Mason booklists and then the beautiful order with which the AmblesideOnline curriculum is presented. In implementing the curriculum, I discovered Charlotte herself and her concepts.

    I am continually amazed that Charlotte Mason is relegated to the homeschooling field, because so many of her principles align perfectly with adult education principles that have been “discovered” by 20th century researchers, mostly men, and poorly implemented on a colossal scale. The ideas that people learn only what they are most interested in and retain only what they encounter from multiple, living sources have been repackaged by many since her, but without attribution or recognition of her as a source. Her approach to organizing our treasured nuggets of knowledge and experience and wisdom into lifelong notebooks is grounding and empowering and enabling. Where unit studies end, Charlotte Mason style studies expand and extend as long and as far as the student’s interest.

    As Barbara Cooney illustrated in her story Miss Rumphius, our purpose in life is to put beauty into the world, and Charlotte Mason did that in a way that allows each individual to find beauty and surround themselves with it, spreading it to everyone around them. Her emphasis on well ordered self direction in education, if universally applied, could solve the crises faced by generations of youth by helping them to take pride in their own unique interests rather than having to fit within the mold and expectations of others.

  22. Francois Ndala Avatar
    Francois Ndala

    Thank you for that history of Charlotte Mason, for her education. l am in 5th grade, home schooled and we are following Charlotte Mason philosophy. God bless her soul!

With thankfulness it can be said that ‘the thought lives, the work goes on.’

(The Story of Charlotte Mason, p. 195)