Who uses all Cm philosophies?

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  • jill smith

    Hi, I am wondering if anyone is strictly Cm users? I see a lot of post about supporting CM and loving CM, but also see that a lot of you use other things. I am wondering if its possible to educate only using the CM methods? Sonya, is this what you do? If so, how do I go about it? We already use the Cm History and copy work. I am planning for next year. I have been reading Charlotte Mason’s philosophies  especially on writing and spelling. Anyone have tips? What about Science? We live in Michigan and the winter months slow us down on anything outdoors. My kids don’t enjoy Jacks insect book or Outdoor Secrets.


    We used mostly CM methods only for grade school through almost all of middle school. We started adding some more textbookish books in middle school for science but we used them in a very relaxed manner and combined them with reading from living books.

    We also use textbooks for science in high school and have begun using a textbook for our history spine as well. We’ve also begun using a writing program 2 days a week.

    Charlotte Mason did use textbooks sometimes with her older students and she also taught more formal writing methods at this age.

    When my kids were little, we mostly used library books for science and history and literature. We also followed Charlotte Mason’s recommendations for language arts in our home. I did start using IEW with my son when he hit middle school but I chose not to do that with my daughter and I trusted CM methods. I have been very pleased with the results!

    I confess to allowing my children’s interest to guide their science studies. Finances were tight so I needed to make as much use of our public library as possible. I would have my kids pick a topic and we would go to the library and they would get various books on that topic and read a bit, each day for science.

    We always did history chronologically but used mostly library books for that as well.

    I used free book lists online and from catalogs to choose our literature and history readings. When I couldn’t find a certain book, I would look for another book on that topic. I found many treasures this way.

    We never read Jack’s Insects. My children and I really enjoyed Thornton Burgess’s nature books in the elementary years.

    How old are your children? We might be able to give better advice if we have more information. 🙂

    Karen Smith

    I used CM’s philosophies as well as I could in my homeschool. I didn’t have the resources that are available today, so I had to do the best I could with what was available. Sometimes that meant trying to implement some of Charlotte Mason’s philosophies with very little explanation on how to do it, or having to choose a resource that was not exactly what I wanted but was the best available.

    As far as science is concerned, look for authors that your children enjoy. Jack’s Insects was used by Charlotte Mason in her schools but that does not mean that your children have to enjoy it. Instead of fretting over your children not enjoying Jack’s Insects or Outdoor Secrets, look for authors that they do enjoy. Try books by Jim Arnosky, Millicent Selsam, Edwin Teale, Nic Bishop, Gordon Morrison, Seymour Simon, and Sandra Markle, to name just a few of the authors who have written and are still writing good, living science books. Just be aware that very few authors write from a Biblical worldview so you may come across some evolutionary statements (millions of years) or environmentalism.

    As for nature study in a cold climate, I shared some ideas on this discussion on nature study in bad weather.



    I think you’ll find a variety of moms here.   Some who use her methods exclusively and others who use her methods for just a few subjects or combing them with other homeschool styles.  There are also different interpretations of her writings and different “takes” on her methods.

    We follow fairly closely (or I’d like to think we try).  😉  It is difficult, if not impossible, to follow everything to a tee.  There are only so many hours in a day, and often things are interpreted differently by different CM scholars/aficionados.

    I have been impressed with her spelling methods and seen great results with my children, but we add some classical writing methods, because they seem to be a better fit for my kids.  Other moms choose to add formal spelling books, but may stick with written narrations for writing.  Others trust CM methods completely to get the job done.  I think most of us start with CM language arts and adapt them as needed…or start with traditional methods and slowly switch over to CM’s methods when they see the effectiveness of them!

    For science, we’ve used such a variety over the years.  My DC are currently enjoying Outdoor Secrets…even the older ones are listening in and adding to their nature journals.  We are also loving Physics 101 dvds and science kits from Home Science Adventures, neither of which are necessarily considered CM.  We tend to fit in more nature studies when the weather is good and focus on handicrafts or indoor things in the winter…although we still try to get outside as often as we can.

    Sonya Shafer

    For me it has been a developing relationship. When I was initially drawn to the CM approach, I knew only a little bit about it, so I implemented what I knew (or thought I knew) and kept reading and studying to learn more. As I learned more over the years, I would implement those methods or fine tune the ones I had already started.

    I’m still learning more and fine tuning more. And with a special needs child, I’m continually looking for ways to tweak CM methods to fit my child’s capabilities at the moment.

    The more I learn about CM, the more I think Charlotte was brilliant. But I also know how much she valued each child as an individual, and I don’t think she would want us to feel that every child must receive the exact same cookie-cutter system. She was adamant that an education should be about methods, not a set-in-stone system.

    So embrace the freedom to continue to learn and grow, yourself, in your understanding of her methods and to apply them as best fits your children.

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