So you want to use the Charlotte Mason approach in your home school? We’re happy to help you get started.
1. Get familiar with Charlotte Mason methods.
The thing to understand about the Charlotte Mason approach is that it is not a set curriculum; it is a group of methods. You can use her methods with many, many different resources. So the first step in getting started is getting familiar with her methods. Take your time and make sure you have a solid grasp on the how-to’s.
Several resources are available to help you.
A blog series called Subject by Subject that walks through each school subject and details the Charlotte Mason methods to use for them.
Education Is . . ., a free e-book, explains the basics of a Charlotte Mason education, one that includes the atmosphere of your home, the discipline of good habits, and the life-giving ideas that come from great books and methods.
Learning and Living: Homeschooling the Charlotte Mason Way brings you practical help and lots of encouragement for your children’s education. This 12-DVD set is designed to equip you with the knowledge and confidence you need to teach your children the Charlotte Mason way—all the way through high school. It’s the best resource we have for taking the concepts and theories of CM and showing how to apply them in a practical day-to-day manner.
A Charlotte Mason Education, by Catherine Levison, gives a great practical overview in short chapters.
More Charlotte Mason Education, by Catherine Levison, adds more details, deals with some specific questions especially with older students, and even gives some sample schedules.
A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning, by Karen Andreola, offers a look at how one mom incorporated Charlotte’s methods into her homeschool. Lots of wonderful ideas, recommendations, and practical tips.
Charlotte Mason’s Original Homeschooling Series is Charlotte’s own writings in six volumes: Home Education, Vol. 1; Parents and Children, Vol. 2; School Education, Vol. 3; Ourselves, Vol. 4; Formation of Character, Vol. 5; A Philosophy of Education, Vol. 6. The series is not easy reading, but it is very rich!
2. Decide whether to dive in or ease in.
Once you are familiar with how to teach in a Charlotte Mason way, take just a minute to determine how quickly you want to start using her methods. Do you want to dive in and use the methods for every subject in your home school right away, or do you want to ease into it little by little, making the transition a few methods at a time? It’s your choice.
If you’re ready to jump in, proceed to step 3. If you would like some helpful suggestions for easing into this approach, take a moment to read Making the Transition.
3. Draft a plan and gather resources.
All you have left to do now is select what to teach and when to teach it. Our free SCM Curriculum Guide will walk you through the process and give you our suggestions for what to teach, which resources are our favorites, and a simple schedule. We also have Keep It Simple lesson plans available to give you a complete step-by-step Charlotte Mason curriculum. If you would prefer to draft your own plan, the Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education book and DVD will help you design a custom plan for your family in 5 simple steps.
4. Enjoy learning and growing with your children.
Many parents tell us that they find the CM methods to be intuitive—what they would naturally do with their children. Charlotte Mason’s methods just make sense! So enjoy this wonderfully natural method of learning about the world around you. Enjoy watching your children thrive with these methods. And enjoy how much you will learn in the process, yourself. In fact, you may start to wonder if education can really be this simple. Yes, it can . . . the delightful Charlotte Mason way.