CM religion base

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  • jill smith

    O.K. can some one answer a question, I have been told by a resouce place for homeschoolers in my area that Cm is very un religious and I should refrain form using it. That she has odd phalosiphies. Just wondered if i could get some in put. I want all of our curicculum to be Christ based and not taken from some other form. I do love the History and the literature. Not sure on the Bible. Havent made that purchase yet becasue of the comcern! I guess the remark was she was very liberal.


    Charlotte Mason Education is based on principals and methods advocated by Miss Mason. Very little in those principals or methods is strictly “Christian” and I have met a number of secular Charlotte Mason educators. That said, there is very little that is contradictory to my undersatnding of Christianity. Charlotte Mason was a Christian, although from my reading of her I do not agree with everything doctrinally, I seldom agree with everything that anyone says so I just use it as an opportunity to discuss and help my kids understand why I believe what I believe. Since I direct my child’s eduction, it is easy for me to edit, discuss and keep things where I feel they ought to be for my children.

    The part about CM being liberal is true, but not in the modern political sense. Charlotte Mason advocated for a “liberal education” for all children. In her time (late 1800s, early 1900s) poor children often got no education at all, and if they did it was often very limited. Liberal in the CM sense implies a generous and broad curriculum for all children, regardless of social class. She wanted to inspire the minds of all children to their maximum potential, not turn them into political automatons.


    Charlotte Mason was Anglican. (Someone correct me if I am wrong.) I’m not sure what you mean by unreligious.  She held the child as a person created by God in high regards.  She wrote much about parents being entrusted by God to care for and educate their children.  She believed that Christianity is not separate from other subjects, but that all our learning (or teaching) should point the child towards God.  I think there may be some curricula that use a good bit of CM’s methods but remove any religious books to make them “secular,” but CM did not advocate doing so, and I believe was very much against that very act.  You may want to read over Charlotte Mason’s 20 principles to get a better idea.

    Go to  Then click on the link for Charlotte Mason Series.  Then look down at “Other Options” to learn more about Charlotte Mason and her ideas.

     Of course, you can also read her writings, but that would take much more time.  (If your do choose to follow CM’s ideas, I encourage to read her writings.)


    Obviously that person knows nothing of Charlotte Mason or her work! 😉

    I have heard of people who try to make a Charlotte Mason education completely secular, but I think that it would be hard to do her philosophy justice without religion (which ever doctrine/denomination you choose to follow). She constantly refers to Christ and scripture in her writings. She is full of love for and in Christ and all her philosphy leads back to worshipping God. She often had the children reading from both the Old and New Testaments, and talks about how math and science both prove that there is a Creator.

    As for liberal, I find it interesting how much people’s understanding and attitudes of that word have changed in the last 90-100 years. =) If you told me that my children were having a liberal education in PS, I’d be concerned, whereas I can say that my children are getting a liberal CM education and I would understand that meant my children were being exposed to a WIDE (or liberal) variety of important ideas OF WORTH and beautiful music, art, and the written word in its many forms. 😉

    As mentioned above, CM advoated teaching ALL children, no matter their “station in life’. She contended that a coal miner, a scullery maid, and a weathly child all had the ability to learn, grow and achieve beyond their stations if taught. She wanted to give ALL of them a liberal eduation – one that involved art appreciation and creative art, music appreciation and playing instruments, ancient and modern history, math and how it is applicable in all our lives, nature and science, poetry, hymns, scripture study, Shakespeare and Plutarch, life skills, teaching correct habits, etc. She felt that it was as important to feed spirits and minds as much it was to feed little bodies. 

    Have you personally read any of her works in her own words? It will make it easier to decide for yourself if you go to the original source. =)

    Try reading the first few pages of Home Education linked here (scroll down past the table of contents). Scan through and see what she has to say. It will give you a fairly good idea of how she feels about the importance of teaching children about Christ. 


    Just recently, I was listening to someone discuss some of Charlotte Mason’s exam questions and the student’s answers. One question pertained to the kind of kingdom that Christ was establishing. I was blown away by the answer that this student answered. It was quite obvious that she spent a lot of time with her students in the Bible. While I don’t agree with Mason’s views on everything, I would not agree with what you heard.


    I blog a lot on such things. Here is one relevant post:

    I really think CM’s underlying premises are very Christian.



    I too do not agree with absolutely everything that Charlotte Mason wrote, but I think that she got a lot right! It is worth mentioning here a quote from vol 6 of her series: “Of the three sorts of knowledge proper to a child, the knowledge of God, of man, and of the universe,––the knowledge of God ranks first in importance, is indispensable, and most happy-making.”  Her students studied the Bible all throughout their schooling as the source of “the expressed knowledge [of God] attainable by us.”  I don’t know why anyone would consider her unreligious.

    Rachel White

    I think those above have answered your concerns. Jus rtmy two cents follows:

    It seems to me that your source of info. has not read CM’s writings nor does the person recognize the different definition and use of the word “liberal” over the years.

    I’m glad you asked instead of just taking one person’s word for it; it’s a credit to you. It should remind all of us to do our own homework on topics, since others don’t necessarily do theirs nor do people generally take into consideration the changing definitions of words over the years.

    Our Founder’s were liberals – in the classical definition of the word, not in the modern usage of it.


    Agreeing with everyone else. I feel as though your source has not spend much time reading her writings. Charlotte closely tied God to her educational philosophies.

    Even if you don’t have preschoolers, a suggested reading would be Chapter 11 of Sonya Shafter and Karen Smith’s book entitled The Early Years: A Charlottte Mason Preschool Handbook. Many, many CM quotes on Christianity are included in that 10+ page Chapter. I refer to it weekly to make sure I am on the right spiritual track with my children (and as an adult).


    Excerpt from Charlotte writings:      

    “But what can the parent do? Just this, and no more: he can present the idea of God to the soul of the child.”Vol 1 Home Education, p. 344

    Many prayers from our home to yours. One of the main reasons we stay with CM materials is because it is God-centered. 🙂 


    Thought you might like Nancy’s latest blog post.

    For some reason, I’m not able to copy/paste the link, and it’s quite long.  So, just visit  It should be the first post to appear.  “Cultural Education Versus Education for Examinations and Tests”

    I think it’s funny that TailorMade and missceegee posted a link to the same article, on different forum threads, within probably an hour of each other. Not surprisingly, it is such a good read! I am going to post the link to the actual blog post so it will be easier for someone to find in the future:

    Thanks for sharing, TailorMade! I’m not one who keeps up with blogs, but this is one blog that I’ve been pointed to a number of times and if I ever do get in the habit of reading blogs, I think this is one I would want to keep on my short list!

    Rachel White

    This quote:

    The statistic compilers, and the examiners, the Boards and the Joint Boards, all those people whose mouths…are gorged with sawdust, have it all their own way, standardizing, consolidating, synchronizing and all the rest of it, until education has become that gigantic sausage machine which it is at present, the pig going in at one end and coming out educated pork at the other.

    Completely reminds me of Pink Floyd’s “We Don’t Need No Education” video/portion from the movie “The Wall”. ( I know some of you knmow what I’m talking about!)

    For those that don’t know:

    In the movie/video, the students were walking in a straight line into a factory machine and coming out as processed meat.

    It’s like an exact visual of what he said; and considering Pink Floyd was made up of Brits, it makes even more sense. Though, I don’t know when his comment was originally made.

    Of course, and unfortunately, now Roger Waters is a complete fool, but that’s another topic.


    Charlotte Mason refers to education throughout her books as the “handmaid of Religion,” and she believed its purpose was to help the child make as many connections as possible to God and his creation. Here is a passage from her book School Education, that expresses well her belief in the essential sacredness of all knowledge and learning. (For God is himself Truth.)

    “This idea of all education springing from and resting upon our relation to Almighty God—we do not merely give a religious education because that would seem to imply the possibility of some other education, a secular education, for example. But we hold that all education is divine, that every good gift of knowledge and insight comes from above, that the Lord the Holy Spirit is the supreme educator of mankind, and that the culmination of all education (which may at the same time be reached by a little child) is that personal knowledge of and intimacy with God in which our being finds its fullest perfection.”

    I looked for the excellent lecture by Elaine Cooper on Mason’s theological beliefs, but it appears to have since been removed from the Perimeter Church website. 🙁 But here is a link to a paper she wrote in response to claims that Charlotte Mason was a “theological liberal,” which you may find helpful.


    Thanks for the link to this PDF.  I plan to share it with others. 

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